Congrats, you’ve received your award packet! Here are some answers to common questions.

Financial Aid & Interpreting the Offer Letter

If you apply for financial aid, you’ll receive a financial aid offer. We will review your application to determine whether you qualify for need-based aid.

If you qualify for need-based aid:

Your financial aid offer will typically consist of a grant/scholarship, a student loan (limited to $4,500 your first year, increases slightly year-to-year), and student employment (limited to 8 hours your first year, 10 hours after that).

If you don’t qualify for need-based aid:

You can still request a student employment position and a non-need-based student loan such as an Unsubsidized Direct Student Loan.

Things to Note: Grants/Scholarships

  • Usually, the biggest portion of a financial aid offer
  • “Gift aid,” meaning no repayment necessary
  • Can consist of Pell grants, SEOG (Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant), or Minnesota State grants if the student qualifies for this type of aid. 
  • In addition, most need-based financial aid will contain either a Carleton grant or one of many different Carleton scholarships. Students do not apply specifically for these scholarships; rather, they are based on information they provide on their financial aid applications. Similar to grants, most of these scholarships are used to meet the need of students. 

When will I receive my financial aid offer?

New students: Your preliminary financial aid offer will be sent with your admit packet. Once we receive your deposit, you’ll be notified by email when your final financial aid offer is available and can be accepted on the Net Partner Financial Aid Portal.

Preliminary vs. Final Financial Aid Offer 

For the majority of applicants, your initial and final financial aid offer will be the same. If something changes from the time you completed your FAFSA and CSS Profile, some things could shift. A note for those who apply via early decision: Our tuition for the upcoming year usually isn’t finalized until February, so your final financial aid offer will shift to reflect any changes to the upcoming academic year comprehensive fee.

Outside scholarships may affect total aid

The most common reason for a change in financial aid is when a student receives a scholarship from an outside source. The outside aid will first reduce the student loan portion of the financial aid offer, then student employment. If your outside aid exceeds the amount of those two categories, your grant aid may be reduced to stay within federal guidelines and a student’s established need.

How much will I owe?

The amount credited to your account is calculated by taking the total financial aid minus student employment, since student employment is not automatically applied to the student account like the other forms of financial aid. Review your estimated carefully, as it is often misinterpreted.

If the student decides to credit some or all of their work earnings towards their account, the estimated balance will be lower. Many students do apply some or all of their work earnings towards their bill. The amount you chose to apply to your tuition account is done by setting up your Payment Elections so that your bank account information is in Workday.