Applying for Financial Aid
Federal and Institutional Instructions
Applying for U.S. Federal Financial Aid:
U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens who are eligible and wish to apply for federal financial aid (Pell Grant, SEOG, Stafford Loan, Perkins Loan, Federal Work-Study, PLUS Loan), must complete the FAFSA, which is free on the FAFSA website. Please don’t go to other sites requiring payment or pay someone to complete the FAFSA for you. The U.S. Department of Education strongly recommends students and their families use FAFSA on the web as this is the easiest and most accurate way to apply. You will be guided through the form, helping to ensure that it is completed accurately. If applying for Colby institutional financial aid, the FAFSA must be completed by the April 30 deadline. If applying for only federal financial aid, the FAFSA may be completed throughout the academic year while the student is enrolled, and federal aid will be processed according to program regulations and deadlines. Students not applying for institutional financial aid are still encouraged to complete the FAFSA by April 30 so their federal aid eligibility can be determined and in place before the academic year begins.
Please note: for the 2024/2025 applicant year, the 2024/2025 FAFSA has a delayed release and will not be available for completion until December 2023.
Applying for Colby Institutional Financial Aid:
The table below lists the standard forms and documents required in order to apply for Colby institutional financial aid. Additional information may be requested when reviewing the application. All application materials are due April 30 in advance of the upcoming academic year. Though the government may allow tax filing extensions, it does not mean Colby can allow the same extension to apply for Colby financial aid. Beginning with the academic year 2017-18, the tax return and income documentation relate to two tax years prior to the beginning of the school year. (e.g. For the academic year 2023-2024, the financial aid application deadline: April 30, 2023; income documentation: Year ended December 31, 2021.)
Students must re-apply for financial aid each year so that annual aid offers reflect families’ most current financial circumstances. Our financial aid packages meet 100 percent of your demonstrated financial need, making this education available to students from every background. Financial aid eligibility is most commonly affected by changes in total income, the number of siblings enrolled in college, and changes in college costs. Students who do not complete an aid application for Colby institutional aid prior to admission will not be considered for College grant assistance for two award years, unless there have been substantial changes to family financial circumstances that were unexpected and unavoidable. This would not include changes that should have been anticipated, such as an additional child enrolled in college, nor does it include employment changes that were discretionary choices. A written explanation of the change is required as part of the application. This two-year waiting period applies to Colby institutional financial aid only. Students who are eligible and wish to apply for U.S. federal financial aid can do so each year whether or not they did so prior to admission.
Federal Aid Eligibility
Federal student aid eligibility is based largely on financial need as set forth by federal, not institutional, guidelines. Federal aid in the form of grants, loans, and/or work-study may be available only to U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens with demonstrated need as determined by data provided on the FAFSA or Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
Financial Aid Appeals
Colby is committed to ensuring that students can achieve their educational goals, even in the midst of hardships or unexpected financial changes. If your family’s circumstances have changed since you first applied for financial aid, filing an appeal with the financial aid office may help you access additional funding or financing resources. Contact the financial aid office to schedule an appointment to discuss your appeal options and next steps.