Guide to Student Funding at Colorado College

Consistent Commitment. Colorado College, as an anti-racist institution, is dedicated to offering a variety of enriching experiences for all students. To diversify student participation, CC staff and faculty work together to advise all students consistently on the topics of how to secure funding to meet need for degree-related costs (tuition, room & meals, etc.), for opportunities and experiences (such as research or study abroad), and for when students have emergency needs.  By collectively referencing this webpage as a guide for student financial aid advising, CC employees will create a more equitable environment for students to learn about, apply for, and earn additional financial support as needed.

Partnership. As one of only approximately 70 institutions nationwide that meets the full demonstrated need of every student, Colorado College has a deep financial commitment to support our students.  Beyond donor-funded scholarships and campus grants offered to students, we believe that affording college is a shared partnership between students, parents, and the college. Specifically, each student has a responsibility to contribute through a summer job, an academic year work-study job (student employment) and student loans. Students who are unwilling to contribute to their education in one or more ways detailed above cannot expect the college to support additional opportunities or experiences without first fulfilling their obligations to this partnership.

Transparency. This website publicly provides information and guidelines regarding College funding related to a student's degree completion, other needs, and opportunities and experiences while enrolled at CC.

Funding Student Degrees

When calculating a student's financial aid eligibility, the CC Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment references the College's traditional, annual cost of attendance (COA) set by the CC Board of Trustees.  COA encompasses typical direct costs (those charged by the College) such as tuition, estimated housing, and meals as well as indirect costs (those not charged by the college but related to enrollment) including an estimate for books, transportation, and personal expenses. Beginning year cost of attendance assumes full-time tuition, the student activity fee, a housing cost expectation based on a traditional double room in one of our residence halls and a full meal plan.

Because these expenses are already accounted for when awarding need-based financial aid, the College will not provide additional funding for these costs due to a student's spending choices, desire not to borrow student loans, or a family's unwillingness to pay their expected contribution.

There are only a few federally allowed categories that can augment a student's traditional cost of attendance at the discretion of the Financial Aid Office. These categorical exceptions must be essential in supporting student progress toward a degree. Examples include *health insurance premiums, day care expenses for in-class periods, and/or car repairs if a student lives at home and must commute to campus. Per college policy, we cannot fund extraneous expenses that do not qualify as essential needs. This includes any family financial needs or hardships that don’t pertain directly to the cost of attendance at the college.

If a student can provide documentation that (a) their actual expenses exceed estimated, traditional COA category costs or (b) they are incurring expenses related to non-traditional but allowable COA categories, the CC Financial Aid Office can increase their total COA figure to allow a student to apply for additional student loans or private scholarship funding to cover their increased expenses.

The total of a student's financial aid (grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study) cannot exceed the total of their assigned cost of attendance.

*Pell-eligible students can apply for additional institutional, need-based grant funding to help pay for participation in the CC health insurance program. Grant funding not guaranteed*

Colorado College is one of approximately seventy colleges in the United States that is committed to meeting 100% of it's admitted students' calculated need for financial aid to attend. "Need" is calculated annually by subtracting a student's expected family contribution (as determined by the FAFSA and CSS Profile) from the the college's set traditional Cost of Attendance total. CC students' financial "need" is met through a combination of work-study expectation, modest loan expectation, and grant funding. CC financial aid funding can only be used to pay for education-related expenses and aid is not increased if student's spending choices exceed estimated costs.

Because meeting every admitted student's calculated financial need requires adequate funding, students must make their desire to apply for degree-related financial assistance from CC at the time they submit their admission application.

 *The total of a student's need-based financial aid awards (free money such as any grants and scholarships, subsidized federal student loans, and work-study funding) cannot exceed their federally-calculated need as assigned by the FAFSA application without impacting federal eligibility*



Here are three examples illustrating student support and our shared partnership:

Description Student A (very low income) Student B (middle income by national standards) Student C (middle income by college-going standards)
Total cost of attendance $ 91,154 $ 91,154 $ 91,154
Family contribution $ - $ 6,000 $ 20,000
Loans (Note:eligible for an additional $2,000 if desired) $ 3,500 $ 3,500 $ 3,500
Student work $ 2,100 $ 2,100 $ 2,100
Grants $ 85,554 $ 79,554 $ 65,554
Bill from the college (tuition, double room, and full meal plan) $ 86,754 $ 86,754 $ 86,754
Aid that is credited to the student bill (work is paid to student directly) $ 89,054 $ 83,054 $ 69,054
Student balance or (refund) $ (2,300) $ 3,700 $ 17,700
How student pays for books, personal expenses, travel Refund and work study wages Work study wages and balance of family contribution Work study wages and balance of family contribution

When calculating a student's financial need to then award them with need-based aid, Colorado College assumes an undergraduate student will spend up to $1,240 over the course of fall and spring semester ($620 per term) on required books and course materials.  Ultimately, it is expected that this expense will be paid for by either their parent expected contribution, awarded grant money, awarded loan money, awarded work study funding, or any combination of those funding sources.  If a student chooses not to utilize a piece of their financial aid award or their family chooses not to contribute their expected contribution, Colorado College will not offer additional money to cover book expenses.

If a student spends more than $620 on required books and course materials for a semester, they may appeal to have their cost of attendance and institutional financial aid increased to cover that additional expense by submitting an appeal letter, along with receipts and course syllaby infornation, to the CC Financial Aid Office.

Eligibility for need-based, financial aid is reviewed annually. Returning students who submit all required financial aid application materials by April 1st should expect to receive an award package for the following academic year before the end of May.  Students can begin submitting application materials after October 1st.  The sooner application materials are submitted, the sooner CC's Office of Financial Aid can provide students award information, including notice that their next year's eligibility has either increased, decreased, or stayed the same.

Common reasons financial aid eligibility changes:

  • Parent/student earned income increases
  • One-time pay out of inheritance, severance, etc.
  • The number of siblings enrolled in an undergraduate program changes
  • Reduction of income due to loss of job
  • Increase or decrease in the value of family assets
  • Parent marrying/remarrying

Financial aid eligibility does not change based on currency exchange rate trends, positive or negative.

While there are approximately a dozen institutions (out of approximately 4,000 nationally) that are considered “no loan” schools, Colorado College maintains an expectation of students borrowing a reasonable amount of loans to help pay for their educational expenses. Our average indebtedness upon graduation has been approximately $20,000 and is well below the national average (which is approximately $30,000).  Furthermore, our graduates nearly always fulfill their loan obligations with fewer than 1% entering default status.  Leveraging some loan expectation in CC's financial aid packaging policies allows for more students who require financial aid to attend Colorado College.

The college supports more than 1,000 student employment positions each year.  While preference is given for federal work-study eligible students in order to fulfill their obligation to the cost of attendance, there are many jobs occupied by non-work study eligible students. 

Student employment wages are updated each year and can be found in both the supervisor and student handbooks.

Guidelines for student employment include, but are not limited to the following:

  • All jobs must be posted in Handshake, the online student employment portal, and applications must be considered for all students who meet the minimum qualifications. In addition to adhering to campus policies, all hiring practices must comply with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in addition to adhering to Colorado Equal Pay for Equal Work Laws.
  • Supervisors must run an open and equitable search/hiring process for all candidates before offering the position to the first-choice candidate.
  • Students may not begin working until all paperwork has been filled out and approved by the Student Employment (Financial Aid) Office .
  • Students may not be paid outside the bands listed on the website under compensation.
  • Students must apply for work opportunities, students are not placed in employment positions.

All supervisors on campus should complete the hiring process a minimum of two weeks prior to the first day they want a student to begin work.  Please note that this is not inclusive of the time they need to advertise for a position, but rather the time needed to complete all employment paperwork, both by the student and the supervisor.

For more information and guidance visit the CC Student Employment Website.

Students may apply to receive scholarships from organizations outside of Colorado College.  Outside funding can be used to help pay a student's family contribution or reduce their necessity to borrow student loans or earn wages from employment by replacing those expectations.  The receipt of outside scholarship money will only reduce a student's CC need-based grant aid if those monies cause the total of their financial aid package to exceed  their cost of attendance.

Outside scholarship checks must be presented/mailed to the CC Financial Aid and Student Employment Office for processing.

Known outside scholarship search engines include:

The IRS requires Colorado College to report the grant and scholarship award totals for of each of its students annually. Failure to do so could jeopardize our non-profit status and result in audit findings and financial or other sanctions. It also could create IRS issues for individual students.  Students are required by federal law to file annual income taxes if their total grant and scholarship income exceeds their tuition charges. Any other form of income earned by a student (W2 wages, 1099-MISC earnings) must also be included in their tax filing. Students are responsible for paying any resulting tax bill.  Students who have questions about this requirement should speak to a licensed tax professional (as Colorado College staff are not licensed to provide tax filing guidance).

*Parents may not claim their student's grant & scholarship income on their own federal tax return*

For further information regarding this requirement, including links to IRS governing regulations, please review the CC Financial Aid Handbook.


IRS Image Educational Resources IRS Image


 Click here for information about Colorado, community-based organizations that help with the tax filing process

  Click here for federal tax preparation resources


Students must be actively enrolled and attending a semester in order to receive funding for any purpose. Any student who is on a leave of absence from the college (withdraws from class with an intent to return) is ineligible for student funding.

Students attending less than full-time during any given semester and/or who do not complete the classes for which they register and receive aid will have their financial aid adjusted. Students not meeting Colorado College SAP standards risk losing their financial aid eligibility.

For more information on how a student's enrollment can affect their financial aid eligibility, please review the Financial Aid Office's resources regarding Satisfactory Academic Progress and mandatory Return of Title IV funding.

P-cards may not be used to cover student expenses.  This makes it impossible to track funds given to students for tax purposes and IRS compliance. Funding requests must be processed through the Offices of Student Accounts and Financial Aid and this process may take up to two weeks
Colorado College leverages Title IV government funding to subsidize its student financial aid budget. Consequently, all CC employees, as representatives of the College, must comply with federal and state financial aid regulations. The Department of Education completes program reviews and institutions found to be out of compliance face unlimited fine and liability assessment, public disclosure of their inadequacy, loss of eligibility to receive government funding, and a diminished capacity to recruit and retain a socioeconomically diverse student body.

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Funding Other Student Needs

There are endowed funds on campus designed to help cover emergency expenses for a student.  For example, unexpected and urgent medical expenses (such as emergency tooth extraction) or copays for medicines.  It may also be an emergency trip home due to a sick immediate family member or the funeral of a family member.  Textbook expenses over the allocated $620 per semester may also be considered (receipts will be required to show purchase over this amount.)  This fund is limited and cannot be used for expenses such as plane tickets during planned break times, income taxes due on grant funds, food expenses resulting from not being on a full meal plan, or the student contribution of a study abroad trip.  Those are expected expenses and are not considered emergencies.

Emergency expense funding assistance is capped due to institutional budget limitations and the college must collect all applicable receipts and documentation.  Students who wish to request these funds should send an email to  with an explanation as well as sufficient documentation. The college committee will typically respond within three business days.

A full meal plan is budgeted into the full cost of attendance for all students.  If a student chooses an apartment meal plan or is living off campus and does not elect a campus meal plan, they are expected to budget accordingly and must use the savings on their Colorado College bill to purchase food. 

The college does support a limited food pantry.  The Office of Campus Activities, in collaboration with CCSGA, sponsors the food pantry, which is available to all students. If you have suggestions for reasonably priced and shelf-stable items that you would like to see in the food pantry, please reach out to the Campus Activities Office at CC also periodically supports transportation to the following locations: Costco, Sam's Club, King Soopers, Safeway, Trader Joe's, and the Asian Pacific Market. Click here for more information about grocery shopping transportation options.

Colorado College offers several resources to assist students in need of mental health support including:

  • Thriving Campus - a referral tool for off campus private practice therapists and prescribers.

    Thriving Campus maintains a full database of both telehealth and in-person mental health providers.
    Students and their parents can create a free account and input detailed criteria to search for the
    right provider. This service is free to use and will help ensure every student on campus can find help
    specific to their needs.

  • Virtual Care Group - a 24-hour phone counseling service.

            Virtual Care Group provides all students with free, unlimited access to therapists and on-demand
            counseling 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year including holidays.

Other mental health resources can be found on the Counseling Center page, along with support resources and student health and wellbeing.

CC does not fund student technology requirements with need-based institutional aid.

Personal Computers

If a student wishes to purchase or rent a personal computer, they can work with the Financial Aid Office to to increase their cost of attendance for the purpose of using loans or outside scholarship funds to acquire that device one time during their enrollment at CC.  

If a computer repair is needed, the ITS Solutions Center on campus is certified to repair Apple computers.  They are able to investigate issues with PCs, to offer suggestions, or to direct students to manufacturers for repairs.

Tutt Library also has technology check-out options for short-term needs.

Other Technology

If a class syllabus requires the purchase or renting of other technology for course completion (i.e. software, printer, etc.), students can work with the Financial Aid Office to to increase their cost of attendance for the purpose of using loans or outside scholarship funds to acquire that technology one time during their enrollment at CC.  A student's cost of attendance will not be increased for a duplicate technology purchase.

The Federal Department of Education does not allow the cost of attendance to be increased for a car purchase (  This is to prevent families from using government loans at reduced interest costs instead of borrowing through private lenders for vehicles.  If a student is commuting from their parents’ home in Colorado Springs to campus, we can discuss increasing the cost of attendance to offer students options for funding if there is a repair needed on a vehicle used to transport the student to campus.  This is only for those who need a car to attend class, and not for those who may use a vehicle to return home on breaks or work off campus, as the federal cost of attendance is based solely on enrollment costs.

Please click the link below to see Colorado College's suggest list of items to bring:


Colorado College will not pay itself to cover your CC-assessed parking fines. There is no college funding available to cover these fees. Do not park somewhere that will result in negative financial consequences.

We recognize that many students have additional stressors — financial or otherwise — and will often ask faculty or staff for assistance for other needs.  These might include expenses beyond the cost of attendance or even the expectation that they need to support family members.  While it is always difficult to hear about these hardships, we are not able to support these expenses with college funds. 

We recommend that students work with their families to explore outside resources from social service organizations that are equipped to offer such assistance. has a link on the right that says “National Assistance Programs” that offers some national resources that can help families.

Students who need mental health support should review the information contained within the Mental Health Resources section of this webpage.

If you have a funding opportunity you would like marketed on this webpage please contact the CC Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment at

If you have a funding opportunity you would like to award to CC students, the College uses Summit as a workflow for most funding opportunities. Summit streamlines the process to ensure compliance with financial aid, tax, and other regulations as all necessary offices can be included in the workflow.  It also ensures a timely process as all information can be displayed in the workflow.  If you have a need for a Summit workflow to process a regular funding source, please contact Lisa Schwartz at  Lisa works with the CC Financial Aid office to administer student funding and aid opprtunities that exist on campus outside of their office.

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*Starting Spring Semester 2023*

Colorado College students can apply for institutional, need-based funding to help pay for one CC Block-away class, one summer CC block-away class and up to one academic year of study off-campus/abroad through CC-approved partner programs or universities.

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Report an issue - Last updated: 04/01/2024