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How Financial Aid Works

For the purposes of determining financial aid, our office follows the Colorado Department of Higher Education and federal guidelines to develop an estimated, average Cost of Attendance (budget) for different student classifications (commuter/non-commuter, undergraduate/graduate, resident/nonresident, etc.).

Budgets include estimated figures for tuition and mandatory fees and estimated averages for room and board, books and supplies, transportation, and personal (miscellaneous) expenses. Remember; these are estimated averages; your costs may vary.

The tuition costs for undergraduate Colorado residents’ budget figures include only student share of tuition. Be sure to apply for the College Opportunity Fund (COF) stipend, or you will pay more for tuition.

Get more information on 2022-2023 costs and cost of attendance.

Financial Aid Timeline

  • October through March


    Oct 1st The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is available to complete online at www.studentaid.gov/fafsa. Be sure to use UNC’s school code 001349 and the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to pull your completed 2017 taxes to complete the 2019-2020 FAFSA. Check out our "10 Steps to Filling out the FAFSA" worksheet.

    Nov 1st- The UNC Scholarship Application is available to complete on Ursa. This application gives access to over 600 UNC Foundation Scholarships. 


    Preliminary Award letters available for new students who have all required paperwork completed. Check Ursa account regularly for updates and any additional requirements.


    Early January-Estimated award letters and financial aid information is mailed to newly admitted students who have completed the FAFSA.

    Feb 1st-UNC Scholarship Application deadline.  


    1st – FAFSA deadline

  • April through June


    Official financial aid award letters are sent out. Be sure to check your Ursa account for more details.


    If you are a new borrower and planning on taking out a student loan, be sure to complete the Entrance Counseling and sign the Master Promissory Note.


    1st – UNC Scholarship Deadline for Transfer, Graduate and International Students

    15th – Check your Ursa account regularly for updates under the “Financial” tab and turn in any information or documentation. You’ll also want to accept or decline your Financial Aid.

Determining Need (Level of Eligibility)

Your need for financial aid, or need based aid eligibility, is calculated by subtracting your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) from the Cost of Attendance (or budget).

Your EFC is determined by the Department of Education, who analyzes the information you provide on your FAFSA about your family’s income, assets, and debts.

The Cost of Attendance is determined by the university and includes estimates for tuition, fees, room and board, books, transportation and other costs associated with attending UNC.

The only way to determine your financial aid eligibility is to apply.

The U.S. Department of Education has a FAFSA4caster to help you and your family plan for college by providing an early estimate of your eligibility for federal student assistance.

View more details on receiving aid.

Financial Aid Qualifications

To receive aid from the student aid programs offered at UNC, you must:

  • Complete the Free Application for FStudent Aid (FAFSA) as well as any and all required follow`up information requested.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
  • Have a valid Social Security number
  • Register with the Selective Service, if required
  • Have a high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) Certificate, pass a test approved by the U.S. Department of Education, or meet other standards your state establishes that are approved by the U.S. Department of Education. See your financial aid administrator for more information.
  • Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a regular student working toward a degree or certificate in an eligible program.
  • Make satisfactory academic progress
  • Sign a statement on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) certifying that you will use federal student aid only for educational purposes
  • Sign a statement on the FAFSA certifying that you are not in default on a federal student loan and that you do not owe money on a federal student grant

Expected Family Contribution

You and your family have the primary responsibility to pay as much as possible toward your education. Financial aid is intended to supplement what your family is expected to contribute in paying your costs of attending college.

Your Expected Family Contribution is determined by an analysis of several factors taken from information reported on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It is an amount estimated by a federally defined formula called “federal methodology.” The factors considered in this analysis include:


Number of students in college


Number of working parents


Age of older parent






Family size

Students are expected to help pay for educational expenses as well. It is assumed that savings from summer employment will be a major source of this contribution.