financial aid award guide

Once you receive your Financial Aid Award Letter for the 2014-2015 school year, there may be additional steps required to finalize your aid. This guide will walk you through these requirements as well as additional information that may be helpful in understanding your financial aid award.

Tax Verification

If you are selected for tax verification, your award letter will state that your award will be finalized once we receive certain documents from you, such as 2013 tax verification for the student and/or parent(s) and verification worksheets. If your award letter shows that we require any of this information, please see the steps below.

IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT)

Who: Required for all eligible students who have been selected for Tax Verification (indicated on award letter). Recommended to all other students.
What: The IRS Data Retrieval Tool allows students and parents to access the IRS tax return information needed to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students and parents may transfer the data directly into their FAFSA.
Where: Available on the website. For complete instructions or to request a paper copy of your "tax return transcript" in lieu of the DRT, please view our Tax Verification page.
When: Complete this ASAP. Please note that it may take up to two weeks for your IRS information to be available for electronic IRS tax return filers, and up to eight weeks for paper filers.

Dependent or Independent Verification Worksheet

Who: Required for all students who have been selected for Tax Verification (indicated on award letter).
What: A paper form that must be printed, completed and signed by the student (and parents of dependent students).

For complete instructions, view our Tax Verification page.
When: Complete this ASAP.

Direct Stafford Loans

All students who have completed a FAFSA will be considered for federal direct Stafford Loans, which will be included in your award letter and calculated towards your estimated remaining cost. If you intend to accepts these loans, please follow the steps to complete a "Master Promissory Note" and "Entrance Cousneling" below; alternatively, if you do not wish to accept these loans, please complete the Stafford Loan Decline form.

Master Promissory Note (MPN)

Who: Required for all students who wish to accept their Direct Subsidized and/or Unsubsidized Stafford Loans.
What: An online form that allows Colby-Sawyer to originate and disburse your Stafford Loans. Please note that loans will only disburse for enrolled students. Completing an MPN does not commit you to attending Colby-Sawyer.
Where: Available on the website. For complete instructions, view our Applying for Loans page.
When: By July 1.

Entrance Counseling

Who: Required for all students who wish to accept their Direct Subsidized and/or Unsubsidized Stafford Loans.
What: An online form and informational session that explains the Direct Loan process to students.
Where: Available on the website. For complete instructions, view our Applying for Loans page.
When: By July 1.

Direct Loan Decline form

Who: Required for any student who wishes to decline their Direct Subsidized and/or Unsubsidized Stafford Loans.
What: A brief online form that indicates you wish to decline all or part of your Stafford Loan eligibility. If you wish to decline a portion of your Stafford Loan eligibility that you are not able to indicate via the online form, please contact us at or 603-526-3717.
Where: Stafford Loan Decline form

Other Stafford Loan Information

Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans loans are interest-free while attending school at least half time. Subsidized Stafford Loans are need-based and are calculated based on your FAFSA and the cost of attendance at Colby-Sawyer. Once a student stops attending school at least half time, interest will begin to accrue; there is a 6-month grace period, after which payments will be expected by the lender.

Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans loans begin accruing interest as soon as the lender disburses the funds. Once a student stops attending school at least half time, there is a 6-month grace period, after which payments will be expected by the lender.

Please note that once you have completed the "Master Promissory Note" and "Entrance Counseling" to accept the Stafford Loan(s) your first year, you are acknowledging acceptance of the Stafford Loan(s) for each subsequent year at Colby-Sawyer that you complete a FAFSA, unless you notify our office otherwise.

Your Estimated Remaining Cost

Our award letters include an "Estimated remaining cost" that gives an approximate balance that you will owe to Colby-Sawyer for the 2014-2015 academic year. This figure is calculated by substracting any scholarships, grants, and loans you have qualified for from our 2014-2015 direct costs (tuition, room, and board).

There are several options for covering your remaining cost:

  • Pay off each semester's balance when billed by the Financial Services Office.
  • Arrange a payment plan with Tuition Management Systems. For further information regarding the payment plan, please contact the Financial Services Office at or 603-526-3744.
  • Borrow as a parent through the Federal Direct Loan Program; further information regarding this option can be found on our Applying for Loans webpage under Direct PLUS Loans - Federal Parent Loans.
  • Borrow through a private lender at your discretion. For your convenience, we have compiled a list of recommended lenders on our Applying for Loans webpage under Private Loan Recommendations.

Work Study

Work Study is a federal eligibiliy that is determined by the FAFSA; if you qualify, an amount will be listed on your financial aid award letter. Work Study is not calculated towards the "Estimated remaining cost" on your award letter. It is listed simply so that the student may know that they are eligible to pursue a Work Study job on campus and earn up to the amount listed; if a student secures a Work Study position, the funds are paid directly to the student bi-weekly, much like a regular paycheck.

Accepting Your Financial Aid Award

Colby-Sawyer does not require students to accept their financial aid award funds, with the exception of the federal Stafford Loans (see "Direct Stafford Loans" above). When a student submits their Enrollment Deposit to Colby-Sawyer, they are also acknowledging the acceptance of their financial aid award.

Other Important Information

Reapplying for Financial Aid

Please note that your award letter is based on your 2014-2015 FAFSA. You must reapply for financial aid every year by completing a FAFSA in January-March in the following year. To receive the maximum funding we are able to award for the following year, you must complete your FAFSA each year by March 1st.

Housing Status

Initial financial aid awards for first year students are calculated based on on-campus residency. Students are required to live on-campus for the first two years of attendance at Colby-Sawyer. Students who choose to live off-campus in future years will be subject to reduced financial aid funding.

Enrollment Status

Your award package is based on enrolling in and completing 12-18 credits per semester (full time status). If you drop below 12 credits, some or all of your aid may be pro-rated or cancelled, depending on each type of aid fund you receive. Additional aid will not be awarded to students who choose to enroll in more than 18 credits, for which additional charges are incurred.


If you withdraw from Colby-Sawyer during a semester, we are required to use a formula established by the federal government to calculate the amount of student aid that you have "earned" up to the date of your withdrawal. If you receive more aid than what you earned, the excess funds will need to be returned, which may create a balance owed to school. The Financial Aid Office and Financial Services Office will work together to notify you if any aid funds will need to be returned and if this will create a balance owed.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

As defined in the curriculum guide for Colby-Sawyer College, SAP requires that the student maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher. Federal financial aid programs require that students make SAP in order to receive federal financial aid. When a student is not meeting the SAP requirements, colleges must remove federal aid until such time as the student returns to a satisfactory status.

Study Abroad

Students may choose to participate in a study abroad experience while attending Colby-Sawyer. Depending on the program, students may be able to apply their federal financial aid (Pell Grant, Stafford Loans) to the program. Institutional aid may not be used towards study abroad.

Miscellaneous Forms

Enrollment Deposit

Who: Required for all students who wish to attend Colby-Sawyer.
What: A $500 deposit that secures your spot in the incoming fall class. Please note that this money is not applied to your bill.
Where: More information is available on the Enrollment Deposit page.
When: Due by May 1st.

Outside Scholarship Form

Who: Required for all students who receive scholarships from outside sources.
What: A brief form that students will need to fill out and return to our office along with any related documentation if the student has been awarded an outside scholarship.
Where: Outside Scholarship form
When: As soon as you have received notification of all scholarships, typically mid-summer.

Special Consideration Form

Who: Available for any student who has endured a financial hardship in the past year.
What: A form that allows families to update the Financial Aid Office of any major financial changes. In some cases, we are able to adjust awards based on this change in financial need.
Where: Special Consideration form
When: This form is available throughout the year, although it is best if it is submitted to us soon after a student has received their award letter in the spring.

Helpful Links

Questions? Call (603) 526-3717, or email