Financial Aid vs. Scholarships

Financial Aid

Financial aid is available for eligible students to use toward paying educational costs while enrolled in a degree-seeking program. Using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you will be considered for three types of financial aid:

  • Grants
  • Work-study
  • Student Loans

Separate application forms are not required to be considered for these types of aid. Apply early and apply annually to be considered.

Need-based financial aid eligibility is determined by the FAFSA and the availability of funding. You must qualify each year to receive need-based awards. Need-based awards include:

  • Grants
  • Work-study
  • Federal Subsidized Direct Loan

For the most part, a grant or gift aid does not need to be repaid. You earn the work-study award through on-campus or off-campus employment. A Subsidized Direct Loan means that the federal government subsidizes (pays) the interest while you are in school.

According to federal financial aid regulations, the total financial aid award cannot exceed the Cost of Attendance. The Financial Aid Summary in the UCDAccess is where you can view the Cost of Attendance.


Scholarships are gift aid that does not need to be repaid. These opportunities typically require an application and may have specific eligibility requirements related to a students':​

1. Academic merit, grades, test scores

2. Financial need, often defined differently than by the FAFSA guidelines

3. Community service, work history, and preferences such as:

  • Gender
  • First generation (neither parent has a four year degree)
  • Race and ethnic identity
  • Community involvement
  • Major or minor degree program
  • Age
  • Special talents and hobbies
  • Memberships in organizations

Financial Aid & Scholarships

Located in Lynx Central

CU Denver

Student Commons Building

1201 Larimer Street


Denver, CO 80204


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