Sep 22, 2021  
2016-2017 Academic Catalog 
2016-2017 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Expenses and Financial Aid

Tuition and Fees for 2016–2017

Tuition $48,322
Full Meal 6,322
Room 5,658
Student Activities 436
TOTAL $60,738
The College reserves the right to increase the rates charged with due notice

Payment of Fees

An advance tuition deposit of $200 is required of all students. For newly admitted students, the deposit is credited to the student’s account when she/he/zi enters Grinnell. For returning students, the deposit is prerequisite to room draw and preregistration. Notification of the due date for this payment is given to students and parents in March of each year. Students returning from a leave are required to pay the deposit, which will be applied to their account on their return semester. The advance tuition deposit is nonrefundable.

After advance payments are credited to the student’s account, the remaining charges for tuition and fees are due approximately one month before the start of each term. If an account is not paid in full by those dates, the College regards the student’s account as delinquent. Students whose accounts are delinquent are not entitled to meals, room, registration, admission to classes, or issue of transcripts. Delinquent balances are subject to a monthly finance charge of 1.5 percent from the date the account is considered delinquent. Grinnell College reserves the right to recover all costs involved with the collection and/or litigation of delinquent accounts.

For parents who prefer to pay college expenses in monthly installments, the College offers an option administered by an outside agency. For further information, contact the Office of the Cashier.


The College engages its faculty and assigns residence hall space in advance of each semester in accordance with the number of students who have signified intent to be enrolled. When students withdraw during the semester, they leave vacancies that cannot be filled. The following rules concerning refunds protect Grinnell from losses when students withdraw.

A student withdrawing from the College within the first six weeks of the semester is held responsible for tuition, room, meal plan, and other fees on a prorated basis as of the date the student withdraws. If a student withdraws after six weeks into the semester, no tuition, room, meal plan, and other fees will be refunded. The same policy applies to emergency leaves.

Tuition, room, meal plan, and other fees will not be refunded for students suspended or dismissed for academic or conduct reasons during the semester.

The College will comply with all applicable mandated federal and state refund policies related to military and/or other service.


Federal student aid funds are awarded to a student under the assumption that the student will attend school for the entire period for which the assistance is awarded. When a student withdraws before completing more than 60% of the semester, the student may no longer be eligible for the full amount of student aid that the student was originally scheduled to receive.

Based on a prescribed federal refund calculation the percentage of the semester attended is used to calculate the amount of the student’s earned/unearned federal student aid funds. The unearned portion of federal student aid funds will be returned to the appropriate aid program(s).

After withdrawal adjustments to tuition, required fees, room, and meal option, funds are returned to payment sources in the following order:

  1. Federal Unsubsidized Direct loans
  2. Federal Subsidized Direct loans
  3. Federal Perkins loans
  4. Federal PLUS loans
  5. Federal Pell grants
  6. Federal SEOG grants
  7. Other Title IV aid
  8. State loans
  9. State grants
  10. Private grants
  11. Institutional loans
  12. Institutional grants
  13. Other payment sources
  14. Student

Examples of federal refund and repayment calculations are available from the Office of the Cashier.

The student is responsible for payment to the College of any balance due after the required return of funds.

Meal Plan Options for 2016–2017

  1. Listed below are the meal plan options available to students living in the residence halls and their charges per year:

First-year students

A. Full Meal Plan (20 meals per week)—Meal Plan 01 $6,322

Returning/Transfer students living in residence halls

A. Full Meal Plan (20 meals per week)—Meal Plan 01 $6,322
B. Any 15 meals per week plus Dining Dollars—Meal Plan 02 $6,322
C. Any 15 meals per week—Meal Plan 03 $5,840
D. Any 10 meals per week plus Dining Dollars—Meal Plan 04 $5,954
  1. Students living in College-owned housing, excluding the residence halls, have a variety of options, ranging from no meal plan to the full 20 meals per week (Meal Plan 01). Meal plan options are distributed in the spring of each year for the following fall semester.
  2. Students living in Cowles Apartments are required to participate at a minimum in Meal Plan 6, 65 meals plus Dining Dollars per semester, $2,142 per year.
  3. Students living in noncollege housing off campus may purchase any meal plan option from the Office of Dining Services.

Music Fees per semester 

Lesson fees cover the instructor’s salary for 14 private lessons/semester, use of a College-owned musical instrument for regular practice, use of an instrument locker for storage, and use of practice room facilities—plus a Music Department pianist to accompany required public performances (for MUS 220, MUS 221, MUS 320, and MUS 420 only). All students are entitled to all these benefits regardless of whether they receive a scholarship or pay the full fee themselves.

  • 30 minute lessons: $390/semester
    • MUS 120 (beginner/intermediate)
    • MUS 220 (intermediate/advanced)
  • 60 minute lessons: $655/semester
    • MUS 221 (intermediate/advanced)
    • MUS 320 (half recital, shared with one other student registered for MUS 320)
    • MUS 420 (full recital)

Scholarships for students enrolled in music lessons for the 2016-2017 academic year are available to qualifying students.  Please see the Music Department web page for details.

Important Information

  • Credits earned in music lessons are NOT counted in the number of credits that determine whether a student is liable for an “overload” fee (over 18 credits).
  • There is a limit of one scholarship of any type per semester for all non-majors.
  • Music majors must declare before the end of the add/drop period in order to receive free lessons for that semester. There is no limit on the number of free lessons/semester that music majors may receive.
  • The scholarship will be applied to your bill after the end of the add/drop period. You may see a charge on your bill, but it will be revised once the scholarship is processed.
  • To retain your scholarship funding, you must successfully complete the course (14 music lessons). Those who do not complete the course will be billed the full amount. Non-majors who drop the course within the first 6 weeks of the semester will receive a pro-rated refund based on the full cost of lessons.

 Special Fees 

  • Alumni Course Fee (Grinnell College graduates are eligible to enroll for credit. Enrollment is limited to one course per semester on a “space available” basis.)
$300 per course
  • Ninth Semester Teaching Fee
  • Key deposit—Room key
  • Parking Permit - per year
  • Monthly finance charge for late payment of fees
1.5% / month
  • Off-Campus Study Administration Fee
  • Penalty for late arrival confirmation
  • Tuition, auditing courses without credit, per credit (not charged to regularly enrolled students)
  • Tuition, registration for more than 18 credits (except MUS 101, studio music instruction and PHE 101), per credit
  • Tuition for special students, per credit
  • Tuition for students not in residence as regular students but doing work for credit under the supervision or instruction of a Grinnell College faculty member, per credit

Contingent Charges

All Grinnell students make a $100 damage deposit that is separate from the advance tuition deposit and is included in the first-semester billing. The deposit is applied to any fines or outstanding bills at the end of each semester. Before registration each fall semester, students must restore the damage deposit to $100. Any unused portion of the deposit will be returned upon graduation or withdrawal from Grinnell.

Tuition and Fees for Off-Campus Study Programs

Grinnell College charges its own tuition and a handling fee for any student enrolling in an off-campus program for which the tuition and required fees are equal to or less than Grinnell’s tuition. For off-campus programs for which the tuition and fees exceed those of Grinnell, the College charges students the tuition and fees of those off-campus programs. Board, room, program fees, travel, and other miscellaneous expenses are billed according to the charges from each individual program.

The family contribution is determined by using the same federal and institutional formulas for on-campus and OCS programs.  Grinnell makes every effort to meet student’s demonstrated institutional need for off-campus study.  However, based on the comprehensive cost associated with attending an off-campus program, students may have to borrow additional funds or contribute more then they would if they remained on campus.

Financial Aid


Grinnell College adheres to generous core values when determining need-based aid eligibility.  It is our belief that qualified students, regardless of financial circumstances, should be afforded a Grinnell education. This is reflected in our need-blind admission policy. 

To that end, Grinnell meets 100 percent of demonstrated financial need. This can be summed up in the following formula:

Cost of attendance - Institutionally Calculated Family Contribution = Demonstrated Financial Need

Grinnell presupposes that students and their parents have primary responsibility for financing an undergraduate education to the extent they are able. Financial aid funded by Grinnell College is intended to supplement family resources.

The majority of a student’s demonstrated need is met with (funded by) Grinnell grants and scholarships. Other resources include federal and state grants, outside scholarships, work-study, and student loans.

Grinnell’s financial aid program is open to all degree-seeking students enrolled during the academic year. Institutional aid is not available for summer study. A student may receive Grinnell aid up to eight semesters assuming other eligibility criteria are met. 

How to apply for Financial Aid:

First time financial aid applicants should complete the CSS Profile to apply for institutionally funded need-based assistance.  The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is required for federal and state financial aid.  To maximize their eligibility for financial aid, first time applicants must complete both applications.  In addition, all custodial parents must submit completed and signed copies of their previous year’s federal income tax return, including W-2 forms and all schedules to finalize any need-based financial aid.  In cases where the student was selected for verification by the Department of Education, additional documentation will be required.

NOTE: First time applicants who are not US citizens or eligible non-citizens (as defined by the FAFSA) apply for financial aid by completing the CSS Profile and Certification of Finances.

Renewal of Aid:

Current students who are need-based financial aid recipients need to apply for need-based financial aid for each academic year they want to be considered.  The reapplication process is similar to the process for first time applicants.  Although Grinnell does not require the CSS Profile for returning student applications, we reserve the right to request completion of the CSS Profile.

Changes in Financial Aid Policies:

Grinnell’s financial aid policies do change from time to time due to federal and state requirements and the College’s continued effort to serve students. Students should refer to the Office of Financial Aid website for the most current and complete information. 

Terms of Assistance:

While Grinnell is committed to providing a consistent aid package for up to eight semesters, need-based aid is renewed on a yearly basis and is not automatic. Students will receive guidance each January detailing the renewal process. The deadline for returning students is typically April 15.

If comparable need is demonstrated from year to year, Grinnell will renew institutional gift aid. Changes to the expected family contribution are considered when families experience a significant change in financial circumstances.  Examples of this include changes to the number of dependents in college, sizable changes to income (more than inflationary), and unusually high out-of-pocket medical expenses.

Federal, state, and some institutional assistance requires that the student maintain satisfactory academic progress.  If a student fails to maintain satisfactory academic progress for financial aid, but is still allowed to return to campus, any lost institutional assistance will be replaced with a general Grinnell Grant.  Grinnell will not make up for a loss of federal or state eligibility.

Grinnell sponsored merit scholarships require the student maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.75.  If a student’s cumulative GPA is below 2.75 at the end of the spring semester, the student will forfeit the merit scholarship for the following academic year.  Eligibility is only reviewed at the end of spring semester.  If by the end of the following spring semester the student’s cumulative GPA is 2.75 or higher, the Grinnell merit scholarship will be reinstated. Student’s experiencing extenuating circumstances may appeal the forfeiture of their merit scholarship and should contact the Office of Financial Aid.

Students must notify the Office of Student Financial Aid of any outside scholarships and awards they receive.  If the student is the recipient of need-based financial aid, the outside assistance, including veteran and vocational rehabilitation benefits, will generally be used to reduce the self-help portion of the aid package.  However, grant funds may be adjusted if the total amount of the financial aid award and the outside scholarship(s) exceed demonstrated need.  In no instance can financial aid from all sources exceed the total cost of attendance.

All financial aid, with the exception of work-study and some outside scholarships will be distributed to the student account in equal disbursements at the beginning of the semester.  However, if a student is on an off-campus study program resulting in unequal education costs, the financial aid for that academic year will be split to accommodate the unequal expenses.  Students are paid each pay period for work-study earnings based on hours worked.  Forms can be completed with the Cashier to apply work-study earnings toward the tuition balance.

Scholarships, Grants, Employment, and Loans

The typical financial aid package awarded by Grinnell contains a combination of grant/scholarship, loan, and work.  Specific amounts and funds vary based on a student’s financial need and merit eligibility.

Grants and scholarships form the largest part of our financial aid funds.  These funds are sometimes referred to as Gift Aid, and do not have to be repaid.  Institutional grants and scholarships are available as a result of great generosity and stewardship over many decades involving many alumni, parents, and other friends.  Federal and state grants are established for very high-need students.

Scholarships (Merit Aid):

Grinnell is one of a handful of highly selective institutions to affirm the achievements of certain admitted students with generous merit scholarships.  An application for admission serves as an application for merit aid – no separate application is required.  Merit scholarships offered by Grinnell include President’s Scholarship, Dean’s Scholarship, Founder’s Scholarship, Trustee Honor Scholarship, Howard R. Bowen Scholarship, and the Iowa Rosenfield Scholarship.  In addition to institutional merit assistance, National Merit Scholarship recipients who select Grinnell as their first-choice college will receive a scholarship for $2,000 per year, for four years.

Institutional Grants (Need-Based Aid):

Students apply for need-based financial aid to be considered for institutional grants.  Most funds come from Grinnell’s endowment, alumni gifts and other contributions, and the general operations budget.  These funds are used to meet a student’s demonstrated need.

Federal Grants:

Students complete the FAFSA to determine eligibility for federal grants.  Federal grants include the Federal Pell Grant and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG).

State Grants:

Completion of the FAFSA is required to apply for state grants.  The State of Iowa has a FAFSA filing deadline of July 1.  Students who are residents of states outside of Iowa should check with their state higher education authority for state deadlines.  Note that state assistance may not travel to colleges located outside of the state of your legal residence.  Most assistance from the State of Iowa is targeted at high-need populations and only available to Iowa residents who meet the state grant qualifications.


Student loans is a type of financial assistance that must be repaid.  Many federal loans have deferment options that allow students to postpone repayment on their loans while enrolled at least half-time in college.  Federal loans at Grinnell include: Federal Direct Subsidized Loan, Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan, Federal Perkins Loan, and the Federal Direct Parent Loan (PLUS).

Private loans are sometimes utilized by students and families in financing their education.  The terms and conditions of federal loans may be more favorable than those offered by private lenders.  Before borrowing a private loan, we encourage you to review the information above detailing federal and state financial aid programs for which you may be eligible.


Student jobs on campus are funded by the federal government and Grinnell College.  Grinnell offers positions first to students with demonstrated financial need.  Those students who have been awarded federal work-study have the option of working off-campus for a non-profit organization.


If you served on Active Duty, you might be eligible for education benefits offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs.  If you are the spouse or child of a service member who is serving on active duty Title 10 orders in the paygrades of E1-E5, O1-O2, or W1-W2, you may be eligible for financial assistance from the Department of Defense for education, training, and/or the occupational license and credentials necessary for a portable career.  If you are the spouse or child of a service member, you may be eligible for transfer of the service member’s Post 9/11 GI benefits to you.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for Financial Aid

Federal regulations require Grinnell College to monitor the academic progress of students receiving Federal Student Aid. This policy applies to eligibility for Federal Student Aid, financial aid from the State of Iowa, and other non-Grinnell entities that may require recipients to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress. This policy does not apply to financial aid from Grinnell. Review the section on Satisfactory Academic Progress for Grinnell Financial Aid for the policy regarding eligibility for Grinnell financial aid.

The standards for maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) are based on federal regulations and may differ from standards developed by the Office of the Registrar and the faculty. Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements only relate to financial aid eligibility. Students are also expected to make Normal Scholarly Progress and meet the College’s Standards of Academic Performance as detailed in the Student Handbook.

Evaluation Period:

The Office of Student Financial Aid will evaluate Satisfactory Academic Progress at the end of each semester.

Satisfactory Academic Progress standards are cumulative and include all periods of enrollment, whether or not the student received financial aid. Students must make quantitative as well as qualitative progress toward degree completion as defined by the following:

Qualitative (Grade Point Average)

All students are required to meet the minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) shown on the chart below.

Quantitative (Pace)

Students must earn at least 67% of credits attempted, not attempting more than 186 credits to graduate.

Withdrawals and Incompletes:

All courses, regardless of whether they are successfully completed, count in calculating a student’s academic progress, including any courses for which the student did not receive financial aid. This includes courses for which the student was officially enrolled in after the last day to drop courses and where the student receives an incomplete or a withdrawal.

Repeated Coursework:

If a student repeats a course, both the original course and the repeated course will count as attempted credits. However only the credits and GPA from the repeated course will count toward the quantitative and qualitative requirements for the purpose of determining Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).

Transfer Credits:

Courses that the Registrar allows a student to transfer to Grinnell will be counted in determining progress toward graduation and the quantitative requirements at Grinnell. They are not included in the calculation of GPA for the purposes of determining Satisfactory Academic Progress. Transfer students will be evaluated for SAP based upon their class year designation at the time of enrollment.

Additional Requirements for Financial Aid:

Students must earn 67% of all credits attempted. (An earned credit has a grade of A, A-, B+, B , B-, C+, C, D, or S.) Audits, withdrawals, incompletes, repeated courses, and transfer credits are included in attempted credit totals, though they are not calculated into the grade point average for the purpose of determining Satisfactory Academic Progress. A grade of failing (F) is also included in attempted credit totals and is calculated into the grade point average.

Additionally, all Grinnell students are expected to finish their degree within an acceptable period of time. The maximum time frame for federal financial aid recipients is 150% of the published program requirements. If at any time it can be determined that the student is unable to complete the program within the maximum time frame, the student will be disqualified from receiving federal and state aid at that time. The Office of Student Financial Aid will notify the student prior to the student reaching the maximum time frame.

For degree-seeking full-time students, Satisfactory Academic Progress will be measured as follows:

At the conclusion of full-time semester number

Minimum Cumulative
GPA Requirement

Minimum Number of Credits Completed

(as a percentage of attempted)










4 & Greater



Failure to Meet Standards:
Financial Aid Warning

If at the end of the evaluation period a student has not met either the qualitative standard (GPA) or quantitative standard (pace), the student will be placed on Financial Aid Warning for one evaluation period.  Students on Financial Aid Warning are eligible to receive federal financial aid.

If at the end of the Warning period a student who has been on Warning has met both the qualitative standard (GPA) and the quantitative standard (pace), the Warning status is ended and the student is returned to good standing. If at the end of a semester on warning, the student is still not meeting SAP requirements, the student will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension.

Students who are re-admitted to Grinnell and who are placed in strict academic probation, academic probation, or warning status by the academic standing committee will be placed on Financial Aid Warning status.

Financial Aid Suspension

If at the end of the Warning period a student who has been on Warning status HAS NOT met both the qualitative standard (GPA) and the quantitative standard (pace), the student will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension. Students on Financial Aid Suspension status are not eligible to receive financial aid from Federal Student Aid programs, the State of Iowa, or other non-Grinnell entities that require recipients to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress until satisfactory academic progress, as defined above, has been achieved.

A student who fails to make Satisfactory Academic Progress and is placed on Financial Aid Suspension has the right to appeal.

Appeals and Probationary Status:

A student that is unable to achieve Satisfactory Academic Progress and as a result is placed on a Financial Aid Suspension has the right to appeal based on special, unusual, or extenuating circumstances causing undue hardship. Appeals must be submitted by the student in writing (letter or email) to Grinnell College’s Office of Student Financial Aid. The appeal must include:

  • A statement from the student explaining the nature of the extenuating circumstances that contributed to the Satisfactory Academic Progress deficiency and an explanation of how those barriers/circumstances have been removed.
  • An Academic Improvement Plan approved by a member of Grinnell’s Academic Advising Staff that, if followed, ensures the student will meet Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements.
  • Supporting third party documentation is encouraged.

Appeals will be considered by the Financial Aid Appeals Committee. If the appeal is approved, the student will be placed on Financial Aid Probation and may continue to receive aid from Federal Student Aid programs, the State of Iowa, or other non-Grinnell entities that require recipients to maintain SAP. The academic progress of students placed on Financial Aid Probation will be monitored after each term.

Financial Aid Probation

A student who has successfully appealed a Financial Aid Suspension shall be placed on Financial Aid Probation.  Students on Financial Aid Probation must meet a minimum term GPA of 2.0 during the probation term and complete 100% of all registered courses. If at the end of the next evaluation period, a student on probation status:

  • Has met the grade point and completion standards, the student shall be returned to good standing.
  • Has not met the grade point and/or completion standards but has met the conditions specified in the student’s academic plan, the student will retain his/her financial aid eligibility and continue on Financial Aid Probation.
  • Has not met the grade point and completion standards and has also not met the terms and conditions specified in his/her academic plan, the student shall be re-suspended immediately upon completion of the evaluation.
Notification of Status and Appeal Results:
Status Notification

Students are notified in writing (letter or email) when evaluation of Satisfactory Academic Progress results in Suspension, Warning or Probation.  The Suspension notifications will include the conditions of the current status and the requirements necessary to regain eligibility for financial aid.  In addition, the notice of Suspension includes the right to and process necessary to appeal the suspension.

Appeal Result Notification

Students are notified in writing (letter or email) the results of all appeals.  Approved appeals, resulting in Probation, include the conditions under which the appeal is approved and any requirements necessary to maintain eligibility for financial aid.  Denied appeals include the reason for denial, the process to appeal the denial, and the conditions required to achieve Satisfactory Academic Progress and reinstatement of financial aid eligibility.

Reinstatement of Financial Aid:

A student who has been suspended from financial aid eligibility may be reinstated after the minimum cumulative GPA and completion standard have been achieved or an appeal has been approved resulting in Financial Aid Probation.

Satisfactory Academic Progress for Grinnell Financial Aid:

Any degree-seeking student is eligible to apply for Grinnell financial aid. Eligibility for Grinnell financial aid is limited to eight semesters.

Grinnell financial aid eligibility will be prorated for students who are admitted as transfer students. For example, a student who transfers to Grinnell as a first-semester sophomore is eligible to apply for six semesters of Grinnell financial aid. Only credits accepted by Grinnell’s Office of the Registrar for credit toward a Grinnell degree are used to determine the student’s class standing at the time of transfer.

Students who need Grinnell financial aid beyond their eighth semester of attendance must request an exception to this policy in writing. Requests should be submitted to the Office of Student Financial Aid no later than the end of the eighth semester of enrollment. Exceptions to the eight semester limit will be made rarely, and only in situations where circumstances beyond the student’s control prevented degree completion in eight semesters.