FAQ

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Applying for Aid & Understanding your Award

How do I apply for financial aid at Coe?

All students who apply for admission to Coe are automatically considered for merit-based scholarships. Students must live on campus to receive the full scholarship amount. Commuter students should contact the Office of Admission with questions.  To apply for need-based aid, you should complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to Coe after October 1st.  You must file the FAFSA every year if you wish to apply for need-based aid.  The Priority Deadline for filing the FAFSA is March 1st.  In order to maximize financial aid eligibility and receive the most timely award, you should file by this deadline.

Is there a way to get an idea of how much financial aid my family would qualify for before I apply?

Yes, you can use our Net Price Calculator at any time to get an estimate of your scholarship eligibility and net cost.  This is an approximation, but it will provide insight as to what financial assistance your family might expect from Coe.

When will I receive my financial aid award?  

You can expect your award offer 2 weeks after filing the FAFSA.  The earliest to apply for aid is October 1st.  

What scholarships may be available for me? 

Coe has a comprehensive merit-based scholarship program.  Information about first year, transfer and international scholarships is available online.  Note that Kohawks participate in NCAA Division III athletics, therefore we cannot offer scholarships based on athletic ability.  However, many student-athletes are eligible for other need or merit-based scholarships and grants.

How can I go about finding some outside financial aid?

Coe encourages you to apply for outside sources of aid, especially scholarships from local organizations in your community.  Sometimes, parents' employers also offer scholarships for children of employees.  If necessary, students may consider taking on outside loans.  Parents can apply for a Parent PLUS loan at studentloans.gov, or you can take out a private loan under your name so long as you have a credit-worthy co-signer.  FastChoice is a tool you may use to help you decide on the right loan based on what has worked for Coe students in the past.

If I receive outside scholarships, will that reduce the amount of aid I get from Coe?

No. While outside scholarships may impact your federal need-based self-help aid (Stafford loans, work study, etc.) they will not change the amount of institutional need-based gift aid you were awarded by Coe. In other words, Coe will not reduce the institutional aid we award you because of your outside scholarships.  You benefit from receiving outside aid that does not need to be repaid or earned, even if it means your work study award or federal loans are reduced.  You should inform the Office of Financial Aid about any outside scholarships you will receive as soon as possible by completing and submitting the Financial Aid Adjustment Form.

How will I know if I am eligible for work study? 

Work study is need-based and eligibility is determined by the FAFSA.  If you qualify, it will be listed on your award offer.  The Office of Financial Aid will send you information on being placed in a work study position and how you will be paid via email over the summer. 

Are there jobs on campus for students who do not qualify for work study? 

Yes. There are a limited number of jobs available that are not considered work study positions, such as admissions assistants, resident assistants, tutors and student callers.

What happens to my financial aid award if I study abroad or off-campus?

If you study on a Coe Exchange Program, your financial aid remains the same.  All other off-campus study programs are subject to a reduction of your Coe scholarships and grants.  Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) and National Tuition Exchange (NTE) recipients are eligible to use their awards for Coe Exchange Programs but not for off-campus study programs that are not adminstered by Coe.  Federal and state financial aid will typically not be reduced for any off-campus study program.


Filing the FAFSA & Verification

What is Coe's FAFSA code?

Coe's federal school code for the FAFSA application is 001854.

Do I have to wait to file my FAFSA until our federal tax returns are completed?

We strongly encourage you to file your FAFSA using completed tax returns. For the 2020-2021 FAFSA, students (and parents, as appropriate) will report their 2018 income information.  The easiest way to complete your FAFSA with accurate tax information is by using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.  

Is it worth my time to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) if I don't think I will qualify for need-based aid?

We strongly encourage all students to file the FAFSA. There is no automatic income level cutoff for financial aid eligibility.  Remember that Coe awards institutional grants to students. While you may not qualify for federal need-based aid, you may qualify for institutional grant funds. In addition, every student that files the FAFSA qualifies for a federal student loan.

My parents cannot or do not support me financially. Does this mean I am an independent student?

Probably not. If your parents simply can't afford to help you, those circumstances will be taken into consideration. For the purpose of financial aid, however, Congress has defined an "independent student" as someone who:

  • is or will be 24 years old by January 1 of the academic year.
  • at any time since turning age 13, was an orphan, ward of the court or in foster care.
  • is a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces or serving on active duty at the time of application.
  • is a graduate or professional student.
  • is married.
  • has legal dependents (not a spouse) for whom he or she provides more than 50% of the financial support.
  • is, according to your state of legal residence, an emancipated minor.
  • is, according to your state of legal residence, or were in legal guardianship.
  • at any time on or after July 1, 2019 determined to be an unaccompanied minor who was homeless.

Congress believes that a parent's unwillingness to provide support does not, by itself, automatically make you "independent." Unless you meet one of these conditions, it is likely that your parent(s) will need to provide information on your FAFSA. For unusual circumstances, please contact our office.

How do I fill out the FAFSA if my parents are divorced?

As required by federal regulation, Coe considers the income and assets of your "custodial" parent - the parent you lived with the most during the last year.  If your custodial parent is married, your step-parent must be included as a parent on your FAFSA.  You must use your custodial parent's information on the FAFSA regardless of their income or which parent claimed you on their tax return.  Click here for a helpful graphic in determining which parent's information should be included on your FAFSA.

What if my family's financial situation changes during the year or our situation cannot be reported on the FAFSA?

If your family's financial circumstances have changed since you filed your FAFSA or you have a special circumstance that you were not able to report on your FAFSA, the Office of Financial Aid may be able to take the changes into consideration. Our Special Circumstance page offers a summary of situations that our office may be able to consider. If you think you qualify or are unsure, please contact the Office of Financial Aid to determine if these changes will result in an increase of your financial aid eligibility.

What is verification?

Verification is the process by which our office confirms the accuracy of the data you reported on your FAFSA.  Being selected for verification does not mean that you have done anything wrong; the federal FAFSA processor randomly selects a number of applications to be verified each year.  If you are selected, our office will contact you regarding the documents you must provide and requirements you must meet in order to complete verification.  While we will offer you an estimated financial aid award before the verification process is completed, the aid we offered you is not considered final and will not be applied to your student account until we have confirmed the accuracy of your data.  In the event that we are required to make corrections to your data that results in a revision of your financial aid, you will receive a revised financial aid award offer.


Billing & Other Costs

Will the college bill me for tuition and fees (and room and meals, if applicable)?

Yes, an eBill including all applicable charges will be generated for you in mid-July and will be available on my.coe.edu.  Email notifications will be sent to students and parents with current Parent Portal permissions.  You will not receive a paper billing statement.

What types of payment plans does the college offer?

There are two plans available to help meet your needs. Payment can be made by semester (due in August and January) or over 10 months, beginning in August.

Can I pay my bill with a credit card?

Yes. Coe accepts Visa, American Express, MasterCard and Discover credit cards. There is a 2.75% fee to use a credit card. You can also use ACH (automated clearing house) for a direct withdrawal from your checking or savings account. There is no fee for ACH transactions, cash or checks.

Does Coe charge out-of-state tuition?

No. Tuition is the same for out-of-state students as it is for Iowa students.

What should I expect to pay for books?

On average, books cost $300-$500 per semester, but it varies depending on your course of study.

For more comprehensive questions, please refer to the Financial Aid Handbook or contact the Financial Aid office.