How to Apply for Prospective Students

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How to Apply for Financial Aid
(New Students)

The following steps are for those students who are completing the process prior to the 2017-18 financial aid year.  The process to apply for financial aid for 2017-18 is still being developed.  Once the process is finalized, we will update the steps below.  In the meantime, you can find some preliminary information about what is prompting these changes at the following link.

Information about the 2017-18 processing changes.

All students should follow the steps below to apply for financial assistance.  International students, please note Step 5 for an additional option to apply.

STEP ONE: Checklist

Indicate your Application for Admission that you intend to apply for financial aid. There is no separate Carleton form to apply for financial aid.


Set up and maintain your own personal financial aid file. Make and keep copies of all forms, information, and communications with Carleton and any other agencies. If something becomes lost or misplaced, you will have the information available to resubmit easily.


Complete the College Board/College Scholarship Service's (CSS) Financial Aid Profile application for school year 2016-2017. You may complete the Profile online here. When you complete the Profile, list Carleton College's code 6081 on the Profile so we will receive the results.  The Profile collects more detailed information so Carleton can more accurately calculate a family's need and eligibility for aid from Carleton.  There is a fee required to complete the Profile.  Fee waiver eligibility is calculated automatically by College Board when completing the Profile and is based on family income.

  • Fall Early Decision candidates should complete and submit the Profile by November 15, 2015 using actual 2014 income figures or estimated 2015 income figures. You may start completing the 2016-17 Profile as early as October 1, 2015.
  • Winter Early Decision candidates should complete and submit the Profile by January 15, 2016 using actual 2015 income figures or estimates if necessary.
  • Regular Decision candidates should complete and submit the Profile by February 15, 2016. Regular Decision candidates are encouraged to use 2015 income figures.  If you cannot complete your 2015 taxes, please use estimated 2015 income figures.
  • Transfer candidates should complete and submit the Profile by March 31, 2016.

After you submit your Profile Application, you can access your Profile Acknowledgement at the College Board website at any time. The Acknowledgement is your record of the data submitted on the Profile and where the results are being sent. Carleton recommends printing your Acknowledgement and keeping it in your personal financial aid file (see Step 2).

If you need to change any of your Profile Application information, make corrections on your Acknowledgement and send a photocopy directly to Carleton. Do NOT send corrections to the College Board; they will not process your corrections.

If you have questions or problems with the PROFILE, you can reach College Board at 305-420-3670 or e-mail

NOTE: International students may skip to Step 5.


Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for school year 2016-17. The FAFSA is available after January 1 of the year you will be entering college.  Apply online with FAFSA on the Web.  List Carleton College's school code 002340 so we will receive the results.

The FAFSA is a required document used to determine a student’s eligibility for federal aid, such as the Pell Grant, Direct Stafford or Perkins loans, student employment, etc.  Any federal aid you qualify for will be incorporated into your aid award from Carleton.

If your federal tax returns have already been submitted to the IRS when you are completing the FAFSA, please agree to the IRS data retrieval when prompted to automatically fill in tax information.  This will help to avoid additional information requests to complete the federal financial aid application process.

If you have questions or problems with your FAFSA, call 800-4FEDAID (800-433-3243).

STEP FIVE: Flag Globe

 (International Students only)

International students are also required to complete Certification of Finances.

International students may choose to complete the free International Student Financial Aid Application or complete the College Board/College Scholarship Service's (CSS) Financial Aid Profile (Step 3). No matter which option is chosen, all international students must complete the Certification of Finances form and send it directly to Carleton College. 

Important Note for International Students: Financial assistance is secured at the time of your entry to Carleton.  Given the limited funding available to international students, we will NOT consider new applications for aid once you have enrolled.  You should make your plans for attendance at Carleton with the financial aid you have been awarded for your first year.  International students awarded assistance can assume that level of aid will continue during the four years at Carleton.  However, you should not assume that increased aid will be available in subsequent years.  With this in mind, aid applications after the first year are not required.  But, the Certification of Finances is required each year to renew your visa status.

Additional Information:

If a student's biological or adoptive parents are separated, divorced or were never married, the custodial parent (the parent with whom the student lives most of the time) and step-parent (if applicable) should complete both the Profile and FAFSA. The non-custodial parent will complete Additional Informationthe College Board's Non-custodial Profile. The College Board will send the student an email that details the requirement. The student will be directed to share the email with the non-custodial parent. Carleton assumes the noncustodial parent will contribute toward a student's college costs to the extent that is reasonable.

Parents who are self-employed or own a business or farm will be asked for business or farm information on the Profile.  The Office of Student Financial Services may contact you if additional information is needed.

New students are normally notified of an initial financial aid decision at the time they are offered admission to Carleton if the appropriate forms, as previously listed, are on file prior to the mailing of the admissions decision. Awards are finalized in the summer once students have made their enrollment deposit and income figures are verified with actual tax returns. Significant discrepancies may cause a change to the initial award. However, in most cases, the final award will be the same as the initial award.  Carleton reserves the right to request copies of tax returns directly from the IRS.

Outside scholarships (assistance from sources other than Carleton) must be reported to the Office of Student Financial Services in writing. Since financial need is determined by considering all sources of assistance, outside awards must be reviewed even after the initial aid award has been issued. It is the College's policy to remain within a student's calculated need and allow outside awards to lower the self-help (loan or work) portion of the aid award.

Renewal of Aid:

Time to RenewFinancial aid forms must be completed each year the student is enrolled at Carleton to update a family's financial situation. Students and their families may assume that the College will continue to provide comparable assistance for subsequent years assuming the family's financial circumstances remain constant. If those circumstances change dramatically, financial aid may also change. It will be the College's objective to keep aid awards as stable as possible over a student's years of attendance. Financial aid is not automatically renewable and students and parents must apply each year they are seeking assistance.  The priority deadline for subsequent years is the first day of spring term classes.


All of us in the Office of Admissions and the Office of Student Financial Services are here to help you complete the process of applying for financial aid with as little stress and difficulty as possible.  Please contact us if you encounter problems or have questions.