Scholarships and Financial Aid

Supporting students of any means, by all means

Rising educational costs and mounting student debt have been in the press. At Grinnell, we’re determined to support future Grinnellians because the world needs more of us. Our commitment means providing a highly individualized, worldclass education to every admitted student, regardless of their ability to pay, plus an equal commitment to keeping debt loads low. To achieve both, our students depend on our broader Grinnell community to help.

More than $200 million in financial aid over four years

Grinnell invests more than $50 million in student scholarships annually. 86% of Grinnellians now receive financial help — with the average need-based financial aid recipient receiving $43,783 in grants and scholarships. This is the result of Grinnell’s need-blind commitment to judging students’ applications solely on their achievement and potential. In fact, Grinnell awards more of its operating budget in grants to students than any national liberal arts college that is needblind and meets full need.

Keeping loans in check

Most aid is provided in the form of scholarships and grants that don’t need to be repaid; this ensures students avoid accumulating excessive debt. While students may take out loans, they’re awarded at modest levels. In 2018, our graduating class accumulated an average debt of just under $19,000 — not only the lowest amount among all Iowa universities and colleges, but No. 22 among all private schools in the U.S. (source: This average debt represents just 6% of the total cost of educating a student each year at Grinnell.

Endowed and dedicated scholarships

In addition to need-based aid, we carefully award merit scholarships — for academic achievement, leadership, and other notable accomplishments. Merit scholarships are designed to help keep the college competitive and attract the most aspiring future difference makers who have a range of college options. To offer these institutional grants and scholarships, Grinnell relies on the endowment and gifts. In 2017-2018, alumni and friends added new endowed scholarship funds to bring our total number to 280. Many are named in honor of a family member, friend, or faculty member, and go to support a range of students and programs.

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