Tuition & Financial Aid

Financial aid at College Unbound draws upon the combined resources of the student, the federal government, scholarships and the College itself. It is important that students apply for financial aid if they have reason to believe that the cost of attendance (COA) exceeds what they can reasonably be expected to contribute for their time at CU. Financial aid is renewable for a portion of or all undergraduate years, assuming eligibility continues. Students must reapply each year for financial aid by filing a new FAFSA.

Tuition and Fees

Tuition and Fees

Tuition and Fees are based upon credit hours of the student’s coursework for the term (semester) and related fees that may apply.
Tuition (2023-2024 Academic Year)
$437 per credit (maximum $5,244 per term)
Fees (2023-2024 Academic Year)
Transcript Fee = $2.25 - $3.50 (per request)
Returned Check Fee = $25 (per event)

Free Application for Federal Student Aid

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Your first step is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), regardless of your financial status. You may file the FAFSA beginning October 1. For the 2024/25 FAFSA, the priority deadline will be July 15. Your FAFSA information determines your eligibility for a broad range of financial aid. Even if you do not have financial need according to your FAFSA results, many students qualify for some form of financial aid. If you are wondering how the amount of your federal financial aid is determined, see below for our cost of attendance calculator.

View and Understand Your Bill

View & Understand Your Bill

Your bill includes tuition, payments and financial aid. Federal financial aid (Pell grants and loans) will appear as anticipated (status VER or Verified on your bill) until the federal government sends College Unbound the aid. Student bills are accessible through the MyCU by clicking My Bill. Read more about paying and understanding your bill here.
Tuition depends on how many credits you take, as stated above. You may qualify for federal financial aid and/or scholarships from the college to offset the cost. You can use our net price calculator for an estimate of your expenses.
The Cost of Attendance (COA) is the estimated amount it will cost you to attend College Unbound on a full-time basis. CU calculates your COA to show your total cost for the school year (for instance, for the fall semester plus the spring semester). The costs include:
  • tuition and fees;
  • estimated cost of room and board (or living expenses)
  • the cost of books, supplies, transportation, loan fees, and miscellaneous expenses (including a reasonable amount for the documented cost of a personal computer);
  • an allowance for child care or other dependent care;
  • costs related to a disability; and/or
College Unbound is an approved participant in the Federal Student Aid Program. For more information inquire at the CU Financial Aid Office. CU students may be eligible for:
  • Federal Pell Grants
  • Direct Subsidized Federal Student Loans
  • Direct Unsubsidized Federal Student Loans
Disbursement of all financial aid awards will be applied as a credit to your term bill as noted on the Award Letter. Please note that when your account is credited with financial aid funds, you are able to view the date and amount by accessing your account. You have the right to cancel all or a portion of the loan proceeds within 14 days of the disbursement notice by notifying the Financial Aid Office in writing.

If the total credits, including any cash payments you make, exceed the term bill, a refund will be processed for you through the Financial Aid Office. 
Verification is a process initiated either by the U.S. Department of Education or by the Financial Aid office requiring you to submit a verification worksheet. If your application is selected for verification, you will not be eligible for federal aid until this process is finalized. To avoid unnecessary delays, please submit all required documents promptly.
For 2022-23, you must either use the IRS Data Retrieval process when filing the FAFSA, submit a 2020 IRS tax transcript, or submit the signed 2020 income tax form which was filed with the IRS in order to verify your FAFSA information.
Amended tax return
Students or parents who file an amended return (IRS Form 1040X) cannot use the IRS DRT, and if they amend the return after using the DRT to fill out the FAFSA, you cannot rely on that data.  Instead, you will need to use information from the following documents to complete verification:
  1. An IRS tax return transcript that includes information from the original tax return OR any other IRS tax transcript that includes all income and tax information from the original tax return required for verification (neither of which has to be signed) signed copy of the original tax return that was filed, or a tax return transcript (which does not have to be signed); and
  2. A signed copy of the 1040X form that was filed with the IRS.
Withdrawal from the Institution: Students are expected to request in writing with the Office of the Registrar intention to cancel or withdraw from the institution. Students who withdraw from the institution on or after the 22nd day of the semester, whether with or without formal notice, incur full tuition liability for all courses not yet started. Federal Student aid recipients who have withdrawn from all coursework in a term are subject to a proration of their aid based on a calculation known as Return to Title IV. Please see the Return to Title IV policy for detailed information regarding this student policy.
Withdrawal from Individual Class: Students who withdraw from a class prior to the 22nd day of the session in which the class is offered incur no tuition liability for that class. Classes dropped on or after the 22nd day of the session in which the class is offered incur full tuition liability.
When the College Unbound, Financial Aid Office awards Federal Student Aid (FSA) to a student the assumption is that the student will attend the College for the entire term for which FSA funds were awarded. When the student withdraws before the end of the term they may no longer be eligible for the full amount of the federal funds they were scheduled to receive.

College Unbound students who are FSA recipients and withdraw from ALL of their classes prior to the end of the term, are subject to Federal student aid regulations known as Return to Title IV (R2T4). The calculation for return of FSA funds will determine the amount of grant and loan assistance a student “earned” for the term they were enrollment at the College. The R2T4 calculation is a proration of funds received for the term and will be completed by the Financial Aid Office.
Students who withdraw prior to the 60% point of a term have only earned a portion of the FSA they were awarded. A proration schedule is used to determine the amount of FSA funds the student has earned at the time of withdrawal. AFTER the 60 percent point in the term, the student has earned 100 percent of the FSA funds they are scheduled to receive during that term.
Any portion of FSA determined to be “unearned” will be returned to the appropriate Federal aid programs. Distribution of Refunds, Repayments, and Return of Title IV Funds by the Business Office will be done in the following order:
  1. Unsubsidized Direct Stafford Loans
  2. Subsidized Direct Stafford Loans
  3. Federal Pell Grants
  4. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)
  5. State Need Grants
  6. Other programs providing aid
The College will invoice the student for the amount of tuition that was returned that exceeds the College’s institutional refund policy.
The “unearned” portion of the aid that was disbursed directly to the student will also be calculated. If applicable, the student will owe a repayment to the FSA programs. The student will be sent an overpayment letter by the Business Office and will be given 45 days to make the repayment. The student will be ineligible for further FSA until the funds are repaid or satisfactory payment arrangements have been made with the U.S. Department of Education.
For a student who withdraws after the 60 percent point-in-time, there are no unearned funds.
However, College Unbound will still complete a Return of Federal Student Aid Funds calculation in order to determine whether the student is eligible for a post withdrawal disbursement.
The calculation of federal student financial aid funds earned by the student is separate from and has no relationship to institutional charges incurred by the student. Any over/under payment of institutional charges will be handled in accordance with the College’s institutional refund policies.

Common Questions

Tell me more about federal financial aid.
To see if you qualify for federal financial aid, you must file a Free Application for Federal Financial Aid (FAFSA) every school year and release it to College Unbound (school code 042836). You also need to provide any requested documents and accept your award.

The federal government uses a formula to determine your Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) and your Cost of Attendance (based on your enrollment) that will determine how much, if any, aid you receive. To receive aid, you must not be in default on any previous federal student loans. You also must make Satisfactory Academic Progress as outlined in the Academic Catalog.

You may receive a Pell Grant that does not need to be repaid. You may also qualify for federal student loans that must be repaid with interest. College Unbound strives to ensure affordability and urges students to contact a financial aid advisor before accepting federal loans.
For more common questions, please click here.
Each January some students receive a 1098T from College Unbound. The college is required to furnish this tax document to students unless your qualified tuition and related expenses are entirely waived or paid entirely with scholarships. Nonresident alien students, unless requested by the student, do not receive 1098Ts. Lastly, we are unable to issue a 1098T to students who did not provide a Social Security Number. If you meet one of these categories, you will not receive a 1098T.
For students who receive this document, you may need it as part of your tax filing process. You can expect to receive this document in the U.S. mail in early February. You can also access this document now online through our partner ECSI Heartland. If you access this document online, you will be given the option to receive this document electronically in the future.
There are two boxes students often have questions about. Box 1 of this form contains all payments made toward your tuition and fees. This includes payments made by others such as Pell grants, payments from employers and all scholarships inclusive of those given by College Unbound. Box 1 also includes payments from loans less any money refunded. Box 5 contains scholarships. It does not include loans.
Please know that the receipt of a 1098T does not guarantee or imply a tax deduction or credit. Should you have questions about your taxes, please consult with a tax professional or IRS Publication 970. College Unbound is unable to provide tax advice.
Separately, a reminder you can view your bill through MyCU.
Please visit this webpage for information about our Work Study program.
In 2020, College Unbound received money under the federal CARES Act. A portion of the funds will be provided to students to assist in offsetting costs incurred by the global COVID-19 pandemic. Please visit this webpage for information and disclosures about these grants.

How Can I Find Outside Scholarships?

In addition to the scholarships and financial aid assistance that we help facilitate here at College Unbound, there are many other potential scholarship sources that students should consider to help finance their education. Please find below a list of resources and outside scholarship opportunities that might be of interest to you.

We highly recommend that students pay close attention to scholarship requirements and deadlines before applying, and to apply for any outside scholarships you decide on as soon as possible to ensure the best possible chance of receiving the award. Please remember that you will not be guaranteed any of these scholarships simply because you have applied for them.

Note: Since these scholarships exist outside of our jurisdiction, College Unbound cannot officially vouch for any of these scholarships. Please use caution and read through all scholarship opportunities carefully to ensure that they are legitimate.

Do not give your personal information out unless you have thoroughly researched the scholarship and the organization providing the opportunity. A scholarship will never ask for your social security number or a credit card number, do not give these out under any circumstances. Contact the CU Financial Aid Office (401-654-5393) with any questions.


Federal Student Aid - Get Scholarship Help With These Basics and Tips - This list of tips from Federal Student Aid’s official online resources can help with the basics of finding outside scholarships if you don’t know where to begin. 

FastWeb - This extensive, free scholarship search platform connects students to scholarships, financial aid tools, internship opportunities, and much more.

CollegeBoard’s BigFuture Site - This site offers user-friendly search functions for finding scholarships that fit your background. You can filter by personal interests, citizenship status, affiliations, and more.

Career OneStop’s Scholarship Finder Tool - Use this easy-to-navigate scholarship search tool to browse more than 8,000 scholarships, fellowships, grants, and other financial aid award opportunities. Filter by award types, locations, level of study, submission deadlines, and more.

Outside Scholarships

Citizens Scholarship - Apply to this scholarship offered by Citizens Bank by filling out a simple registration form–you will be entered for a chance to win a Grand Prize of $15,000 to use towards school expenses and one of the $2,500 monthly prizes that Citizens offers. In addition, each quarter a student who meets the required criteria for the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Scholarship Prize will be eligible to win a $2,500 quarterly prize for use towards school expenses.

RI Latino Dollars for Scholars - This organization regularly offers scholarship opportunities for Rhode Island college students of Latinx/Hispanic descent. Although opportunities are not always available year-round, continue to check in for updates regularly if you fit the application criteria.