Notes Concerning Your Tentative Financial Aid Offer Academic Year 2024-25

Congratulations on your admission to the Amherst College Class of 2028! We’re pleased to offer you financial assistance for your first year at Amherst. We understand that the information in your financial aid offer can be a lot to take in. The accompanying document provides valuable information and outlines your eligibility for financial aid for the 2024-25 school year.

Amherst’s financial aid program is nationally recognized and makes Amherst an affordable option for your higher education. The “Notes” that follow provide information on financial aid policies and procedures. Additional details can be found on the Office of Financial Aid website.

Content last updated: December 2023

PDF Version

Notes Concerning Your Early Financial Aid Offer 2024-2025 (A PDF version of the information on this webpage)

Tentative Financial Aid Offer

All aid offers will be tentative until the final Comprehensive Fee for 2024-25 has been set. Offers will be revised with the new cost of attendance. Offers are also tentative without a completed 2024-25 FAFSA. Once the FAFSA is available in late December 2023, complete it as soon as possible and before February 1, 2024.

If you have required financial aid materials that are outstanding, your offer of financial aid is a tentative offer. The status of your financial aid application (including required documents) can be found on the Amherst Financial Aid Portal. Once the office has received and reviewed any missing information, the student will be notified by email that a final financial aid offer has been posted to the Financial Aid Portal.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid

The federal student financial aid cited in your financial aid offer anticipates that you will qualify for such aid. The U.S. The Department of Education officially determines your eligibility for federal financial aid based on the information reported on the FAFSA form. Please complete the FAFSA for 2024-25 once it is available, but by February 1, 2024. FAFSA information will be made available to us if you list Amherst College in the list of schools; the College’s federal school code for the FAFSA is 002115

There are several changes to the federal application process for 2024-25 resulting from FAFSA Simplification. Details on FAFSA Simplification are available on our FAFSA Simplification webpage.

FAFSA Simplification Highlights Include:

  • FAFSA income data will be populated by transferring Federal Tax Information (FTI) from the IRS via the Direct Data Exchange (DDX) to your FAFSA with your and other contributors’ consent.
  • Contributor refers to anyone asked to provide information on a student's FAFSA form, i.e., the student, the student's spouse, a biological or adopted parent, or the parent's spouse (stepparent).
  • FSA ID All students and contributors must create a account to complete the FAFSA form online. If you or your contributor already have an FSA ID, you will use your existing FSA ID. Students and contributors will use their FSA ID account username and password to log in to their accounts. Even if a parent or spouse contributor does not have a Social Security Number, they can still get an FSA ID using their ITIN to fill out their portion of the student's FAFSA form online.
  • Student Aid Index The Student Aid Index (SAI) is replacing the term Expected Family Contribution (EFC) starting in the 2024-25 award year. The SAI is a number used to determine eligibility for federal need-based aid. It is calculated using information provided on the FAFSA form. A student’s SAI can be a negative number as low as -1500.
    • Your federal calculated financial need is: Calculated Need = Cost of Attendance (COA) – Student Aid Index (SAI) – Other Financial Assistance (OFA)
  • Professional Judgment Financial aid professionals have flexibility in adjusting a student's eligibility for financial aid due to special or unusual circumstances.


Students with questions concerning their financial aid offer should contact the Office of Financial Aid. An appeal for reconsideration of an aid offer must be made in writing. The letter (or financial aid appeal form) should address special or unusual circumstances, unusual expenses, changing financial situations, or additional information not already presented in the financial aid application.

Enhancements to Financial Aid

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The following are Enhancements to Amherst’s generous financial aid program to help our highest need students navigate financial hardship or unanticipated expenses during the academic year. To determine eligibility for these enhancements, feel free to be in touch with our office at A member of the Financial Aid team can assist you. 

Medical Grant

The Medical Grant assists students in active medical pain and helps with the costs associated to alleviate that pain. The Medical Grant is only available during the periods of instruction. For Fall 2024, that period is September 3rd through December 20th. In Spring of 2025, the semester begins on January 27th and continues through May 15th.

Access Grant

The Access Grant is distributed to eligible students automatically. The Access Grant represents one of several initiatives to increase equity for students, and helps students who experience unanticipated costs and personal expenses that would pose a hardship to the student. 

The Access Grant is typically awarded to students who are eligible for Amherst College Scholarship in excess of approximately $80,000.

Health Insurance Scholarship

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Amherst College require that all students have health insurance through the College or have comparable medical insurance coverage while at Amherst. Students who are eligible for Amherst College scholarship and who enroll in the College’s health insurance plan may request additional Health Scholarship assistance to cover the cost of the College’s student health insurance.

Taxable Scholarships

If you receive Amherst College scholarship and/or grant assistance that exceeds the total costs of tuition, fees, and books for calendar year 2023, you may have financial aid that is considered taxable income by the IRS. If you file US federal taxes and have tax liability resulting from your taxable financial aid, the college will award additional Amherst College scholarship to cover the tax liability.

Income Documentation

We will notify you by email if your aid application is incomplete. Applicants can check the status of their aid application on the Financial Aid Portal to determine if additional materials are needed. Please submit missing material as soon as possible so that we may confirm our analysis of your family’s resources. Financial Aid Offers cannot be finalized until all required documentation is received.

US citizens and permanent residents who file the CSS PROFILE will receive an email from the College Board detailing the Institutional Documentation Service (IDOC) which Amherst College uses to collect all tax and supplemental application information. Additional Information is available at the College Board’s Institutional Documentation Service (IDOC).

The following financial aid application materials are required:

  • Signed and dated copies of both your parents’ and your own 2022 federal income tax returns (all pages)
  • Copies of income statements for 2022 (e.g., W-2 forms)
  • If your parents hold an ownership interest in a business corporation, a copy of the corporate tax return
  • If your parents have income from a partnership, a copy of the 2022 partnership return and/or a copy of your parents’ Schedule K-1

A non-filing statement certification is required If no income tax return will be filed by you or your parent(s).

Canadian and other international applicants Upload documentation of your family’s 2022 income from all sources to the Amherst College Financial Aid Portal.

Copies of all tax forms and other materials submitted must be signed and dated.

Calculation of Financial Need

All financial aid at Amherst College is based solely on calculated financial need.

Calculated Need is demonstrated if your estimated family resources are less than your student expense budget for the academic year.

Financial need is re-evaluated annually based on financial aid application forms and relevant year income tax forms.

Student Cost of Attendance

The student expense budget/cost of attendance used to calculate your financial need includes expenses billed by the college (direct expenses set annually in March) including the Comprehensive Fee (tuition, fees, housing and meals) and expenses incurred by most college students (indirect expenses) such as personal expenses, transportation, books, course materials, supplies and equipment.

The calculated expected family contribution will determine what portion of the total (direct and indirect) costs will be the responsibility of the family or will be paid by financial aid funds. Personal expenses are usually paid from student employment earnings during the school year.

Any changes in fees or allowances will be reflected in a final financial aid offer.

Family Resources

Your Financial Aid Offer shows our calculation of family resources available to you. This estimate is based on the application information you submitted to Amherst College; the estimated family contribution was calculated according to the College’s need analysis policies and procedures.

Many factors are considered in calculating the family contribution. Here are some that play a significant role:

  • Income. If your parents’ income increases, the expected contribution is likely to increase; if it decreases, the contribution is likely to decrease. Need formulas are adjusted each year for inflation.
  • Allowances against income. Need formulas consider various allowances against income. Some are basic—federal, state, and local income taxes; social security taxes; basic family living costs. Others are related to particular circumstances—elementary or secondary schooling costs for student siblings, medical and dental expenses, funeral expenses, tax payment agreements, support of extended family, etc. Some of these expenses recur from year to year; some are non-recurring. If we made extra allowances in one year, they may not be relevant to a subsequent year.
  • Assets. Certain family assets—home equity, other real estate equity, bank accounts, investments, businesses, and farms—are considered in calculating a parents’ contribution. The value or indebtedness of assets may change from one year to another, especially if assets are being expended to pay the parents’ contribution. The values may also change because of economic conditions.
  • Family size. As children grow older and move away from home, the number of persons in the family may decrease. A change in family size will have some effect on the parents’ contribution.
  • Number of children in college. A major factor in the need formula is the number of children in college. In general, a calculated parents’ contribution takes into account the number of children in college. For example, if the number in college decreases from two to one, the parents’ contribution will increase because it is no longer divided between two children. Conversely, if the number in college increases from one to two, the parents’ contribution for each child will decrease to approximately 60 percent of the total parent contribution. The division is not equal if the costs of the colleges are significantly different.

Financial Aid Offer

The College helps to meet your financial need with aid outlined on the Financial Aid Offer page of the Financial Aid Portal. Financial aid packages usually include self-help (student employment) and gift aid (scholarship and grant). The work component of the offer provides the opportunity to work to pay for a part of your educational expenses. Gift aid does not require work or repayment; it goes to reduce direct charges billed to a student’s account.

The amount of financial aid shown on the Financial Aid Offer page will increase for actual expenses in 2024-25 once they are known. Any additional resulting need is met by an increased offer of gift aid.


Academic Year Employment The expectation is that a student will be able to earn about $1,800 from academic year employment. This employment opportunity represents about four to five hours a week of work on campus. Additional details are on our student employment webpage.

No Student Loan Student loans are not included in initial financial aid offers. In some circumstances, however, a student may choose to borrow a student loan. (See appendix).

If you fall short of the student income contribution and/or want to reduce your academic year earnings, you should carefully consider your decision to borrow a student loan.

Gift Aid

Federal Pell Grant If your Financial Aid package shows an amount for a Pell Grant, we estimate that you are eligible for this need-based federal grant pro-gram. It is your responsibility to apply for a Federal Pell Grant by filing the “Free Application for Federal Student Aid” (FAFSA).

State Scholarship or Grant If your Financial Aid package shows an amount for a state scholarship or grant, we have estimated that you are eligible for assistance from your state’s program. If you are not financially eligible for a state grant, the amount will be replaced by grant aid from the College. It is your responsibility to apply for a state scholarship or grant if you are a resident of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, or Vermont. You should complete and file the appropriate application forms before the program’s published deadline. In most of these states the FAFSA is used to apply for state scholarships or grants, but some states have additional application requirements.

Outside Scholarships and Employer’s Benefits We remind you that you must notify the Office of Financial Aid if you receive any outside assistance, regardless of the amount, from organizations outside of the College. The College allows outside scholarships and/or employer’s benefits to replace the work portion of the financial aid offer. If outside scholarships completely replace work aid, any remainder will reduce Amherst College scholarship aid. Outside scholarships and employer benefits cannot be used to replace your family contribution; it must be taken into account in the financial aid offer.

Scholarships and Grants Administered by Amherst If you have remaining financial need after subtracting self-help, Pell and state grants, and “outside” scholarships, that need will be met with scholarships and grants administered by the College such as the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) and Amherst College Scholarship.

Additional Questions

If you have any questions concerning your financial planning for Amherst, please write:

Office of Financial Aid   
B-5 Converse Hall   
Amherst College   
P.O. Box 5000   
Amherst, Massachusetts   

Or email at

Appendix: Student Loans

Although the College does not initially package student loans in financial aid offers, there may be circumstances in which a student may request a loan—to replace a shortfall in savings from summer employment, to reduce or replace term-time employment, or to purchase a personal computer. Standard repayment on Federal and College loans begins after the grace period and extends over ten years.

Federal and institutional loans available to Amherst students include:

Federal Direct Stafford Loan. There are both subsidized and unsubsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loans. This federal program allows students to borrow as much as $3,500 an academic year as a first-year student, $4,500 as a sophomore, and $5,500 a year for subsequent undergraduate study. These loans may be subsidized to the extent that a student has financial need. Students may borrow an additional $2,000 a year in unsubsidized Stafford Loans. The aggregate amount that may be borrowed as an undergraduate is $31,000, of which no more than $23,000 can be subsidized. The interest rate on subsidized and unsubsidized loans is set annually before June 30th and is fixed for the life of the loan. The federal government pays the interest on subsidized loans while a student is enrolled at least half-time. The subsidized loan program is need-based - the amount that you can borrow is limited to the difference between your student expense budget and the sum of your resources, benefits, and any other financial aid you receive. Unsubsidized loans may be used to replace part of the expected family contribution. There is a 1.057 percent federal origination fee on all Stafford Loans for 2023-2024.

Amherst College Loan. The College provides loans from its own funds for international students and others who do not qualify for federal loan programs. The fixed interest rate is 5 percent on subsidized Amherst College Loans. There is no repayment required and no interest charged while you are enrolled at least half-time and for six months after graduation or termination of studies.

Partner Institution - College Cost Transparency Initiative

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Amherst College is committed to using the Principles & Standards of the College Cost Transparency Initiative in its student financial aid offer.