All financial aid at Amherst is awarded on the basis of calculated financial need. Financial need is determined from information that you and your parents supply to the College. The College follows the need analysis procedures of the College Scholarship Service (CSS) of the College Board, as amended by College policy, to estimate the amount that you and your family may reasonably be expected to contribute toward your student expense budget/cost of attendance.
Need analysis procedures are complex, and there is no simple rule of thumb to estimate your financial need. If you file a CSS Profile as a part of applying for aid at Amherst, the College will receive an initial calculation of your family's contribution toward college costs. We will review this calculation and may adjust the CSS analysis in accordance with College policy and additional information that you supply.
To determine eligibility for federal financial aid, the College follows the procedures specified in the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended. Within the resources of the College, the amount of financial aid that you will be offered is equal to the difference between your family contribution and your student expense budget. We have a financial aid calculator and a college cost estimator that can help you estimate how much your family contribution may be, but remember that estimates are only as good as the data on which they are based.
Starting in 2024-25, if you file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you will receive a FAFSA Submission Summary (FSS) that includes a calculation of your federal Student Aid Index (SAI). This figure is a guide to your eligibility for federal student financial aid. Verification of the information that you submitted on the FAFSA may be required.
The College expects that your parents will assist to the greatest extent their income and assets will permit and that you will share in the cost of your education through working and saving. The College encourages you to seek aid from community, regional, and national organizations. All eligible students are expected to apply for a Federal Pell Grant by completing the FAFSA. Similarly, students are expected to apply for state scholarships or grants that may be used towards college costs at Amherst.
A part of your family's contribution toward your student expense budget is your responsibility. The College expects you to contribute from your income (including earnings from summer employment), your past savings, and any other resources that are available to you. The expected amount of student income contribution is adjusted from year to year according to prevailing wage rates. In addition, 25 percent of your past savings and other assets is expected to be available to help defray your expenses.
Except in unusual situations, the College will not award financial aid to you without taking into consideration your parents' financial circumstances. In the case of divorced or separated parents, each biological parent is expected to provide financial information.
If you will receive benefits or scholarships from a government agency, such as the Veterans Administration, or from other outside organizations, these must be reported to the Office of Financial Aid and must be included in your resources.
In summary, your financial need will be calculated by subtracting your total resources from your student budget.
Student Expense Budget
- Contribution from your parents
- Contribution from your income (typically from summer earnings)
- Contribution from past savings and other assets
- Contribution from governmental agencies and other sources
= Calculated Financial Need