Federal and State Programs

All students who seek assistance from the College are expected to apply for all federal and state scholarship and grant programs for which they may be eligible. These programs include:

  • Federal Pell Grants: This federal program makes direct grants to students with financial need as determined according to federal formula. The range of Federal Pell Grants in any year depends on the appropriations made by Congress for the program.
  • State Scholarships or Grants: If you are a resident of Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, or Vermont, and depending on interstate reciprocity agreements, a scholarship or grant provided by your state government may be used at Amherst College.  It is the College's policy not to use gift aid to replace a Federal Pell Grant or a state scholarship or grant that is lost because of failure to submit a timely application.  State aid lost through negligence can be made up through additional borrowing or employment.  Federal regulations preclude a Federal Pell Grant's being replaced by any other financial aid if federal funds are included in the student's aid package.

Funds Administered by Amherst

If you have remaining financial need after the subtraction of the work opportunity, Federal Pell and state grants, and "outside" scholarships, it will be met to the extent possible with scholarships and grants administered by the College. These include:

  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants: A federal program administered by the College. The program provides grants of as much as $4,000 a year to students with great financial need.
  • Amherst College Scholarships: Aid drawn from the College's scholarship endowment income, annual gifts for financial aid purposes, and current operating funds.

"Outside" Scholarships and Employer Benefits

If you receive any assistance from an organization outside of the College, this aid must be taken into consideration in calculating your financial aid award.  Therefore, you are required to report any such aid, regardless of amount, in writing to the Office of Financial Aid.

Amherst allows outside scholarships and employer benefits to replace self-help (work), rather than scholarship, in a financial aid award. Outside scholarships, grants, or employer benefits in excess of self-help reduce scholarship aid that would otherwise be provided by Amherst. 

We advise students about deferring outside scholarship funds in excess of the $1,800 work opportunity to future years. Each year, the work portion of an aid offer can be replaced with an outside scholarship. Another option is to request the permission to use the excess outside scholarship funds to purchase a personal computer. Both options require written permission from the scholarship sponsor.

An outside scholarship or tuition benefit cannot be used to replace a part of your family's contribution.

Alumni Scholarships

Several Amherst Alumni Associations provide special scholarships to students from their regions. This aid forms a special category of "outside" scholarships. The alumni associations choose the recipients in consultation with the Office of Financial Aid. No separate application is required. Scholarships are currently awarded by the Amherst Alumni Associations of Chicago, Connecticut, New York City, Northern California, Northern Ohio, St. Louis, Southern California, and Washington, D.C.

529 Plans

Proceeds from College Savings or Prepaid Tuition Plans (established under Section 529 of the Internal Review Code) may be reflected in your Financial Aid Memorandum as resources.  The full cash value of these funds is usually included in the calculation of your family contribution, and the proceeds to be used in the academic year will appear as an amount in excess of financial need.  In the instance of funds established by someone other than a student's parent, however, the amount of 529 Plan proceeds to be used in the academic year is treated like an outside scholarship.

Tags:  financial aid  gift aid