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Frequently Asked Questions
about Financial Aid for International Students
Is Amherst "need-blind"?
Amherst College is "need-blind" in evaluating international students. In considering you for admission, Amherst will not take into consideration whether or not you have applied for financial aid.
Last year Amherst received 1,873 admission applications from international students. Of these, 1,498 also applied for financial aid. 116 applicants were admitted, and 85 were admitted with a financial aid award; 34 of these students enrolled at Amherst.
How can I afford an Amherst education?
If admitted, you will receive financial aid equal to your financial need through a combination of scholarships and a work opportunity. Your demonstrated need is met in full; there is no "gap" (unmet need) in our aid awards.
How are my full demonstrated need and my "family contribution" determined?
Amherst uses a "need analysis" formula to evaluate the information you submit and determine what you and your family can afford to pay. This amount is called your "family contribution." It consists of contributions from your parents' income and assets as well as your own income - usually from summer work - and assets (if any). Your family contribution subtracted from our "cost of attendance" equals your demonstrated financial need.
In determining the family contribution, Amherst considers your and your family's income, taxes, living costs, assets, debts, and in certain situations, personal or financial circumstances that may affect your ability to pay for college. The size of your family and the number of children in college are major factors as well. In the case of divorced or separated parents, we expect each parent to submit financial information.
How is my "financial aid package" divided among scholarship and work?
Amherst "financial aid packages" usually include scholarship and work. The first $2,000 of need is met with a work opportunity. Amherst College has replaced all initially packaged, need-based student loans with grant assistance. Students may still borrow student loans to purchase a computer, to replace a summer savings expectation sahortfall, or to replace work. Need-based student loans are interest-free while you are in school and low-interest during repayment after graduation. Any remaining need is met with scholarship - aid that does not have to be repaid.
What does Amherst cost?
When we calculate an aid award we use a comprehensive budget that considers both your direct charges and your out-of-pocket expenses.
Student Expense Budget 2015-2016
|Comprehensive Fee (tuition, room, and board)||$ 62,940|
|Other Student Fees||$ 832|
|Health Insurance* (waivable)||$ 1,673|
|Books and Supplies (estimated)||$ 1,000|
|Personal Expenses (estimated)||$ 1,800|
|College recess expenses (estimated)||$ 800|
|Transportation Costs||$ 50-2,500|
|Total Cost of Attendance||$ 69,095 - 71,545|
The actual cost of educating a student at Amherst is more than $89,000 a year. However, Amherst's income from endowment and gifts helps subsidize that amount significantly, even for students who do not receive financial aid.
Are "merit-based" scholarships offered?
No, we offer no "merit-based" scholarships of any kind. Amherst has been committed to a strictly need-based financial aid program from the college's beginnings early in the 19th century. Need is the only criterion for receiving financial aid from Amherst.
How are outside scholarships handled?
Amherst allows outside scholarships to replace self-help (work), before scholarship aid, in a financial aid award. Outside scholarships in excess of self-help reduce scholarship aid that would otherwise be provided by Amherst. Outside scholarships can not replace the expected family contribution.
Is there assistance for parents?
Yes, a monthly payment plan is available to help parents spread out payments over a 10-month period.
Is financial aid assured in the future?
Each year students must re-apply for financial aid. Changes in the cost of attendance as well as changes in your and your family's financial situation, family size and number of children in college can affect your need and, therefore, your eligibility for aid. There may also be small changes in the amount included in your aid award for loan and work. Even so, Amherst will always meet your full demonstrated need — whether that figure increases or decreases.
As a "Regular Decision" applicant, when will I receive my financial aid package?
If you submit your financial aid application materials on time, you'll receive a financial aid notification within a day of your admission notification in early April.
As an "Early Decision" applicant, when will I receive my financial aid package?
If you submit your financial aid application materials on time, you'll receive a "preliminary" financial aid award immediately after you receive a letter of admission. Your financial aid award will be confirmed later, after the cost of attendance for the coming year is set and we have reviewed your and your parents' tax returns or other income documentation. The family contribution we use to calculate your preliminary award may be revised once your final income figures for 2013 are known. It is important that you provide information that is as accurate as possible when applying for financial aid as an Early Decision candidate.
Is financial aid available for Canadians?
Yes, we treat Canadian citizens and permanent residents just like U.S. students in awarding aid. Canadians are considered for admission on a need-blind basis and their demonstrated need is met in full.
Canadians should submit the same financial aid materials as U.S. applicants, with the exception of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). They should make certain that financial figures in all forms submitted (except Canadian tax and wage documents) are reported in U.S. dollars. Canadians should submit tax returns directly to the Office of Financial Aid and not to IDOC.
Is financial aid available for transfers?
Yes. We treat international transfer applicants identically to international first-year applicants.
May I study abroad with financial aid?
Yes, your financial aid may be used for study abroad programs, as well as Twelve College Exchange or other domestic off-campus study programs. If the cost of attendance at the other program is greater than at Amherst, you will be offered additional scholarship assistance to make up the difference. If the cost of attendance is less, your financial aid award will be adjusted accordingly.
May I have an admission application fee waiver?
Application fee waivers are intended for students from low-income families for whom application fees would pose a substantial financial burden. If you believe that your financial circumstances might qualify you for an application fee waiver, you should review the information at the “Fee Waiver” section of the Common Application “Profile,” where the eligibility criteria for a College Board fee waiver are listed. If you indicate that you satisfy one of those criteria, you will become automatically eligible for an on-line fee waiver for each school to which you apply using the Common Application. The Common Application will send an e-mail notification to your secondary school official, who will be required to submit a form confirming that you meet the eligibility criteria for a fee waiver.
What forms do I need, where do I get them, and when are they due?
We require you to submit the CSS PROFILE for 2015-2016. This form, published by the College Scholarship Service of the College Board, collects personal and financial information that helps us award Amherst funds. You may obtain this form from the above link. Amherst College code for the PROFILE form is 3003
You must also submit copies of your and your parents' most recent income tax return(s) and/or other documentation of income. All documentation must be translated into English.
Application Due Dates
Where can I get more detailed information?
Office of Financial Aid
B-5 Converse Hall
P.O. Box 5000
Amherst, MA 01002-5000
This page was last updated March 23, 2015.