Frequently Asked Questions
for U.S. and Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents

Is Amherst "need-blind"?

Yes, our admission policy is "need-blind."  This means that our admission decision is based solely on your achievements, talents and promise.  Your and your family's financial situation is not considered - it has no bearing on whether we offer you admission.

Financial Need

Financial Aid Award

Once your financial need is determined, a financial aid award that is equal to your need will be offered.  Notices of financial aid awards will be sent at the same time as admission letters are mailed to first-year and transfer applicants.  The award is sometimes called an aid "package" because it may include both self-help (employment) and gift aid (scholarships and grants).

Canadian and International Students

Canadian Students

Students from Canada are eligible for all financial assistance provided from Amherst College funds.  Canadian students may be referred to their provincial student loan programs in fulfilling the self-help component of a financial aid award.  Application instructions are found in Applying for Aid.  All financial entries in the Financial Aid PROFILE form or other documents (except tax returns) submitted to the College shoul

Applying for Financial Aid

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the ONLY form used to determine eligibility for the approximate $5.5 million federal dollars administered each year by Amherst College.  The CSS PROFILE form is used to determine eligibility for all Institutional sources of assistance, which total more than $46 million each year. 

Aid for Parents

There are several programs that can assist your parents in meeting their obligation for your college costs. Here is a summary of a number of parent loans and family financing alternatives.

Monthly Payment Plan

This plan is sponsored by the College and administered by Tuition Management Systems (TMS). Through the plan, a student's annual charges may be paid in ten installments beginning in June before the start of the academic year. Those starting the plan after June 1 must include back payments with the application.

There is a $65 non-refundable application fee; there is no finance or interest charge.

Parent Loans

There are many loan programs that can assist your parents in meeting their obligation for your college costs.

Because Amherst College participates in the Federal Direct Loan Program, PLUS Loans are borrowed directly from the U.S. Department of Education through the College.  Your parents may borrow a parent alternative loan through any program they choose.

Tips for Alternative Student Loans

Suggestions when Borrowing an Alternative Loan

Alternative Student Loans

Many different lenders are offering alternative loans, and one should consider applying for a private, alternative educational loan only after exhausting all other possible sources of funds. Each loan is different, so you should become familiar with the criteria, benefits, fees, and the margins above the index. If possible, the student should apply with a parent as a co-borrower; the co-borrower may reduce applicable fees and will lower your interest rate.