Frequently Asked Questions, Financial Aid | Earlham College

Frequently Asked Questions

How many students at Earlham receive financial assistance?

In a typical academic year, 85-90% of Earlham's student body receives some form of financial aid.

What is the difference between merit-based aid and need-based aid?

Merit scholarships are awarded based on ability or academic performance. Earlham's Presidential Scholarship is one example of this type of award. Recipients are selected by the Admissions staff, based on your credentials reported in the admissions application file. Need-based aid is financial assistance based on a family's financial situation. Recipients are awarded funds through the Financial Aid Office, based on the information from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

How is "financial need" determined?

After you complete the FAFSA, the data is reported to the federal processor. Earlham then receives this information via a Student Aid Report or SAR. This SAR includes the "expected family contribution" or EFC. The difference between the EFC and the cost to attend Earlham is considered a family's financial need. For example, if Earlham's costs were $40,000, and a family's EFC was $6,000, that family's financial need is the difference, or $34,000. Earlham works to meet that need through a combination of federal, state and institutional resources. This may include grants and scholarships, work and student and parent loans.

Will my package change after the first year?

You must apply for need-based aid each year. Assuming that your financial situation stays relatively the same and you maintain satisfactory academic progress towards your degree, your aid eligibility should stay approximately the same. Four basic areas directly affect a student's aid eligibility: number in the family, number in college, income and assets. Significant changes in any one of these areas could affect your aid from year to year.

How do local and community scholarships affect an aid package?

If Earlham was not able to meet your family's need through your aid package, then the outside scholarship amount will simply be added to the Earlham package. If Earlham was able to meet your need, then we are required by governmental and institutional policies to reduce various components of the package in order to incorporate funds you receive from local and community scholarships. In this situation, we would reduce loans and employment first. Need-based grant aid would be reduced only when loans and work are fully eliminated. Different policies apply to Bonner Scholars and Quaker Fellows.

Can I get financial aid for studying off-campus?

Earlham students may receive merit or need-based Earlham-funded aid for one Earlham off-campus program or one approved Great Lakes College Association off-campus program (GLCA). As part of the off-campus study application process, students meet with the Director of Financial Aid. In these meetings, they receive information about how financial aid affects off-campus costs and about the loans available to offset transportation expenses.

Students who choose to study off-campus outside of the programs offered through Earlham or the GLCA must apply for financial aid at the institution offering that program.

Is there financial aid for international students?

The Admissions Office selects the recipients of the International Student Scholarships and work awards. For further information and application materials, international students should contact the Admissions Office.

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