Demonstrated Need & Award Calculation

Financial aid meets college costs that families cannot.

A family's ability to pay for college is measured through standardized methods of need analysis. Both income and assets contribute to a family's financial strength; both are considered when measuring ability to pay. While a need analysis can determine a family's ability to contribute, it cannot determine how a family finances its contribution. Generally, families use a combination of current income, savings and investments, payment plans, and parent loans to meet their contribututions.

Wellesley uses both Federal Methodology and Institutional Methodology in the need assessment. Federal Methodology calculations are made from the information submitted on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and determine a family's eligibility for federal financial aid. Institutional Methodology takes into consideration the additional information submitted on the Profile and other documentation provided.

The amount of financial aid that you are eligible to receive is equal to the difference between the cost of a Wellesley education and the calculated amount that your family can contribute. 

Demonstrated Financial Need (to Be Met with Financial Aid) = Cost of Attendance - Family Contribution

Student's Contribution

All students are expected to contribute to their educational costs using summer employment savings (see chart below). The summer earnings expectation for returning students is higher, reflecting greater skills and, therefore, higher capacity to earn as students progress through Wellesley. In addition, a portion of student assets is included in the total student's contribution. Occasionally, a student chooses to take a summer internship or study abroad with a summer program sponsored by Wellesley. Even if the internship is unpaid, we cannot replace the unearned expected student income contribution with grant funds.

Class Contribution
First-Years $1,950
Sophomores $1,950
Juniors $1,950
Seniors $1,950


Parental Contribution

To calculate your parents’ contribution, the College considers your family’s size, overall income, and number of children in college. We also take into account your family’s assets, which include investments, home equity, business value, rental property, and trusts. Generally, Wellesley requires a contribution from both biological parents even if they are no longer together. 

Wellesley then makes a general allowance for the cost of living based on family size and geographic variances, along with specific allowances for taxes paid. The College does not examine each family’s actual expenses. If a family is under unusual financial stress, we may make other adjustments to the formula. All of this information remains confidential.

The parent contribution usually increases incrementally in line with yearly increases in income and assets. It can also fall and rise significantly. Therefore, aid can increase and decrease significantly. The following chart shows possible reasons for change.

Reasons for Changes in Parent Contribution
Adding/dropping sibling in college
Unemployment/new employment
No raise/large raise or bonus
New assets from inheritances received while a student is in college


Demonstrated Need

Once we determine whether you are eligible to receive financial aid, we construct a financial aid package. Wellesley meets 100 percent of demonstrated financial need, as defined in our policies. Your financial aid package may include three components: grants (also known as scholarships), student loans, and work study.

Continued Support

Financial aid will continue for all four years if a student continues to demonstrate financial need. Students must reapply for aid each year. Changes in a family's size, number of children in college, or income will affect eligibility for aid. As a result, the amount of a student's aid award may vary from year to year.

Cost of Attendance

Wellesley's comprehensive fee includes tuition, fees, and the room and board charges. In addition, you will have to pay for books, supplies, and personal expenses. If you live some distance from Wellesley, you also should budget for transportation to and from the College at the beginning and end of the year, plus vacation breaks.

Direct Costs (appear on bill) Fall 2014 Spring 2015 Total
Tuition $22,401 $22,401 $44,802
Room $3,543 $3,543 $7,086
Meal Plan $3,437 $3,437 $6,874
Fees $138 $138 $276
Subtotal $29,519 $29,519 $59,038

Estimated Costs (not on bill) Fall 2014 Spring 2015 Total
Books & personal expenses 1,025 1,025 2,050
Travel 0-1,000 0-1,000 0-2,000
Total Cost $27,107-



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Top 10

Wellesley is ranked among the top 10 undergraduate institutions in the country for students graduating with the least amount of debt.