Understanding Financial Aid

Wellesley College awards aid on the basis of demonstrated financial need. 

A family's ability to pay for college is measured through standardized methods of need analysis.  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. 

Cost of Attendance - Family Contribution
= Financial Aid Award

Cost of Attendance

Wellesley's comprehensive fee includes tuition, fees, and room and board charges, which appear on your eBill. In addition, your financial aid award considers expenses for books, supplies, personal expenses, and transportation, none of which appear on your eBill. 

Family Contribution

Parent's Contribution

To calculate your parent's contribution, the College considers your family size, geographic location, 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 properties, and trusts. Generally, Wellesley requires a contribution from both biological parents even if they are no longer together. 

Wellesley then makes standardized allowance for the cost of living, taxes paid, out of pocket medical/dental expenses, and private secondary school tuition for younger children. The College does not examine each family’s actual expenses, however, if a family is under unusual financial stress, we may include additional allowances.

The parent contribution usually increases incrementally in line with yearly increases in income and assets. However, the contribution and financial aid eligibility may change significantly when changes occur.

Examples of changes that impact financial aid eligibility :
  A sibling enrolling in or graduating from college
Unemployment or new employment
Pay cut or large raise/bonus
Significant loss of assets or an inheritance
Student's Contribution Wellesley assumes that a student will contribute to her own education.  All students are expected to contribute at least $1,950 per year towards her costs.
Understanding financial aid awards
See these sample aid awards, which illustrate four different family situations with incomes ranging from $40,000 - $120,000

Sample Aid Awards

Read more about financial aid awards at Wellesley in these brochures: For U.S. students with aid awards

For international students with aid awards 

Financial Aid Award & Statement of Financial Aid

Once we determine whether you are eligible to receive financial aid, we construct a financial aid award. Wellesley meets 100 percent of demonstrated financial need, as defined in our policies. Your financial aid award may include the following three components: (1) grants, (2) student loans, and (3) work study.  See Types of Aid.

The Statement of Financial Aid lists the aid for which you are eligible and indicates requirements that must be met in order to finalize your aid package. Paper copies of this Statement are only sent to newly admitted students.  Returning students may access their Statement online through MyWellesley.

Continued Support

Financial aid will continue for all four years if a student continues to demonstrate financial need. Most students must reapply for aid each year; international students are not required to reapply.

Disbursement of Financial Aid

All financial aid, except for work study, is credited directly to the student account in two equal installments, one at the beginning of each semester. Federal aid may require additional documentation. Work study funds are earned by and paid to the student every two weeks by direct deposit. Outside scholarships are credited to the account upon receipt, generally on a per semester basis.