Wellesley College offers aid on the basis of calculated 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 offer

Cost of attendance

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

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 offers

Sample aid offers:

See these sample aid offers, which illustrate three different family situations with incomes ranging from $40,000 to $100,000.

Understanding aid offers:

Read more about financial aid offers at Wellesley in these brochures:

For U.S. students with aid offers

For international students with aid offers

Financial aid offer & statement of financial aid

Once we determine whether you are eligible to receive financial aid, we construct a financial aid offer. Wellesley meets 100 percent of calculated financial need, as defined in our policies. Your financial aid offer 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 calculated 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.

Special and Unusual circumstances

Special Circumstances

Special circumstances can impact a student’s financial aid situation, including certain living arrangements or family situations that may change during your time at Wellesley College. Special circumstances may result in the need to clarify your situation with Student Financial Services to potentially have adjustments made. Explore the links below for further assistance or specifics that might apply to you. Appeals are reviewed on a regular basis, and students can expect to hear from our office within 2-3 weeks upon receipt of a complete Request for Review.

Appealing your financial aid decision
You have the opportunity to submit a Request for Review after your financial aid decision has been determined if you have special circumstances.

Special Circumstances
Special circumstances may include, but are not limited to:

  • Change in employment status
  • One-time only income distribution
  • Medical, dental, or nursing home expenses paid that are not covered by insurance
  • Parent educational loan expenses
  • Severe disability of the student or other member of the student’s household

Unusual Circumstances

The FAFSA Simplification Act distinguishes between different categories of professional judgment by amending section 479A of the Higher Education Act (HEA). You are a dependent student if you are under the age of 24 and answered “No” to the dependency questions on the FAFSA (numbers 42-54). This definition means your parents must provide their financial information on the FAFSA and CSS Profile.

However, Wellesley recognizes that you may face challenging family circumstances and need to request reconsideration of your dependency status. Students who are unable to complete the FAFSA with parental information can request a dependency override for financial aid purposes by contacting Student Financial Services.

Student Financial Services reviews each request for a dependency override on a case-by-case basis. Requests will be reviewed within 2-3 weeks, and you will be notified by email to your Wellesley address with the outcome.

The following are examples of unusual circumstances that may be considered for a dependency override:

  • Human Trafficking, as defined in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000
  • Legally granted refugee or asylum status
  • An abusive family environment
  • Incarceration or institutionalization of both parents
  • Parents cannot be located

We are unable to take into consideration the following reasons for a dependency override:

  • Parents refuse to contribute to the student's education
  • Parents are unwilling to provide information on the FAFSA, Profile or verification
  • Parent unwillingness to provide income documentation
  • Parents do not claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes
  • Student demonstrates total self-sufficiency

Student Financial Services is only able to determine a student's dependency status for the purpose of reviewing your financial aid eligibility.

Required Documentation

If you believe you have unusual circumstances please make an appointment with your counselor. Requests for a dependency override must be in writing, and provide details of your unusual circumstances focusing on the relationship between you and your parents. Requests must include detailed letters or other supporting documentation from two third parties familiar with your situation outlining your unusual circumstances. Examples may include: school counselors, clergy, or family physicians. Other documentation that may support an appeal for a dependency override may include court orders, restraining orders or other legal judgments. The Dependency Override and supporting documentation may be submitted in person, mailed, or faxed to Student Financial Services Additional information may be requested.

Financial aid facts

  • 100% Wellesley will meet 100% of calculated need for all admitted students.

  • 60% Nearly 60% of our students receive aid.

  • $67,469 Students with calculated need receive an average annual scholarship aid offer—money that does not need to be repaid—of more than $67,469.

  • $83m We maintain a financial aid budget of over $83 million. That money is dedicated exclusively to supporting students who have calculated financial need.