Wellesley College Financial Aid Policies
Billed Expenses. See Direct Costs
EBill See Billing and Payment Policies
FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)
Housing/Dining Charges. See Room and Board
Payment. See Billing and Payments
Satisfactory Academic Progress. See Academic Requirements
Unbilled Expenses. See Indirect Costs
All financial aid offers are made for one year only. You must reapply each year and must be making satisfactory academic progress toward a degree. Students not progressing satisfactorily are reviewed for any special or extenuating circumstances.
The student's enrollment period for which financial assistance/aid is offered. The federal definition of academic year is July 1 through June 30.
Students with questions concerning their financial aid offers should contact Student Financial Services. An appeal for reconsideration of an offer must be made in writing to Student Financial Services. A form is available on the SFS forms page and should be submitted with a letter addressing changes in circumstances and details concerning unusual expenses, special situations, or additional information not already presented in the financial aid application.
A Financial Aid Appeals Committee meets weekly to discuss requests for reconsideration. Appeals are processed on a first come, first served basis and requests regarding returning student offers will be considered only after initial offers are completed for all returning students.
A third party user is a person/party with whom you wish to share access to your Wellesley student financials account. Students may set up other individuals (such as a parent, guardian, employer, scholarship agency, or other third party) as third party users to view up-to-the-minute account activity; make and confirm payments; and enroll in a monthly payment plan. Any third party user you establish will receive an email notification with instructions to set up their Workday and Nelnet accounts. If your parent or guardian typically pays your bill, Student Financial Services encourages you to establish that person as a third party user.
Workday is Wellesley's official system of record for student account activity. The first Fall billing notification will be sent in early July and payment arrangements must be made by the published due date. The first Spring billing notification will be sent in early December and payment arrangements must be made by the published due date.
Charges incurred after the payment deadline, including those as a result of add/drop, music department charges, and parking and library fines, are due immediately and subject to late payment fees. Monthly billing notification are provided within the first week of each month if the account reflects a balance due (before pending aid and payments). If a parent (or any other party) is responsible for paying tuition, the student must set them up in Workday as a registered third party user. Monthly billing notifications will not be sent to anyone other than the student unless a third party user has been set up correctly (see these instructions to add a third party user).
Billed Expenses: See Direct Costs.
Student Financial Services works individually with families to extend help when circumstances unexpectedly change their ability to pay. If you receive financial aid, see Appeals for more information. If you do not currently receive financial aid, please contact our office to discuss your options.
Student Financial Services works to keep parents up to date, but we encourage students to keep their parents informed by communicating regularly with them regarding the status of their financial aid and student account. Because monthly billing notifications are only sent to the student, we highly encourage students to authorize any financially responsible third party (including parents) as a third party user in Workday. Once a third party user account is activated, that person will receive billing notifications from SFS.
The cost of attendance (also known as your financial aid budget) is used to calculate your financial aid offer. The Cost of Attendance includes both direct costs (tuition, student activity fees, on campus room and board) and indirect costs (books, personal allowances, and transportation). For more information about these costs, please see Tuition & Cost.
This financial aid application form is required of all financial aid applicants and provides us with a more complete picture of your family’s ability to contribute to college cost than the federal application (FAFSA). The PROFILE must be completed online at profileonline.collegeboard.com (sentenced was moved) and it is recommended reviewing what data will be needed to file the PROFILE before beginning the application. If your birth parents are separated or were never married, you will also need to complete a Noncustodial CSS PROFILE. You should file the CSS PROFILE (and Non-Custodial PROFILE, if applicable) one to two weeks before the priority filing date to allow processing time. Wellesley’s CSS code is 3957.
Demonstrated financial need is shown if your estimated resources are less than your cost of attendance for the academic year. Wellesley meets 100% of all students’ demonstrated need through financial aid offer. These offers often include grant aid, student loans, and work-study.
Charges that are billed by Wellesley. This includes tuition, student activity fees, and room and board. See Tuition & Cost. Direct Costs are split evenly between two bills—one for each academic semester. Student health insurance is a direct cost that is billed only in the Fall semester (unless a student waives her coverage). Also called Billed Expenses.
A federal program through which the U.S. Department of Education offers four types of student loans: subsidized Federal Stafford Loans, unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans, Federal Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS), and Federal Consolidation Loans.
Wellesley is committed to providing aid for the duration of your education, based on your annual need. For most students, this means you must reapply for aid each year.
The amount a family can reasonably be expected to pay for a student's education. The expected family contribution (or EFC) is comprised of both a parent and student contribution. This figure is calculated using the information supplied on the CSS PROFILE, FAFSA, and other application materials.
This standard form is required for all financial aid applicants who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Most of the required information can be found on your and your parents’ most recent federal tax returns. Students must complete the FAFSA each year to apply for federal, state, and campus-based aid programs. Wellesley’s FAFSA code is 002224.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974, commonly known as the "Buckley Amendment," helps protect the privacy of student education records. Among other provisions, FERPA protects the privacy of educational records, including every student's account at Wellesley College. Complete information on FERPA can be found on the United States Department of Education website. If you are interested in placing limitations on the release of information or wish to update or change existing restrictions, please visit our forms page to download a FERPA form or contact Student Financial Services.
Grants and Scholarships are considered ‘gift aid’ and, unlike loans, do not need to be repaid. Wellesley only offers or participates in need-based grant programs (typically ‘scholarship’ refers to gift aid that is based on merit and are not offered by Wellesley). The amount of your grant assistance is based on a thorough review of your financial aid application materials, such as the federal application (FAFSA) and the CSS PROFILE.
Massachusetts law requires that all students registered at least three-quarter time be covered by an approved health insurance plan. To ensure compliance with this law, Wellesley College students are automatically enrolled in and billed for the Student Health Insurance Plan. If you have coverage through your family, you may be eligible to waive the insurance offered by Wellesley. Each year, enrollment dates, costs, and covered services are subject to change. For more information about the insurance plan (or how to waive it) please see Student Health Insurance.
Housing/Dining Charges: see Room and Board
These are Wellesley’s estimates for additional costs beyond tuition, fees, and room and board. These costs often include books, supplies, and personal expenses such as laundry, toiletries, and clothes. Travel expenses to and from Wellesley are considered Indirect Costs and vary depending on a student’s home address. Also called Unbilled Expenses.
Unpaid accounts are subject to monthly late fees. Charges incurred after the payment deadline, including those as a result of add/drop, Music Department charges, and parking and library fines, are due by the statement due date and subject to late payment fees. To ensure timely payment and avoid late fees, students should be sure to set up third party user access via Workday for any family member or third party making payments (. It’s important to schedule your payments to occur no later than your due date.
Students are strongly encouraged to contact SFS if they are considering a leave of absence or withdrawing from the College to discuss the financial ramifications. A leave of absence may be approved for students who are taking time off from the College for a variety of reasons. The Class Deans office provides information about the different types of leaves. In many cases, leaves are approved before the start of a semester. However, if a student leaves after the first day of classes, her billed costs and financial aid are subject to adjustment. Please see Withdrawals, Leaves, and Tuition Refunds below for more information.
Wellesley is committed to providing an affordable education for our students. Some financial aid offers include student loans and some do not. Most students are eligible to borrow student loans, even if their initial financial aid offer does not include a loan. For more information about loan options and our loan policy, please visit our Financing and Loan Options webpage.
Wellesley meets 100 percent of each student's demonstrated financial need. Nearly 60 percent of Wellesley students receive scholarship grant aid offers, and the average annual grant aid offer-money that does not have to be repaid- is nearly $39,000.
Addressing families’ concerns about debt is at the heart of Wellesley’s financial aid policy. We are committed to making an education affordable by keeping student loan levels low. Debt should not limit a Wellesley student’s choices upon graduation. The maximum level of offered student loan debt is currently $15,200 for all four years.
Wellesley’s student loan policy:
- Eliminates loans for students with the greatest financial need: those with a calculated family contribution of less than $28,000 and income less than $100,000.
- Offers a low loan of $3,000 in the first year for all other students who qualify for need-based financial aid.
After the first year, offered loan amounts rise slightly each year with a student's grade level, but again, her maximum offered loan amount would be $15,200 over four years. These loan amounts are low relative to the aid packages of many colleges and universities. They are also significantly lower than the total loan amounts in the federal student loan programs.
Loan Policy FAQ
The Federal need analysis formula used to determine a student's Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The FAFSA is how we collect information for this method.
Also known as institutional need analysis, this is how Student Financial Services at Wellesley College evaluates each student’s financial aid eligibility. SFS carefully evaluates each student’s application individually and measures a family’s ability to pay for college using standardized methods of analyzing both income and assets.
Wellesley uses information submitted on the FAFSA, CSS PROFILE, and other documentation provided by your family to determine eligibility for federal, state, and institutional need-based financial aid.
Students receiving, or expecting to receive, outside scholarships must report them to our office as soon as possible. At Wellesley, students who are offered outside scholarships or tuition benefits receive the fullest possible benefit of those scholarships. We use outside scholarship aid to reduce “self-help” – that is, student contributions, student loans, and work-study (in that order) before making any reduction in grant aid. We must, however, follow all federal regulations regarding outside scholarships and benefits.
State Grants, Pell Grants, Gear-Up Grants, etc. are not included in this policy. Outside scholarships do not affect the parents’ calculated ability to contribute; thus, they do not reduce the expected parent contribution. Students whose parents have employee benefits as a condition of their employment should speak to the staff in SFS.
Unless specifically stated in the sponsorship letter, all outside scholarships will be evenly applied to the fall and spring semesters. See Outside Scholarships.
Students who complete their financial aid applications by the priority filing date will be notified of their financial aid eligibility as follows:
Incoming applicants will be notified of their admission and financial aid decisions simultaneously. The expected timeline is based on the applicant's decision plan. It is also based on the assumption that her financial aid application is complete.
- Early Decision: Admission decision and financial aid notification in mid December.
- Early Evaluation: Early indication of admission decision in late February; final admission decision and financial aid notification in late March/early April.
- Regular Decision: Admission decision and financial aid notification in late March/early April.
- Transfer Spring: Admission decision and financial aid notification in mid December.
- Transfer Fall: Admission decision and financial aid notification in late May.
Returning students will be notified on a rolling basis beginning in late May. Applications are reviewed based on the order they are completed.
The amount a student’s parent(s) are expected to contribute towards the Expected Family Contribution. In calculating the parental contribution, the College considers the family’s calculated overall income, size of family, and number of children in college. It also takes into account assets, which include investments, home equity, business value, rental property, trusts, etc. 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.
Other factors that may affect the parent contribution include family medical expenses, parents’ age, and income and assets owned by the noncustodial parent, if biological parents are no longer together.
The College does not examine each family’s actual expenses, cash flow, or family budget. For families with unusual or changing circumstances, we may make various changes in our approach, based on information from families.
All applicants (excluding those noted later in this paragraph) are expected to provide parent financial information annually. If a student marries and/or meets the federal criteria for independence while enrolled at Wellesley, she will still be considered a dependent student at Wellesley College and will be required to provide financial information for her parent(s) each year on the PROFILE. A student who declares herself independent (of her parents) or a student whose parents will not assume financial responsibility for her education will not receive financial aid from Wellesley to replace the parent contribution. Information from parents of Davis Degree Candidates is not required unless the parents provide support.
Loans available for a student’s parent(s) or guardian(s) to cover all or part of the Expected Family Contribution. Demonstrated Financial Need is not a prerequisite for these loans, but they do require a credit check. All loans charge interest and some charge fees. Visit Financing and Loan Options for more information about your options.
Payment: See Billing and Payments
Wellesley College has partnered with Nelnet Enterprise Solutions to provide an interest-free monthly payment option that may offer your family greater budget flexibility and help in managing your monthly cash flow. Instead of making two lump-sum payments at the start of each semester, the Nelnet plan allows you to pay all or part of your education expenses in more manageable monthly installments. You may use the Nelnet plan to pay the balance after financial aid or in combination with other financing options, like parent or student loans. Please note, there is an enrollment fee, but no interest is charged. Visit Nelnet via Workday for more information.
For information about tuition refunds based on a withdrawal or leave of absence, see Withdrawals, Leaves, Refunds.
When a credit balance is shown on your student account, you may request a refund. Wellesley College maintains credit balances for returning students and applies the credit to future charges, unless they are requested by the student. You may request a refund of a credit balance by submitting a Refund Request Form to Student Financial Services.
Refund requests will only be processed once a credit balance is showing on your student account Student Financial Services is unable to process refund requests for students being charged on a per-course (part-time) basis until after the add/drop period has closed and we have confirmed your enrollment status.
Refund Requests take 7-10 to process and all funds will be direct deposited by the College into your payroll account.
Federal law specifies how a school must determine the amount of Title IV program assistance that you earn if you withdraw or take a leave of absence from school. The Title IV programs that are covered by this law are: Federal Pell Grants, Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants, Academic Competitiveness Grants, National SMART grants, TEACH Grants, Stafford Loans, PLUS Loans, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOGs) and Federal Perkins Loans.
When you withdraw or take a leave of absence after the first day of classes, the amount of Title IV program assistance that you have earned up to that point is determined by a specific formula. If Student Financial Services disbursed less assistance than the amount that you earned, you may be able to receive those additional funds. If SFS disbursed more assistance than you earned, the excess funds must be returned by our office.
The amount of assistance you earn is based on a prorate basis. SFS will determine the amount of Title IV aid earned once your withdrawal or leave form has been processed by the Registrar. If SFS did not disburse all of the funds that you earned, you may be eligible for a post withdrawal disbursement. If your post-withdrawal disbursement includes loan funds, SFS must get your permission before we can disburse them. You may choose to decline some or all of the loan funds so that you don’t incur additional debt. If you have a balance due on your account after leaving, Student Financial Services may automatically disburse and use all or a portion of your post-withdrawal disbursement of grant funds to pay that balance due.
Any loan funds that you must return, you (or your parent for a PLUS Loan) repay in accordance with the terms of the promissory note. That is, you make scheduled payments to the holder of the loan over a period of time.
This term is commonly used to refer to the housing and dining (meal plan) costs charged by the College. Wellesley does not offer multiple housing or dining options; all students are charged the same amount of room and board. Annual room and board costs are set by the Trustees of the College and are published online; see Tuition and Cost.
On-campus, or resident, students may not be removed from the meal plan without approval from the Office of Residence Life (for students living in campus co-ops) or Accessibility and Disability Resources (for students with severe allergies). Students who are removed from the meal plan will have their charges and financial aid reduced accordingly.
Satisfactory Academic Progress: see Academic Requirements
Financial assistance/aid that the student earns, such as work-study funds, or must repay, such as loans.
Each year, on the student verification worksheet, you are required to list all household members and, if applicable, the college or university where each member is in attendance. In some cases, Student Financial Services may request an enrollment verification for your sibling. This is often a form from their college/university or may come in the form of a term tuition bill. This documentation is requested because the number of family members and the number of children in college are significant factors in calculating family resources. Because graduate students have access to stipends, assistantships and up to $18,500 per year in federal loans, we do not commonly make allowances for siblings in graduate school.
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. For students with assets, the calculated student contribution will also include a contribution representing a portion of those assets.
These loans are available to students to cover some or all remaining educational expenses. All loans charge interest and some charge fees. Visit Financing and Loan Options and Student Loans for more information about your options.
Students who enroll in Summer Session courses at Wellesley College will be issued a billing notification showing their charges for the course(s). For more information about Summer Session costs and financial aid, visit Summer Session Tuition, Fees, and Financial Assistance.
Each January, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires Wellesley College to furnish financial data to its students and alumnae to assist in the preparation of their annual federal and state tax returns. Information regarding IRS Forms 1098-E, 1098-T, and W-2, as well as Canadian Form TL11A and other non-U.S. tax requests, can be found on the SFS Tax Forms website.
Wellesley requires signed copies of all pages, schedules, and forms of both student and all parents’ most recent federal income tax returns and W-2 forms.
This program provides a written contract guaranteeing that the cost of tuition will remain the same for each of four consecutive years at Wellesley College. By June 30 preceding the Fall semester of the entering year, the student pays an amount equal to four times the first year's tuition cost. Provisions are made for leaves of absence (up to two semesters), refunds, and withdrawals. This program stabilizes only the cost of tuition at Wellesley College; all other charges such as room and board will be billed at the rate for the applicable year, as will tuition for any exchange program or other college at which the student enrolls. Please contact Student Financial Services for enrollment information.
Unbilled Expenses: See Indirect Costs.
Verification is when your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) has been randomly selected by the U.S. Department of Education. The Department of Education requires Wellesley to collect additional documentation to verify the data reported on your FAFSA. This process may include correcting your FAFSA, using the IRS data retrieval tool, requesting a tax transcript, or completing an asset verification worksheet. Student Financial Services will contact you if your application has been selected and will inform you of the next requires steps.
Student Employment will appear in your financial aid offer as work-study. Work-study is a program under which students with financial need may be employed either on campus by the College or off campus by an approved agency/organization. With the exception of a small number of off campus service jobs, whether or not you have Federal or Wellesley work-study makes no difference for your eligibility for term-time employment at Wellesley. It does not affect a student’s wages, hours, or chances of being employed.
The usual expectation is that a student will be able to earn slightly over $2,000 from need-based employment during the academic year. This represents about eight to ten hours a week of work. For most students, their earnings from academic year employment are used for out-of-pocket personal expenses. Work-study earnings are not applied to your Wellesley student account to pay the semester bill.
Student Financial Services cannot guarantee jobs and cannot assist students in securing a specific type or amount of work. Because of your academic schedule, extracurricular activities, or inability to secure a work-study position, you may want to replace a part or all of your academic year employment expectation with a loan. To do so, please contact Student Financial Services.
Before beginning work, students must prove their citizenship and/or work eligibility status to meet U.S. Immigration law. Required documents are listed on the I-9 form available on our forms page.
While Wellesley does not limit the number of hours a student may work, we do not encourage students to work more than 15-20 hours per week. In fact, international students who exceed 20 hours per week during the semester may jeopardize their student visa status.
Academic Year 2023-2024 Refund Policy
Students who leave the college or leave the residence halls due to disciplinary actions or administrative resolutions of health and safety violations, or who withdraw from some but not all classes, will not receive a refund for tuition, room or board or any other fees.
The 2023-2024 refund policy will allow students to take a leave of absence and withdraw from classes until the end of the fourth week of the semester and receive a prorated refund for a portion of that semester. This date is consistent with the last date to drop a course without record (that is, without a “WDR” appearing on the transcript). The schedule is as follows:
Because Wellesley is a residential college, it is expected that all students will live on campus. If a student changes their residency status from resident to commuter prior to the beginning of classes, the college will reverse room and board charges for the semester. If a student changes their residency status after the start of classes, the college’s refund policy will apply to their board plan only. Board will be refunded for the remainder of the semester according to the schedule above. Room charges will not be adjusted. For those students who transition to commuting, tuition and other fees will not be adjusted. After the start of classes, financial aid recipients who switch from resident to commuter will receive an updated financial aid package that will not include grants funds for housing or food expenses off campus.
During Summer Session
Please see the Wellesley @ Summer website for the summer term refund policy.