Understanding Financial Aid

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


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


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

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.

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.

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.