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College Financial Aid

We encourage you to review the following general information and to contact Bryn Mawr's College Counseling Office for answers to more specific questions. The college that is the best match for your daughter will take into consideration both academic admissibility and affordability. The College Counseling Office at Bryn Mawr can help direct you in your research and assist you in sorting through all of the available options through our general information seminars and by appointment.

Financial Aid Resources

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  • Financial Aid FAQs

    Does applying for financial aid affect the chance of admission?
    In some cases, it may. Some schools have "need-blind" admissions policies, while other schools have "need-conscious" policies (also known as "need-sensitive" or "need-aware" policies). Need-blind policies mean that the admissions office will make an offer of admission without knowledge of a family's ability to pay. Applying for financial aid, therefore, does not affect a student's chance of admission. Need-conscious policies take note of a family's ability to pay. In general, these schools still offer aid to very talented students. The admissions office may become more need aware as they are admitting the last few students into the class and financial aid resources have been depleted.

    Does applying for financial aid affect the chance of being admitted from the wait list?
    Colleges may admit students from the wait list. "Need-blind" schools generally provide students with a financial aid package similar to the one they would have received had they not been wait listed. "Need-concious" schools, however, may not be able to offer financial aid with admission. In some cases, schools may consider need as they are removing students from the wait list and may not offer admission to students who are requesting aid.

    Are the financial aid packages from all colleges the same?
    No. Each school has a specific method for calculating financial aid.

    Does every college offer scholarships?
    Some colleges offer scholarships based on a particular talent (musical, athletic, academic). Other schools (those in the Ivy League, for instance) do not offer scholarships. Instead. the schools say that they will meet 100% of demonstrated need. The schools may still give the student assistance, but the money is for financial need, not to reward the demonstration of a particular talent.

    Is the financial aid package the same for all four years?
    No, it is not. Each year families are asked to update their financial information. The school recalculates the aid package based on the new financial information and the cost of tuition. This should not be cause for concern. Family finances can change from year to year; colleges need flexibility; and financial aid offices expect to have increases in aid consistent with tuition increases. Most of the changes, therefore, are small variances to allow for tuition increases. In general, financial aid packages do not decrease over time.

    If the financial aid package is not adequate, can I appeal?
    Yes. If families receive financial aid packages that are not acceptable, they may appeal the award. Families should contact the college or university financial aid office immediately to find out about the appeals process.

    Can a student who is applying for financial aid also apply "early decision"?
    Yes. When the student is admitted she will be given an estimated financial aid package. The student will be able to accept, appeal, or reject the package. It is important that any student who is considering applying for "early decision" as well as financial aid speak with her college counselor. Although the student can accept or reject the financial aid package, she will have to do so in January, and she will not be able to compare the offer with offers from other schools.

    If a student applies "early decision" or "early action" will her financial aid package be any smaller?
    No. All colleges agree that the calculations for financial assistance should be the same for early decision or action applicants as they are for regular decision applicants.
  • Applying for Financial Aid

    Schools will require any combination of the following three forms: the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), the CSS (College Scholarship Service) Profile and an individualized form from the college. It is very important that you complete the required forms and adhere to the deadlines, as any tardiness may result in a delayed decision and less funds available for financial aid packages.


    The FAFSA is the most commonly requested form, and it is typically available by September and uses tax information from the prior tax year. The form is designed to reflect a family's financial situation over a given year. We recommend you submit the FASFA form as early as possible. More information about the FAFSA is available online at www.fafsa.ed.gov.

    CSS Profile

    Completing this form is a two-step process. Families must complete a pre-registration form during the fall of the senior year. CSS will then use the information to send families the appropriate financial forms. This pre-registration questionnaire is available online at www.collegeboard.com. You can also call CSS at 800-778-6888. The registration form requires a student's list of colleges. Not all colleges require the CSS profile - it is the student's responsibility to check each colleges requirements.

    Individual College's Financial Aid Form

    These forms are becoming less common. If this form is required, the form and instructions on how to complete it will be included with the application materials.

    As you begin to complete your financial aid forms, please contact us if your financial situation is not represented fairly or if your future finances are anticipated to be dramatically different from in the past. Changing jobs and illness in families may require major financial adjustments. Families are also advised to contact the financial aid offices at the colleges to find out how to best present their information. The more families can anticipate their future financial situations, the easier it will be for the college financial aid offices to work with you in support of your financial aid requests.

    Financial Awareness Counseling Tool Financial Awareness Counseling Tool

    The U.S. Department of Education released a new interactive loan counseling tool to provide students with financial management basics, like information about their current loan debt and estimates for student loan debt levels after graduation. Students can access the new resource, known as the Financial Awareness Counseling Tool, on StudentLoans.gov.
  • The Purpose of FAFSA and the CSS Profile

    College financial aid offices use the information provided on these forms to calculate the estimated family income, which includes an estimate of both parent and student contributions. The two forms use different calculations to estimate family income. Colleges may require both forms in order to better understand all aspects of a family's financial situation. When considering financial need, a school considers such factors as: parents' income from the prior year, parents' assets (cash, savings, home equity, other real estate and investments), size of family, number of siblings attending college, student's income and student's assets. Colleges assemble financial aid packages that equal the difference between total costs (including tuition, room and board, books, incidentals and transportation) and the estimated family income.

    • School Tuition: $24,000
    • Room and Board ($3,000/semester): $ 6,000
    • Books: $750
    • Transportation (varies depending on distance from institution): $800
    TOTAL: $31,550

    EFC: $10,000
    Financial Aid Package: $21,550
  • Calculating an Estimate EFC

    Many families find it helpful to compute total estimated family income well in advance of a student applying to college. Many books on financial aid include calculators and calculations can also be done online. A good FAFSA calculator can be found at www.finaid.org. Please remember that these calculations can only estimate financial aid packages and do not represent definitive amounts of packages.
  • Components of a Typical Financial Aid Package

    A typical financial aid package contains three components:

    Grants or Gifts
    This money is often from the college itself. In cases of great need, students may apply for federal grant monies, which do not need to be repaid.

    Student Loans 
    Colleges may ask students to assume loans for their education. This part of the financial aid package can be particularly complicated because there are many kinds of loans. Loans can differ in two major ways. They may have different interest rates, and the interest may start to accrue at different times (i.e. either the time you take out the loan, or from the time your daughter graduates from college).

    Campus Jobs
    Colleges may require students to work on campus during their four years of college. The amount of the expected contribution varies, but it usually is between $1,500 and $2,000.

    ** When assembling a financial aid package, colleges will calculate the student loan amount and campus jobs before they award grant money.A calculator can be found at www.finaid.org. Please remember that these calculations can only estimate financial aid packages and do not represent definitive amounts of packages.
  • Financial Aid Timetable

    This information provides general guidelines for a financial aid timetable. Families should check with the colleges for their particular dates and instructions.

    11th Grade
    As you begin the college admissions process, be sure to research the particular financial aid policies at each school.

    Use the calculators on the Internet to calculate your estimated family income.

    Parents and daughters should discuss financial aid together. Students should build their college lists taking into consideration their range of costs and their financial aid policies. Keep college counselors informed about financial aid issues.

    12th Grade
    Parents and daughters should discuss financial aid together. Students should build their college lists taking into consideration their range of costs and their financial aid policies.

    • Register for the CSS PROFILE. All students who are applying early decision or early action must register by October 1.
    • Early decision applicants should submit Part II of the CSS PROFILE.
    • Admissions decisions are mailed to students who have applied early decision or early action. Financial awards will be included in the mailing.
    December 15
    • This is the last date by which families should register for the CSS PROFILE.
    February 1
    • This is the typical deadline for students who applied early decision to accept or reject a college's offer of admission and the financial aid package.
    February 1
    • This is the final deadline for families to submit the FAFSA as well as Part II of the CSS PROFILE.
    April 1
    • Admissions decisions are mailed to students who have applied regular decision. Financial awards will be included in the mailing.
    May 1
    • This is the typical deadline for students to accept or reject a college's offer of admission.


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