Questions about Financial Aid
Yes. If you are accepted at Vassar, the college will meet 100% of your demonstrated financial need. In many cases, a financial aid student’s out-of-pocket expenses at Vassar are essentially the same as they would be at a state school.
The true cost of an education, whether at a private college or a state university, is actually much higher than the fees. At a state school, the difference between the true cost and the billed fees is paid by taxpayers. At a private school, the difference is paid by alums who support their colleges by contributing to their annual funds. So in a very real sense, even students whose families can afford to pay the full amount are receiving financial assistance.
If you are considering applying to Vassar, don’t hesitate because you think your family won't be able to afford it. We are committed to making sure that a Vassar education is affordable to every student we admit. In addition to meeting 100% of all demonstrated financial need for all admitted students, Vassar eliminates or reduces loans in the aid awards of students from low-income families.
Absolutely not. The majority of Vassar students receive financial aid. Vassar students come from every type of background imaginable, and plenty of students who are not on financial aid have campus jobs.
Yes, Vassar does offer need-based financial aid to international students applying as freshmen and is one of the leading providers of financial assistance to international students among American colleges and universities. If admitted, Vassar meets 100% of the candidate’s demonstrated financial need for all four years. Students who are neither US citizens nor permanent residents who wish to be considered for financial aid at any time during their four years at Vassar should apply at the same time that they apply for admission. Since Vassar is not need-blind in the admission of non-US citizens, financial need may be a factor in the evaluation process for admission. Therefore, those admitted without financial aid subsequently would not be eligible to receive Vassar funding during their years at the college, except under the most extreme circumstances (i.e., death of a wage-earning parent, natural disaster, etc.).
Yes. If your application to study abroad is approved, your financial aid package is applicable to your study abroad program. To learn more about eligibility requirements for international study, visit the International Programs website.
Vassar is committed to meeting 100% of demonstrated need for all admitted students for all four years. However, as is the case at other colleges, you must reapply for financial aid each year. If your financial circumstances change, your financial aid award may change. If, for example, you have a younger brother or sister who will now be going to college, you’ll probably receive more financial aid (assuming all the other factors have stayed the same). If, on the other hand, one of your parents who was previously unemployed now has a high-paying job, you will receive less aid.
“Financial need” is the difference between the cost of education (tuition, room and board, fees, books, personal expenses, and travel) and the family’s expected contribution. Vassar’s financial aid professionals use a comprehensive needs-analysis formula to determine each family’s expected contribution from the data on their application. This formula serves to measure the family’s financial strength in a consistent and equitable way. It takes into account factors such as family size, income, assets, geographic location, number of children in college, etc. It then makes allowances for items such as cost of living, taxes paid, unreimbursed medical expenses, educational costs for other siblings, and unusual circumstances that can restrict the family’s ability to pay. Once the family contribution is calculated and the amount of financial need is determined, a financial aid package is put together to meet 100% of the need.
A typical financial aid package consists of the following items: scholarship and grants, a work-study award, and a small loan. Awards are packaged so that the first portion of the student’s need is met with a work-study allowance and, if appropriate, a federal grant or student loan. All remaining need is met with Vassar scholarship. In addition to meeting 100% of all demonstrated financial need for all admitted students, Vassar eliminates or reduces loans in the aid awards of students from low-income families. If you receive an offer of financial aid, you can accept all or part of it. You may, for example, accept the scholarships, grants, and loans, but choose not to accept the work-study. However, if you decline part of the award package, it is up to you and your family to cover the difference.
The Student Employment Office advertises over 1,700 campus jobs that range from shelving books in the library to working as a research assistant for a faculty member. Financial aid recipients are given first priority in the job registration/application process. To learn more, visit the Student Employment website.
If you are a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident and you have demonstrated financial need, you may be offered one or more loans as part of your financial aid package. Federal Direct Student Loans are federally funded, have low-interest rates, and need not be repaid until you either graduate or withdraw, at which time you have up to 10 years to repay.
If you are an international student and you have demonstrated financial need, you are eligible for a Vassar College loan. These loans have a variable interest rate and must be repaid within 15 years after graduation or withdrawal.
Learn more about loans and lenders.
Vassar College will give admission applications submitted by undocumented students for the first-year class the same consideration given to any other applications it might receive. Although funding is limited, undocumented students who are admitted to Vassar will be offered financial assistance based on demonstrated need following the same procedures Vassar uses to grant aid to accepted international students.
Absolutely! Outside scholarships are available from many local, regional, and national organizations, possibly even your parents’ employers. You can register at www.fastweb.com for free and receive a list of scholarships for which you may be eligible.
A note of caution: there are a number of scholarship scams out there that require you to pay money to get money. Visit the Scholarship Scams page to learn more.
If you win an outside scholarship, you are required to inform Student Financial Services. College policy is to allow outside scholarships to reduce two of the three “self-help” portions of a financial aid package before reducing Vassar Scholarship.
No. Financial aid at Vassar is determined solely on the basis of financial need.
No. You have to meet the same academic standards required of all Vassar students.
Our financial aid calculations assume $2,250 a year for books and personal expenses. It’s not difficult to keep personal expenses to a minimum at Vassar because the social life is centered around the residence houses and campus activities. There are more than 1,000 campus-wide events (lectures, concerts, plays, parties, etc.) on the Vassar calendar each year, almost all of which are free.
PROFILE: Vassar’s code is 2956.
FAFSA: Vassar’s code is 002895.
Yes. For the best chance of receiving aid, submit all materials by the deadlines.
The award letter is your official notification of the financial aid funds you will receive at Vassar for the academic year. So long as you met the advertised application deadline, you can expect to receive notification approximately 1–2 days after your admission acceptance has been posted. Award letters are emailed to students; however, a hard copy of your initial letter will be mailed to you as well.
QuestBridge applicants are given all the same considerations as any first-year applicant to Vassar College applying for financial aid. We are committed to meeting 100% of the demonstrated financial need for all students offered admission that have also applied for aid. Additional information on Financial Aid and QuestBridge can be found at our QuestBridge FAQ.