Provided that all required forms have been received by the appropriate deadlines, accepted students will learn of their financial aid eligibility when they receive their offer of admission. This information will be mailed to you and also posted online in your online My Hamilton award letter. If your financial aid application is incomplete, you will not receive notification of your financial aid eligibility until you have submitted all the required documentation to the Financial Aid Office.
Financial aid packages at Hamilton are comprised of two types of aid: scholarship and self-help (loans and work-study). Each type of aid works in slightly different ways.
Scholarships and grants are financial aid that does not need to be repaid, and they will be applied to the comprehensive fee on your bill each semester, not paid to you directly. Information on the specific kinds of scholarships you may receive at Hamilton can be found on our Scholarships page. By applying for financial aid, you will automatically be considered for all Hamilton scholarships. Students are encouraged to pursue outside scholarships unaffiliated with Hamilton to complement their financial aid package.
Loans (Direct Student Loans) are a type of self-help financial aid that is borrowed from the US Department of Education and must be repaid to the US Department of Education. There are two types of Direct Student Loans: subsidized and unsubsidized. Subsidized loans do not accrue interest until six months after the graduation of the student receiving the loan, and unsubsidized loans will begin accruing interest as soon as they are disbursed to the college. Loans disburse and are applied to your bill each semester instead of being paid directly to you. Loans should be considered a vital investment by the student in his or her college education. More information about loans can be found on our Student Loan page.
Work-study, another component of self-help financial aid, is the estimated earnings of the student from campus employment. Work-study is not paid to the student in advance, but is accrued through biweekly paychecks given directly to the student based on actual hours worked. These paychecks are not applied to your bill. Keep in mind that work-study financial aid is an estimate, not a guarantee, and is based on an average of ten hours per week in a campus job. More information about work-study at Hamilton can be found on our Work-Study page. Additional information about campus employment can be found on the Student Employment Office website.
As you are reviewing your own financial aid package, it may be helpful for you to review some examples of frequently encountered financial aid situations. If you have questions about the sample packages or how your own need-based financial aid eligibility was determined, feel free to contact the Financial Aid Office.
Unlike the "Common Application," there is not one agreed upon format for awarding financial aid. Furthermore, different colleges have different costs and financial aid methodologies that you should consider when comparing packages.
In order to compare financial aid packages, subtract the total amount of aid offered from the total cost of attendance. Do not forget to take estimated costs such as travel, books and living expenses into account (some colleges will include these expenses with the package and some will not). The remaining number is the Estimated Family Contribution, what we call the out-of-pocket expenses for your family. You should also consider other factors, such as the amount of loan you must assume versus how much of the financial aid package is scholarship or grant, and whether the package contains work-study.
It is important to remember that the packages you receive from different colleges may differ widely. One reason for this may be that one college offers merit aid and one does not. Hamilton does not offer merit aid; our financial aid is entirely need-based. While cost should certainly be an important factor for your family, you should also consider the value of various colleges as well as which colleges will best serve your personal and academic interests and goals for the long-term.