Having more than one child in college may have a significant impact on a student's financial aid package. If a family of five has one child in college, their Expected Family Contribution (EFC) will be the amount that the family is responsible for contributing toward their son or daughter's education that year. However, if that same family has two children attending undergraduate college on a full-time basis, their EFC will be divided between the institutions that each child is attending. For example: if their parent contribution was $20,000, that entire amount would go to one institution when only one child is attending college. With two children attending college, their parent contribution would be approximately $10,000 to each institution (and they would, therefore, receive more need-based financial aid).
Similarly, if a student begins attending college and has an older sibling already enrolled in college, their EFC and need-based financial aid will be impacted when the older sibling graduates. For example: the family's parent contribution was $20,000; $10,000 to each institution. However, when the older sibling graduates the parent contribution is no longer divided between two institutions; it now goes entirely to one institution and the student's amount of need-based financial aid is reduced accordingly.
There are a few factors worth noting that may affect how the family contribution is divided between institutions, and the amount that a family actually contributes to each. Hamilton College uses federal methodology, which calculates the parent contribution to be an approximate 50% split. Some institutions using institutional methodology may use a 60/40 split. Other variables that should be considered are the overall costs of each institution, and whether they offer merit or need-based financial aid.
Hamilton College does not consider siblings enrolled in graduate studies or parents enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program as a factor when determining financial need.