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Frequently Asked Questions

Does Hamilton meet full need?

Hamilton meets the full demonstrated financial need of all accepted students through a combination of scholarship, loans and/or work-study. Families apply for financial aid each year so that changes in circumstances can be considered.

Is Hamilton "need-blind" in its admission decisions?

Yes. Hamilton is need-blind for first-year domestic applicants, meaning a U.S. student's financial need will not be a factor in the admission decision. Currently, the College is need-aware for international applicants and transfers. In addition, Hamilton promises to meet the full demonstrated need of each accepted domestic student. International students and transfers who are accepted to Hamilton and qualify for financial aid will still have their full need met by the College.

Does Hamilton offer merit-based scholarships?

Hamilton discontinued offering merit scholarships with the class that entered in the Fall of 2008. At that time, we decided that the primary focus and top priority of our financial aid program was to need-based aid. This decision allows us to continue honoring our long-standing commitment to meet the full demonstrated financial need of all students we admit as well as make Hamilton accessible to talented students from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. Most Hamilton students would qualify for merit scholarships at many other colleges. They choose Hamilton because they recognize that an education here is well worth the investment. As a result, you'll be learning and living with other strong students who also appreciate the value of a Hamilton education and are committed to joining this enduring community of scholars.

Does Hamilton include student loans in financial aid awards?

Hamilton may include a single subsidized federal student loan in financial aid awards, along with scholarship and work-study. Domestic students are offered a federal student loan, Canadian students are offered a campus-based loan. The maximum loan a first-year student would be offered is $3,500. Some students may be eligible to borrow an additional $2,000 of unsubsidized federal student loans, but this will not be offered as part of a financial aid award.

In recent years, the average total student indebtedness for Hamilton graduates has ranged from $16,500 to $21,500, and Hamilton’s current default rate is 0.4%. According to the Institute for College Access & Success, the current national student loan debt average is $28,950. The national default rate is 9.7%.

My parents need to know whether or not Hamilton College is affordable before I apply. Can they request a financial aid pre-read?

Hamilton College does not offer pre-reads. It is highly recommended that families use our net price calculator for an estimate of their expected family contribution (EFC). Please note that the actual EFC generated by the Hamilton College Financial Aid Office may be different than that provided via the net price calculator.

Should I commit to Early Decision if financial aid is a factor for my family?

Since Hamilton meets the full demonstrated financial need, a student who applies Early Decision will receive the same financial aid award that they would have received had they applied Regular Decision.

The decision to apply Early Decision may only be answered by each individual family. Our net price calculator may give you a broad assessment of what your financial aid package could look like and might be helpful to your family in determining whether or not you can make this commitment. Early Decision is designed for students and families who have done their research, know that Hamilton is their top choice and have been thoughtful in considering their college options (academically, socially, financially and otherwise).

While Early Decision at Hamilton is binding (meaning that, if admitted, all other admission applications will be withdrawn), we will release admitted students from this agreement if they determine Hamilton is not affordable for their families. In such cases, however, given that the financial aid package will not change at the point of Regular Decision, these students are withdrawn from Hamilton's admitted pool and do not have the option to consider Hamilton in the spring.

My family cannot afford the CSS Profile filing fee, can we get a waiver?

Fee waivers for the first-time filers who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents will be granted automatically for those who qualify based on the parents' reported income, assets and household size. The goal is to ensure that fee waivers are distributed equitably to students from families with the fewest financial resources and an inability to afford the fee. Orphans and wards of the court will be automatically eligible for fee waivers if they are first-year students who are filing for the first time. CSS grants up to six fee waivers per student who meet certain economic guidelines. Should you not automatically receive a fee waiver when completing the CSS Profile and paying the fee would be a hardship to your family, please contact the Financial Aid Office.

Is the process different if my parents are divorced, separated or never married?

In the case of divorced, separated or parents whom never married, we expect the parents will share responsibility for financing their child's education. Required application materials for both households will be found on the student's personalized financial aid checklist.

A waiver of the non-custodial contribution may be granted if a letter from a guidance counselor, principal, member of the clergy, or attorney attests to the fact that the non-custodial parent has not been in the student's life for a number of years.

How will becoming a Resident Advisor affect my financial aid award?

Resident Advisors receive the "Resident Advisor Benefit," which is equal to their room charge. The Resident Advisor Benefit will be treated as an outside scholarship, which reduces the awarded work-study and student loan portion of the financial aid award.

Is there a process to request another review of my financial aid eligibility?

Yes, a student/family may request an “appeal” of the student’s eligibility for financial aid, after they have received and reviewed the initial financial aid award. The appeal process is for families who have extenuating circumstances, or who have recently experienced a financial hardship, and who do not feel that the student’s financial aid award provides sufficient support. For more information and instructions on the process of appealing a student’s award, please visit Hamilton’s Financial Aid Appeal page.

Can I study off campus if I receive financial aid?

Eligible students with demonstrated financial need can have their financial aid “travel” with them as they participate in Hamilton (New York City, Washington, D.C., China, France, Spain, and India) and other approved off-campus study programs. For more information, please refer to our Studying Off-Campus page.

In light of the recent executive orders on immigration, does Hamilton have any advice for international students?

Hamilton's Dean of Student's Office has created an Immigration Resources webpage to help address international student questions/concerns.


Application Codes

FAFSA: 002728
College Board CSS Profile: 2286
NYS Residents Tuition Assistance Program (TAP): 0270

Contact Information

Office of Financial Aid

800-859-4413 315-859-4962 finaid@hamilton.edu
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