Frequently asked questions

In a typical academic year, 90-95 percent of Earlham’s student body receives some form of financial aid. That calls for a lot of students having questions about the different types of aid available, how to apply for aid at Earlham and many more topics. Below are answers to frequently asked questions and links to additional resources. If you don’t find an answer to your question in the list below, please reach out to our Office of Financial Aid.

Merit scholarships are awarded based on ability or academic performance. Recipients are selected by the admissions staff, based on the student’s credentials reported in the admissions application file.

Need-based aid is financial assistance based on a family’s financial situation. Aid is awarded through the Office of Financial Aid, based on the information from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

After you complete the FAFSA, the data is reported to the federal processor. Earlham then receives this information via a Student Aid Report or SAR. This SAR includes the “expected family contribution” or EFC. The difference between the EFC and the cost to attend Earlham is considered a family’s financial need. For example, if Earlham’s costs were $60,000 and a family’s EFC was $6,000, that family’s financial need is the difference or $54,000. Earlham works to meet that need through a combination of federal, state and institutional resources. This may include grants and scholarships, work and student and parent loans.

Merit aid remains the same for all four years as long as the student maintains a 2.0 GPA and is enrolled full time at Earlham.

You must apply for need-based aid each year. Assuming that your financial situation stays relatively the same and you maintain satisfactory academic progress toward your degree, your aid eligibility should stay approximately the same. Four basic areas directly affect a student’s need-based aid eligibility: number of family members, number of family members in college, income and assets. Changes in any one of these areas could affect your aid from year to year.

If Earlham was not able to meet your family’s need through your aid package, then the outside scholarship amount will simply be added to the Earlham package. If Earlham was able to meet your need, then we are required by governmental and institutional policies to reduce various components of the package in order to incorporate funds you receive from local and community scholarships. In this situation, we would reduce loans and employment first. Need-based grant aid would be reduced only when loans and work are fully eliminated. Different policies apply to Quaker Fellows.

Earlham students may receive merit and need-based Earlham-funded aid for one Earlham off-campus program or one approved Great Lakes Colleges Association off-campus program. Most Earlham off-campus programs charge the same fees as those on-campus.

Students who choose to study off-campus outside of the programs offered through Earlham or the GLCA must apply for financial aid at the institution offering that program.

Absolutely. International students are considered for merit scholarships, need-based aid and work awards.

Every international applicant must complete the International Student Financial Aid Application (ISFAA) and submit supporting financial documents such as bank statements or letters of employment. We cannot evaluate an application without these documents. Visit our forms page to download the ISFAA.

Please note, the International Financial Aid Committee determines the level of merit scholarship and institutional grants.

Earlham does not award scholarships or grants for room, food and other costs (such as books, personal items, flights to/from campus and other indirect costs). Students and families need to be able to contribute at least $25,000.

Inquiries about international financial aid should be emailed to [email protected].

FAFSA questions

Both student and parent must obtain an FSA ID at to complete the FAFSA. Your FSA ID is a unique identifier and password that gives you access to the Federal Student Aid system and allows you to sign documents electronically.

The FAFSA has a convenient option called the Data Retrieval Tool (DRT), which enables you to pull information directly from your completed IRS tax return into the FAFSA. We strongly recommend using this tool. It not only saves you time and reduces potential errors but may also keep the government from requesting additional documentation.

Families can complete the FAFSA beginning October 1 of the year prior to enrollment. The FAFSA may be completed online at or through a mobile app called myStudentAid from the Apple app store (IOS) or through Google Play (Android).

For students planning to enter Earlham College for the first time for fall semester, the FAFSA should be submitted by March 1 for preferential packaging.

For Indiana State Grants (Indiana residents only), the FAFSA must be submitted to the federal processor by April 10.

Returning non-Indiana resident students must submit the FAFSA by June 1.

If your parents are divorced or separated, answer the questions about the parent you lived with more during the past 12 months. (If you did not live with one parent more than the other, give answers about the parent who provided more financial support during the past 12 months or during the most recent year that you actually received support from a parent.) If this parent is remarried as of today, answer the questions about that parent and your stepparent.

In about one-third of all FAFSAs filed, families are selected for a process called verification.

If you are flagged, you will be notified upon completion of your FAFSA. This means we are required to verify the information reported on the FAFSA by obtaining federal tax transcripts, family size verification forms or other documents from you. To save time on this process, we strongly recommend using the data retrieval tool (DRT), which enables you to pull information directly from your completed IRS tax return into the FAFSA.

Information for obtaining your federal tax transcript can be found here. We must receive this information before supplying your financial aid award package.

Financial aid offer questions

Entering students receive their financial aid offer notifications after November 15 or soon after they have been admitted, whichever is later, if all of the required documents have been sent to us.

Admitted students will receive an email message letting them know if we are missing items needed to create their financial aid offer notifications.

Continuing students will receive their financial aid notifications beginning in late May after grades are out.

Sample Financial Aid Offer Letter

Take a look at the offer letter we sent you.  The first section lists your charges.  The second section lists the financial aid we are offering you.  The third section says:  Estimated Payment Due.  That is approximately the amount your family will have come up with to pay for your tuition, fees, housing and food.

Please let us know if your family has had a change of circumstances.  We have an appeals process that begins with completing a Request for Review form. We will typically respond within a couple of weeks of receiving your request.

More information and resources

Earlham is a community like no other. Our students and faculty are partners in learning, seeking truth wherever truth may lead. Learn more about Earlham at the links below.