Frequently Asked Questions, Financial Aid | Earlham College
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Frequently Asked Questions

How many students at Earlham receive financial assistance?

In a typical academic year, 90-95% of Earlham's student body receives some form of financial aid.

What is the difference between merit-based aid and need-based 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 Financial Aid Office, based on the information from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

How is "financial need" determined?

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.

Will my package change after the first year?

Merit aid remains the same for all four years as long as the student maintains a 2.0 grade-point average 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 towards your degree, your aid eligibility should stay approximately the same. Four basic areas directly affect a student's need-based aid eligibility: number in the family, number in college, income and assets. Changes in any one of these areas could affect your aid from year to year.

How do local and community scholarships affect an aid package?

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 Bonner Scholars and Quaker Fellows.

Can I get financial aid for studying off-campus?

Earlham students may receive merit and need-based Earlham-funded aid for one Earlham off-campus program or one approved Great Lakes College Association off-campus program (GLCA). 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.

Is there financial aid for international students?

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


FAFSA Questions

Where do I complete the FAFSA?

Families can complete the FAFSA beginning October 1 of the year prior to enrollment (e.g., October 1, 20120, for the 2021-22 academic year). 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).

My parents are divorced.  Which parent’s information do I need to report?

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.

My information needs to be verified.  What do I need to do?  Why do I need to do that?

In about one third of all FAFSAs filed, families are selected for a process called verification. You will find out that you have been flagged when you complete the FAFSA.  For those flagged for verification, schools are required to verify the information reported on the FAFSA by obtaining from you federal tax transcripts, family size verification forms or other documents. Using the DRT on the FAFSA reduces the time you’ll need to spend on this.  Information on obtaining your federal tax transcript can be found here.  We must receive the information from you before offering your financial aid.

Sample Financial Aid Offer Letter

Financial Aid Offer Questions

When will I hear about my financial aid offer?

Entering students will receive their financial aid offer along with their Admission packet (beginning November 15) as long as their financial aid application is complete.  Continuing students will receive their offers beginning in May.

How much will I owe?

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.

What should I do if my family’s situation changes, such as losing a job or medical expenses?

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.

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Earlham College, an independent, residential college, aspires to provide the highest-quality undergraduate education in the liberal arts and sciences, shaped by the distinctive perspectives of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

Earlham College
801 National Road West
Richmond, Indiana
1-765-983-1200 — Main Switchboard
1-800-EARLHAM (327-5426) — Admission


Earlham admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin, age, gender and sexual orientation to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin, age, gender and sexual orientation in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.