Determining Need

How is need determined?

The basic premise of financial aid is that the primary responsibility for meeting college costs rests with the student and his or her parents, to the extent they are able to pay. The difference between the cost of attendance at the institution and the calculated ability of a family to meet this cost is defined as a student’s “demonstrated need.” A family’s ability to meet the cost of attendance is determined from an in-depth assessment of the information reported on the CSS PROFILE and FAFSA. Need is determined according to a set of standards and principles developed by the College Board.

Wake Forest offers to meet the full demonstrated need of all regularly admitted applicants. What does this mean?

For those regular decision applicants who meet the financial aid deadlines, Wake Forest will meet 100% of demonstrated need through a combination of scholarships (grants based on merit), gift aid (financial aid that does not have to be repaid), loans (borrowed money that must be repaid with interest), and work-study (money students earn from jobs to help pay for educational expenses). Beginning with freshmen entering in Fall 2008, students from families with annual income of less than $40,000, who do not have large assets, will have their loans capped at $4,000 per year.

What is the income cut-off for financial aid eligibility?

Since income is only one factor that is taken into consideration in determining eligibility for financial aid, there is no income cutoff. In addition to income, we take into consideration many factors, including parent and student assets, family size, tax liability, the number of students in college, home equity, medical and educational expenses, business investments, rental property, and summer student earnings. The only way to determine eligibility for financial aid is to submit an application. Approximately 40% of full-time undergraduates demonstrate financial need.

Can I estimate the contribution my family will be expected to make towards my education?

The Net Price Calculator provides an estimate of financial aid and the expected family contribution to educational costs. These estimates may not be accurate for families with complicated financial situations or extenuating family circumstances.

My parents do not declare me as a dependent on their income taxes. Can I be classified as an independent student for financial aid purposes?

Except in the most extraordinary circumstances, Wake Forest considers all undergraduate students to be dependent on parents for institutional financial aid purposes, even though some students may meet the federal definition of “independence.” A student may not declare independence during his or her undergraduate years due to attainment of legal age, internal family arrangements, marriage, parenthood, or family disagreements.

Will I know about financial aid at the time I am admitted to the University?

If your financial aid application is complete by the March 1st priority deadline, you should receive a financial aid decision shortly after you receive your offer of admission.

What if my family’s financial circumstances change after I receive my financial aid award?

Any substantive changes in a family’s financial situation should be reported immediately in writing to the Office of Student Financial Aid. Examples of such changes are a significant decrease in income, unusual medical expenses, or a change in parents’ marital status. The Financial Aid Committee will review the request for reconsideration to determine if an adjustment is warranted.

What impact will a reduction in the number of children in college have on my financial aid in subsequent years?

If your need is based on two or more children in college at the same time, and the sibling later graduates or is no longer enrolled in undergraduate college, then your award may be significantly reduced. The more financial resources your parents have, the greater the impact will be. Siblings enrolled in graduate or professional school, while possibly considered in determining your eligibility for federal aid, are not included in making decisions about the amount of institutional aid you are awarded.

Are international students eligible for need-based aid?

Students classified as international students by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions are not eligible to receive need-based aid. However, international students with exceptional academic and leadership credentials should consider applying for merit scholarships.

International students interested in campus or community employment opportunities should review the student employment section of the web site. If there are questions about working on campus, international students may contact the Student Employment Supervisor in the Office of Student Financial Aid.

Students interested in borrowing to help pay for college, who can enlist a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to co-sign a loan promissory note, should refer to the information on the eduPASS web site.