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Need-based aid: determining need

Most financial aid at Wake Forest is determined on the basis of a family’s demonstrated financial need. Except in the most extraordinary circumstances, Wake Forest considers all undergraduate students to be dependent on their parents.

Families applying for institutional aid are required to file the CSS PROFILE. To determine eligibility for federal financial aid, the university uses the information families submit on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Before awarding any type of aid, Wake Forest requires all students and parents to provide signed copies of income tax forms, including all relevant schedules, and W-2 wage statements. Both students and parents (including stepparents) must submit tax documents.

In the case of divorced or separated parents, both parents (and their respective spouses, if applicable) are expected to provide financial information. When you complete your Profile registration, the College Board will notify you that Wake Forest requires the Noncustodial Profile. You will receive an e-mail that explains this requirement, which you should share with your noncustodial parent. This e-mail will provide a link to the Noncustodial Profile website, with login instructions for your noncustodial parent.

Our Net Price Calculator can help you estimate how much your family contribution will be, but families should be aware that financial aid estimates are only as good as the data on which they are based. Need is the difference between total Cost of Attendance and the expected family contribution.

Students must reapply for financial aid each year by completing the CSS PROFILE and Renewal FAFSA and submitting the appropriate tax documentation. Changes in your family’s financial circumstances (such as a reduction in the number of children in undergraduate college) may significantly affect the amount of financial aid you receive in subsequent years. Students do not have to accept the self-help component of their financial aid package to receive gift aid or scholarships from the university.

If your family experiences a change in financial circumstances at any point in the year that was not addressed in the initial review for financial aid, you may submit a written letter of appeal. The appeal letter should provide a detailed explanation of the circumstances upon which the appeal is based and should include any supporting documentation. It is also helpful if the family outlines a monetary value associated with the change in circumstances. The Financial Aid Committee will attempt to respond to all appeals within two weeks of receipt of the appeal letter.

The Undergraduate Need-Based Aid brochure provides additional information about how need is determined.

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