Understanding Your Package

How is eligibility determined?

Your eligibility for need-based financial aid has been determined according to federal government regulations and University policies governing financial aid programs.

Using the information that you reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE, student and parent tax returns (if submitted prior to review), and other supporting documentation, the Office of Student Financial Services has calculated your Expected Family Contribution, the amount of family financial resources you and your parent(s) are expected to contribute towards your educational costs. (Note: Your Expected Family Contribution is not a prediction of how much cash you actually have on hand, nor a value judgement about how much you "ought" to be able to pull from your current income, nor a measure of your liquidity. Rather, it is our best estimate of your capacity to absorb some of the costs of education over time.)

The Expected Family Contribution is subtracted from a standard budget of expected educational expenses, or Cost of Attendance. The difference between the Expected and Family Contribution and the Cost of Attendance is your maximum eligibility for need-based assistance. Federal Law prohibits a student from receiving financial assistance in excess of his/her calculated eligibility.

In most cases, your Expected Family Contributions consists of a contribution from your income and assets, and a contribution from your parent(s)' income and assets. In cases of divorce or separation, a contribution is normally expected of both natural parents and/or from your custodial parent's new spouse if he/she is remarried. (Your custodial parent is the parent with whom you live with.)

Please note that when determining eligibility for assistance, all assets are assumed to belong to the person who reports the interest and/or dividends earned from those assets on his/her tax return. Federal law requires students to use 35% of their assets each year for educational expenses.

How is my award determined?

The Office of Student Financial Services determines your eligibility for need-based aid only. Merit-based scholarships and grants are awarded through the admissions process and are determined by a Scholarship Committee.

All students accepted for admission to Brandeis are automatically considered for University-funded merit-based aid if they have completed the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE application. You will be notified at the time of admission to the University if a merit-based scholarship will be offered to you. Under current policy, if you are not awarded merit funds as an entering student you will not be considered for merit funds in subsequent years.

Most students who receive need-based assistance are awarded an aid package consisting of grant, loan and work awards designed to meet the applicant's calculated eligibility. Usually, a loan is awarded first, followed by a work expectation. All, or a portion of, the remaining eligibility is met with University, federal and state government, and private grant assistance.

Your Financial Aid Award Letter may include one or more of the sources of need-based financial aid detailed in the Financial Aid Information Guide, which can be downloaded on our Forms page. Your Award Letter assumes a level of federal and state appropriations that is frequently not finalized at the time that the awards are made, therefore, if funds fail to be appropriated as anticipated, offers may have to be reduced or canceled. You will be notified immediately if any changes are necessary.

What do I owe?

Knowing your eligibility for financial aid is only half the process in determining what you will owe for a year's education at Brandeis.

The student accounts office issues billing statements prior to the beginning of each semester. Use the Cost of Attendance Calculator to help you understand what charges you will incur and what sources of financial aid credit to your account.

The university reserves the right to change its costs at any time. You will need to consult each semester's billing statements for your actual costs. In the interim, the calculator can help you estimate the net cost of a year's education at Brandeis.

How can I appeal my financial aid package?

If your financial aid package is not sufficient to make Brandeis an affordable option for you and your family, we encourage you to contact your financial aid advisor to discuss any special circumstances that you may have that affect your and your family's ability to contribute to college costs (e.g., a change in your parent(s)' employment status, unreimbursed medical expenses, non-recurring income sources, etc.). Your advisor will let you know whether these circumstances are sufficient to warrant an increase in your financial aid award and will also let you know what documentation will be required to re-review your financial aid eligibility. 

Glossary of Terms