Aid Policies

Hampshire College has adopted the following policies and procedures regarding the awarding and distribution of financial aid. 

Eligibility for assistance is determined at the time of admission. Domestic students (U.S. citizens or permanent residents) who did not receive need-based financial aid at that time are not eligible for institutional aid aid until after they have been matriculated students at Hampshire for two semesters. These students may be eligible for federal aid for their first year. International students who did not receive aid at the time of admission are not eligible to apply during their Hampshire career even if there is a change in their family's circumstances. Current Hampshire policy prohibits the funding of international students after their initial enrollment. Financial aid is not available for students who seek a second bachelor's degree.

Hampshire, like most other private colleges, requires that the financial position of each parent be reviewed to determine each parent's fair share of educational expenses. We feel that the responsibility for school support is not automatically removed by separation or the stipulations of a court order.

Before we can make a reasonable judgment, we must collect information from each parent. We recognize that remarriage may have complicated the situation, and we are responsive to that and other financial circumstances. The expected contribution may exceed normal child support payments resulting from a court order or other agreement. 

Federal regulations require students to possess a high school diploma, or its equivalent, to be eligible for financial aid. Hampshire College follows the same policy with regard to aid eligibility. The equivalents to a high school diploma are:

  • A state certificate or transcript received by the student after the student passed a state-authorized examination (GED test, HiSET, TASC, or other state-authorized examination) that the state recognizes as the equivalent of a high school diploma.
  • For students who completed secondary education in a foreign country, a copy of the “secondary school leaving certificate” or other similar document.
  • An academic transcript that indicates the student successfully completed at least a two-year program that is acceptable for full credit toward a bachelor’s degree.
  • If state law requires a home-schooled student to obtain a secondary school completion credential for home school (other than a high school diploma or its recognized equivalent), a copy of that credential.
  • If state law does not require a home schooled student to obtain a secondary school completion credential for home school (other than a high school diploma or its recognized equivalent), we need a copy of a transcript or the equivalent, signed by the student’s parent or guardian, that lists the secondary school courses the student completed and includes a statement that the student successfully completed a secondary school education in a home school setting.

At Hampshire College, an independent student is defined as one who is 24 years of age or older and who has not lived with, been claimed as a tax exemption by, or received $1,000 or more in support from parents, guardians, or relatives in the previous calendar year; for a 2016-2017 application, this would be 2015. A financial aid officer will evaluate documented extenuating circumstances on an individual basis.

These criteria must be met the year before initial enrollment at Hampshire. Because of the substantial amount of institutional assistance required to fund independent students, these criteria are more stringent than those of most government agencies. Students who enroll as dependent students are considered dependents throughout their Hampshire careers, regardless of a change in family relationships or marriage.

Parents of some students are unwilling or unable to make the family contribution as expected by the financial aid office. These students must rely on increased loans and outside resources as the College cannot replace any deficiency with grant assistance. Withdrawal or reduction of parental support; lack of summer employment; leaving the family; marriage; or achieving legal adult status are among the reasons students experience reduced resources.

Some students incur additional expenses related to specific studies that are not charged directly by the College and are not included in the expense budget. Examples include: music lessons; voice lessons; courses at institutions outside the Five College Consortium; fees at other institutions; class trips; and transportation. Students must obtain additional loans or outside resources to cover these costs, as the College will not provide grant assistance.

The self-help, or loan and work, components of an award package are optional. Students may choose not to follow our recommendations to borrow and/or work. If so, they must have additional resources to cover these amounts, as the College will not provide grant funds as a replacement. Students who decline their student loans are not eligible for additional institutional aid or auxiliary institutional grants. Each year, the amount of self-help included in award packages will increase as students advance toward their degrees.

Students who receive scholarships from private organizations (not including federal or state grants) are allowed to reduce the self-help portions of their awards before grant aid is reduced. The sequence for adjusting awards is student loan, work-study eligibility, and, finally, Hampshire Grant aid. Students may request, in writing, to have their family contributions reduced instead of the loan and work-study. Tuition benefits from other educational institutions up to $5,000 do no reduce the Hampshire Grant. Tuition benefits in excess of $5,000 reduce Hampshire Grant dollar for dollar.

Students participating in Hampshire College's ISEP or exchange programs are eligible for federal, state, and institutional aid as enrolled students. Students complete the regular financial aid application materials.

Students going on field study continue to be eligible for federal, state, and institutional aid as enrolled students. Students must submit the regular financial aid application materials and the Field Study Budget form.

A recalculation of eligibility must be performed in all cases based on the costs of the program.

Federal financial aid programs may be used for study abroad while a student is on leave of absence from Hampshire College if the non-U.S. institution is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. A consortium agreement will have to be set up between Hampshire College and the study abroad program. Students interested in this option must notify the director of financial aid of the contact person at the study-abroad program.

Students must be making satisfactory academic progress according to the College's guidelines to be eligible for financial aid (federal, state, and institutional awards including merit scholarships). The Center for Academic Support and Advising (CASA) and the financial aid office will measure academic progress once per year at the end of the spring semester. Click here to see the policy and frequently asked questions.

Students who leave the College early in the term may be eligible for a refund of certain fees according to the College's refund policy listed in the fee brochure and on their website Students must follow the College's procedures for leave of absence or withdrawal. 

Students who leave the College early and have received financial aid may have part of their aid returned to the individual programs that provided the assistance. Hampshire College uses the federal return of funds formula to determine how much aid must be returned to each program. Returns are applied in the following order as mandated under that methodology:  federal student loans; federal PLUS loans; federal grants; and College and outside scholarships. 

The formula is as follows:

Number of calendar days completed in the period
Total number of calendar days in the period

Returning aid using the federal return of funds formula may cause a student to have outstanding charges on her or his Hampshire student accounts that the student and family will be responsible for paying.

You may review consumer information and school reports about various aspects of our academic programs and facilities, the college's accreditation, campus security and crime, drug and alcohol abuse, financial aid and other areas.


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Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002
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