Frequently Asked Questions

These are frequently asked questions regarding financial aid and the application process. If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact us. Our contact information is listed at the bottom of the page.

I am in high school and planning to apply to colleges soon. Are there things that I can do now to help prepare for the financial aid process?

There are many things you can do to help prepare yourself for the financial aid process and to pay for college. Review the list of things to do while in high school.

I am applying for admission to Hampshire College and I am interested in applying for financial assistance. When do I apply for financial aid?

We recommend you apply for financial aid at the same time you apply for admission.

What is required for a financial aid application?

Domestic applicants (U.S. citizens & permanent residents) must complete the FAFSA. International & undocumented applicants complete the CSS Profile.

Is the FAFSA a paper form or is there an online version?

We recommend you complete the online version at The online version is faster and more efficient for you to use. You may create a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID prior to completing the FAFSA. If you are a dependent, a parent will need to create their own FSA ID. You and your parent will use the FSA ID to electronically sign the FAFSA.

The CSS Profile has a non-custodial parent component. I don't know the whereabouts of my non-custodial parent. What can I do?

If you are an international or undocumented applicant, you may complete the petition to waive your non-custodial parent form. This, along with a letter from a third party, will be used to determine if we can waive the information from your non-custodial parent. 

Is there a cost for the FAFSA and CSS Profile?

The FAFSA is free. There is a processing fee on the CSS Profile. Hampshire offers CSS Profile fee waivers only for Early Action, Early Decision, and Spring semester applicants.

Do I need to complete the FAFSA and the CSS Profile each year?

The FAFSA is required each year for domestic students.  For international & undocumented applicants, the CSS Profile is only required for your first year of enrollment at Hampshire College; we do not require the form to be submitted after your first year. We do not require the Non-custodial Parent Profile after the first year for international & undocumented applicants.

How is my financial aid determined?

Using data reported on the FAFSA for domestic applicants and the CSS Profile if an international or undocumented applicant, we determine a reasonable family contribution. Financial assistance is based on your financial need, which is defined as the difference between the cost of attendance and what a family is expected to contribute.  

What types of aid are available to me?

Most financial aid recipients receive one or more of the following types of aid: grants, loans, and a work study opportunity. Federal loans are not available for international or undocumented applicants.

Are merit scholarships available?

Merit scholarships are available through the admissions application process. Merit scholarships are good for up to eight semesters.  You do not need to submit the FAFSA or the CSS Profile to be considered for a merit scholarship. 

Does Hampshire College offer matching scholarships?

Hampshire College offers matching grants including the National Service Education Awards (AmeriCorps) and the Yellow Ribbon Awards.

How will I be notified of my financial aid offers?

Most applicants will be notified by email. International applicants will receive a paper notification; this paper aid offer letter will need to be signed by both the applicant and the parent.

Do I need to borrow the federal student loan or accept the work study offer?

Loans and work study offers are optional. You do not need to accept these forms of aid. Instructions on how to decline these offers will be in your financial aid notification.

How do I find information about outside scholarships?

Outside scholarships are a great way to reduce college costs. Investigate local scholarships for your best chance of receiving one.

Is the financial aid process the same at every college?

Yes and no. Colleges must follow the same regulations for federal aid. Institutional aid policies may vary from college to college. Review the aid policies at each college to be informed. 

How much may I borrow in a federal Direct student loan?

A first-year student may borrow up to $5,500 for the year. A second-year student may borrow up to $6,500 for the year. Third and fourth-year students may borrow up to $7,500 each year. There are maximum amounts of subsidized loans per year. A first-year student's loan may be subsidized up to $3,500 for the year; a second-year student's loan may be subsidized up to $4,500 for the year, and third and fourth-year students' loans may be subsidized up to $5,500 for each year. So, if you are a second-year student, your annual limit is $6,500 and your subsidized limit is $4,500. This means that the remaining $2,000 would be unsubsidized. 

What is the difference between subsidized and unsubsidized federal Direct student loans?

Subsidized student loans are not charged interest while you are enrolled in school at least half time. Unsubsidized student loans are charged interest as soon as the College receives funds from your loan.

May a parent borrow a federal loan for educational purposes?

Yes, a parent may apply for a federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) on behalf of their student. A parent may apply for the Parent PLUS loan at The amount of the PLUS loan may cover the difference between the cost of attendance and the amount of financial aid the student is receiving.

What if the Parent PLUS loan is denied for credit reasons?

If the Parent PLUS loan application is denied, then the student may borrow an additional unsubsidized federal Direct student loan. The annual limits for the additional unsubsidized loan is $4,000 for first and second-year students, and $5000 for third and fourth-year students. These additional loans need to fit within the student's cost of attendance; a student is not able to receive more aid, including loans, than the cost to attend the college. The student requests these additional loans through the financial aid office after the PLUS loan application is denied.