Aid Policies

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

Eligibility for Aid

Eligibility for assistance is determined at the time of admission.

  • 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 who did not receive need-based financial aid for their first year.
  • Financial aid is not available for students who seek a second bachelor's degree.
  • Domestic students may receive institutional financial aid, if eligible, for up to ten semesters.
  • International students may receive institutional financial aid, if eligible, for up to eight semesters.

The financial aid office communicates with currently enrolled students annually in early spring semester about financial assistance that is available to them. We also send communications to current students who previously received aid to remind them of the financial aid renewal process. International students do not apply for aid after their first year.

Prospective students are directed to the financial aid section of the College's website for information about the financial assistance available to students enrolled at Hampshire College.

Separated, Divorced, or Never Married Parents 

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 may request specific 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. 

High School Diploma or Equivalent

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.

Independent Student Status

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 prior-prior year; for a 2023-24 application, this would be 2021. 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.

Married Students

Students who are married and under 24 years of age must provide proof of their marriage to the Hampshire College office of financial aid. Proof of marriage would be a copy of the marriage certificate. This also applies to students who are legally married but are currently separated.

Deficiency in Family Contribution

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.

Additional Expenses

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.

Self-Help Components of Awards 

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 degree.

How Student's Housing May Affect Financial Aid

The student's cost of attendance and their institutional need-based grant will be reduced if the student is not purchasing the College's FULL meal plan. These changes will occur through October 1 for the fall term and through March 1 for the spring term. No change to the budget or Hampshire Grant will be made if a change to the FULL meal plan purchase happens after these dates.

Students living at home with their parent(s) or family will have a more significant reduction in their cost of attendance and their corresponding Hampshire Grant eligibility. Students planning to commute from home must inform the financial aid office of this living arrangement. Please contact the financial aid office for more details.

Treatment of Private Outside Scholarships

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. In practice, we do not reduce any award for smaller outside scholarships without the student's written request.  For example: if a first year student receives an outside scholarship of $1,000, we do not automatically reduce the student loan. Students may reduce their student loans by requesting it in writing. Larger outside scholarships may result in a student's Hampshire Grant being reduced; see the next paragraph to learn in what situations this may occur.

If the total amount of outside scholarships is more than the student's self-help awards (work-study and federal student loans) the difference will reduce the Hampshire Grant. For example: a first year dependent student receives an outside scholarship of $10,000, the student's self-help awards for the year total $8,800 ($5,500 federal student loans and $3,300 in work-study); the student's Hampshire Grant is reduced by $1,200; the student's self-help awards are not reduced; the student may decide to reduce the self-help awards, but the reduction to the Hampshire Grant will not change. Using this same example, a second year dependent student's Hampshire Grant would be reduced by $200 and a third or fourth year student's Hampshire Grant would not be reduced (a third or fourth year dependent student's self-help awards total $10,800, so no reduction to the Hampshire Grant would be required). 

Student or parent tuition benefits from other educational institutions and payments from student or parent employers will reduce the Hampshire Grant, if awarded, dollar for dollar.

Total aid including grants, outside scholarships, parent tuition benefits, work-study, and loans (federal and private) cannot exceed the student's cost of attendance.

Merit Scholarships

Merit scholarships are determined by the admissions office during the application process.  Any merit scholarship awarded reduces the Hampshire Grant, if eligible. 

Merit scholarships are available up to a maximum of eight (8) semesters of enrollment while at Hampshire College.  If a student completes the program before using the eight semesters of merit scholarship eligibility, the student forfeits any remaining semesters of merit scholarships; any unused merit funds cannot be disbursed during a student's final semester.  If a student requires an additional semester to complete the program, the merit scholarship will not be offered for the ninth or tenth semester but the financial aid office will review the student’s aid application to determine if the student is eligible for increased need-based aid.

Field Study

Please review our policies about field study financial aid.

Study Abroad

Students participating in Hampshire College's exchange programs are eligible for Title IV federal aid as well as state and institutional aid as full-time enrolled students. Students complete the regular financial aid application materials.

Students who enroll in a field study semester and plan to study abroad as part of their experience, may be eligible for Title IV federal aid and other aid depending on the type of field study.  Please refer to the Field Study section on this page for more details.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

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.

If you fail to maintain satisfactory progress, you may re-establish eligibility for financial aid by appealing through the Center for Academic Support and Advising (CASA). You work with an advising dean to develop an approved academic plan that will allow you to meet the standards by the end of the following term. You notify the financial aid office that you accept and understand the terms of the academic plan. At that point, you will be eligible for financial aid for the following term. Your progress will be re-evaluated again at the end of each term until the standards have been met.

How E-Check-In Affects Financial Aid

Students must check in at the beginning of each semester. Financial aid is not disbursed unless a student has checked-in for the respective semester. Federal aid cannot be originated and then disbursed unless the student has checked-in. Learn more about the E-Check-in process and financial aid.

Withdrawing from the College

Review the requirements and procedures to withdraw from Hampshire College. Students who wish to leave school voluntarily must contact the Center for Academic Support and Advising (CASA) to begin the process. Students who need to leave school for a medical reason must contact the College's Health and Counseling Services office to begin the process.

Refund Policy

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 this website: Students must follow the College's procedures for leave of absence or withdrawal

Returning aid and the refund policy schedule may cause a student to have outstanding charges on the student’s College bill that the student or the student’s family will be responsible for paying.

The refund schedule will determine the amount of institutional aid that would be reduced. If the student has Title IV federal aid the amount of this aid that the student may keep is determined by the Return of Title IV Funds process, which is discussed below.

Return of Title IV Funds (Federal aid)

We follow the rules in 34 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Section 668.22 (34 CFR 668.22) when we need to return Title IV funds. Title IV funds (federal aid) are awarded to a student under the assumption that the student will attend school for the entire period for which the assistance is awarded. When a student withdraws, the student may no longer be eligible for the full amount of Title IV funds that the student was originally scheduled to receive.

If a recipient of Title IV grant or loan funds withdraws from Hampshire after beginning attendance for an academic term, the amount of Title IV grant or loan assistance earned by the student must be determined. If the amount disbursed to the student is greater than the amount the student earned, the unearned funds must be returned. If the amount disbursed to the student is less than the amount the student earned, and for which the student is otherwise eligible, she or he may be eligible to receive a post-withdrawal disbursement of the earned aid that was not received.

Returns are applied in the following order as mandated under that methodology: federal student loans; federal PLUS loans; federal grants. 

Part of determining a student’s eligibility is calculating the percentage of the semester the student completed. The formula used to calculate this percentage is:

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 the student’s college bill that the student or the student’s family will be responsible for paying.

Review a summary of The Requirements of 34 CFR 668.22.

Student employment

Active students only may hold a student employment position at Hampshire College.  Students who are on Leave, Exchange, or Field Study may not work for the College.  Students who have graduated or withdrawn may also not hold any student employment position at Hampshire College.  A student employment position includes those which are paid by a stipend.

Please review our policies about student employment.


Your Student Aid Report (SAR) will notify you if you have been selected by the U.S. Department of Education for the process known as verification. Hampshire College may also select you for the verification process. The U.S. Department of Education may select a student based on certain information provided on the FAFSA, or it could be a random selection. Hampshire College may select a student because of inconsistent or conflicting information.

Verification Deadlines: August 1 for those returning or entering for fall term, and January 13 for those returning or entering for spring term. These are our institutional deadlines to submit the documentation to complete the verification process. These dates apply to campus-based aid programs, including Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, Perkins Loans, and Direct Subsidized Loans. A Pell Grant applicant selected for verification must complete the process by the deadline published in the Federal Register or 120 days after the last day of the student's enrollment, whichever is earlier.

Tentative awards pending verification: New students who received a tentative award pending verification may have an adjustment to their aid as a result of the verification. For example, a student may no longer be eligible for a Pell Grant or may now be eligible for a subsidized federal loan. Any changes to one's aid awards as a result of the verification process will be communicated to the student through a revised award notice via email sent to the student's Hampshire email account.

Changes to Federal Aid because of verification: If your Federal Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and your federal aid changes because of the verification process we will send you a revised award notice via email sent to the student's Hampshire email account.

Consequences of failing to complete the verification process: A student cannot avoid verification by accepting only unsubsidized (non-need-based) federal aid. A student will not be eligible for need-based federal aid (Pell, SEOG, Federal Work-Study, and Direct Subsidized Loans), need-based state aid (State Grant), and need-based institutional aid (all versions of the Hampshire Grant and Endowed Scholarships). Hampshire College Merit scholarships would not be affected. 

Referral of Fraud Cases

If we suspect that a student, employee, or other individual has misreported information or altered documentation fraudulently to obtain federal funds, we report our suspicions and provide any evidence to the U.S. Office of Inspector General.

Consumer Information

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.