Jul 22, 2024  
Course Catalog 2016-2017 
Course Catalog 2016-2017 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Financial Aid

Financial Aid

For more than 175 years, Oberlin alumni and friends have generously assisted needy students through gifts and endowed scholarships. The Office of Financial Aid helps qualified applicants who without assistance would be unable to pursue a college education.

Oberlin’s historic dedication to an economically diverse student body results in nearly all funding through our Office of Financial Aid being committed to students and families in financial need.

More than one-fifth of Oberlin’s annual budget goes to scholarship assistance. During the 2015-16 academic year, Oberlin College provided nearly $60 million in financial aid. More than three-quarters of students received a total of approximately $80 million in aid from Oberlin College, federal, state and private sources.

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Application Process


The PROFILE form of the College Scholarship Service (CSS) and Non-custodial parent statement, if applicable, is used to calculate family contributions for all first-time aid applicants. Students must register for the PROFILE in the fall preceding the academic year for which they are applying for aid.

Oberlin’s Office of Financial Aid carefully reviews each PROFILE, frequently revising the CSS evaluation, with particular attention paid to such factors as income and business losses, other family members attending college and family assets.

Students should begin the application process by going to the financial aid office’s web site (www.oberlin.edu/financialaid) and following application instructions and links to appropriate forms. All students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and submit copies of parent and student federal tax returns and w-2’s, along with other requested forms.  Applications for currently enrolled students are available through the Office of Financial Aid in December and are due by late April.

Returning students not currently enrolled or in residence should write to the Office of Financial Aid for a financial aid application. Applications from returning students, including the FAFSA, are due by April 25 for the fall semester and by November 1 for the spring semester.

Students must apply each year for renewal of financial aid. The amount of awards through four years (five years for double-degree students) will reflect changes in Oberlin’s costs as well as changes in the financial profile of the student and family.

The Funding Package


Oberlin evaluates the PROFILE, tax returns and other information to determine financial need, which is the difference between the total cost of attending Oberlin and the ability of the family to contribute to those educational costs. Oberlin College costs include tuition and fees charged to all students, multi-occupancy room and dining, plus an allowance for books and supplies, estimated personal expenses and limited travel.

Oberlin College calculates the amount a family can contribute to a student’s education by examining:

  1. parental income and assets,
  2. benefits, such as those from an employer,
  3. non-custodial information (if applicable),
  4. awards from outside agencies, and
  5. student assets and expected savings from summer employment.

Financial aid is usually awarded to students in a three-part package which consists of:

  1. money earned by the student from campus employment,
  2. education loans taken out by the student, and
  3. outright gifts or grants of scholarship money.


Return of Federal Student Aid – Title IV Refund

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Refund Policy. The College’s policy regarding refunds for students who withdraw before the end of a semester is provided in the Catalog in the Leaves and Withdrawals section under >>Academic Policies .

Financial Aid Refund Policy. Students who receive financial aid and who withdraw before the end of a semester may have a part of their aid refunded to the programs that assisted them The amount to be refunded is prescribed in Section 484B of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended.

The amount of federal grant or loan assistance to be returned is calculated on the basis of the amount of aid the student has “earned.” This amount is calculated by: (a) determining the percentage of the semester that was completed as of the date of withdrawal if the percentage is no more than 60 percent , otherwise 100 percent of aid is deemed to be “earned;” and (b) multiplying the percentage determined in (a) by the amount of federal grant and loan assistance that was disbursed or could have been disbursed to the student or on the student’s behalf for the semester, as of the student’s date of withdrawal.

If the student received grant or loan assistance equal to the amount “earned,” no federal funds must be returned.

If the student received less grant or loan assistance than the amount “earned,” the College must follow federal regulations for “late disbursement” of grant and/or loan funds. 

If the student has received more grant or loan assistance than the amount “earned,” as calculated in (b), the excess must be returned by the College or the student to the federal grant and loan programs in the following sequence:

  •  Unsubsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loans
  •  Federal Direct Stafford Loans (subsidized)
  •  Federal Perkins Loans
  •  Federal Direct PLUS loans
  •  Federal Pell Grants
  •  Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants
  •  Other Higher Education Act, Title IV, programs (excluding Federal Work-Study)

The College is responsible for returning the lesser of (1) the amount of federal grant and loan assistance awarded that has not been “earned” by the student, or (2) an amount equal to institutional charges incurred by the student for the semester multiplied by the “unearned” percentage of grant and loan assistance (that is, 100 percent minus the “earned” percentage determined above). 

The student is responsible for returning federal grant and loan assistance not earned by the student minus the amount the College is responsible for returning, as calculated in the preceding paragraph. The student (or the parent, in the instance of Federal PLUS loans) must repay federal loans under the terms of the loan program and must return grant funds subject to repayment arrangements satisfactory to the College or the overpayment collection procedures prescribed by the U.S. Department of Education.

Eligibility for Scholarship Aid


Matriculating first-time undergraduate students may apply for assistance for eight semesters (10 semesters for double-degree students). Transfer student eligibility will be prorated based on their class standing at the time of matriculation. All students must be enrolled in an academic program leading toward their undergraduate degree (or degrees, if part of Oberlin’s double degree program), and show satisfactory progress toward the completion of degree requirements, as determined by the Academic Standing Committee of each division.

Students receiving Oberlin merit scholarships must be full-time and in good social and academic standing to be eligible for the award.  Students in their senior year who have permission to be part-time will have their scholarship prorated based on the number of credit hours.

Other Sources of Funding


Eligible students can avail themselves of the National Merit Scholarships, the National Achievement Scholarships, the Ohio state Grant(s) and other outside scholarships offered by local foundations, clubs and business organizations.

Oberlin College sponsors a number of National Merit Scholarships, in amounts ranging from $1,000 to $2,500. Finalists in the National Merit Scholarship program competition are eligible for consideration for Oberlin-sponsored National Merit Scholarships if they (a) declare Oberlin as their first-choice college; (b) have filed an application for admission to Oberlin College; and (c) have not been selected as winners of other National Merit or Corporate National Merit Scholarships.

Scholarships and grants do not have to be repaid.

Combining Sources of Assistance


Various kinds of financial assistance from agencies other than Oberlin College are considered in calculating a student’s financial award to ensure availability of assistance to as many eligible students as possible. Consequently, all students are asked to apply for all federal and state grants for which they may be eligible. Should they receive assistance from public or private agencies, students must notify Oberlin’s Office of Financial Aid. This applies even if assistance is received after the financial aid application is completed or after an Oberlin award is made. 

Special Note regarding GLCA and parent employer tuition benefit: Families must notify the Office of Financial Aid of such benefits even if the student is not a financial aid applicant. Oberlin reserves the right to reduce or cancel any previously awarded merit or need-based grant once we are notified of GLCA or parent employer tuition benefit.

Parent Loans


Loans to parents, including the Federal Direct Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS), are available. Information about these loans, which usually carry lower interest rates, may be obtained from the US Department of Education. Additional information may be found on the the Oberlin College Financial Aid web site (www.oberlin.edu/financialaid).

International Applicants


Oberlin is a leader in offering financial aid to the most highly qualified international applicants. The amount of aid is determined solely on the basis of the student’s financial need. Before a visa is issued, all international students who request financial aid are asked to show evidence of having resources equal to the difference between Oberlin’s cost and the financial-aid package for each year they will be in the United States. For additional information regarding international student financial aid, please contact the Office of Admissions.

For additional information about need-based financial aid at Oberlin, please contact the Office of Financial Aid by telephone at 800-693-3173, by e-mail financial.aid@oberlin.edu, or on the web at www.oberlin.edu/financialaid.