Understanding Your Aid

Financial need is calculated by taking the annual Cost of Attendance and subtracting the “Student Aid Index” as determined by the FAFSA.  (The Student Aid Index was previously known as the Expected Family Contribution.) From there - we build the financial aid offer. This offer is based on the information available at the time of awarding. Olin reserves the right to adjust your financial aid offer if the Department of Education provides updates or changes to your Student Aid Index (SAI) data.

Merit Aid

Olin Tuition Scholarship

The merit-based Olin Tuition Scholarship is awarded to all students and was created to recognize hard work and superior achievement in your pre-college work. This scholarship is one of the pillars of Olin’s commitment to keeping its education affordable.  

The Olin Tuition Scholarship is awarded for a maximum of eight semesters of required full-time study. Anyone permanently disqualified to attend or return to Olin College for academic or disciplinary reasons will forfeit the remaining portion of the scholarship. 

Special Considerations:

  • Full-time Study Away (which requires pre-approval) counts as one of the eight scholarship semesters (the student is maintained as full-time at Olin and is expected to pay Olin tuition after the merit scholarship and any additional costs associated with any such activity at the host institution including any tuition exceeding Olin's, room, board and fees if applicable).

  • For students who leave Olin College during a semester of study (withdrawal or leave of absence), the partial semester counts as one of the eight scholarship semesters.

Payment of full tuition is required for any semester(s) beyond eight before graduation. Olin College provides accommodation for documented disabilities. Exceptions may also be granted in extenuating circumstances.  Petitions to request an exception should be submitted to the Dean of Student Affairs and the Dean of Admission and Financial Aid.  These petitions will be reviewed in collaboration with the Provost. 

While the Olin Tuition Scholarship is awarded independent of financial need, your merit award will be included in the aid provided to meet your financial need. Thus, merit awards are coordinated with other need-based aid to help meet demonstrated financial need and cannot be used to help reduce the family's calculated contribution.  

Olin National Merit Scholarships

National Merit Finalists who win either a National Merit or National Achievement Scholarship from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) or another corporate sponsor can use this scholarship at Olin College. Finalists who designate Olin College as their first-choice college, but do not receive a NMSC or corporate-sponsored scholarship, may be designated as Olin National Merit Scholars. Olin National Merit Scholars receive a $1000 scholarship for four years, funded by Olin College. The student must submit renewal paperwork to National Merit each year for continued eligibility. Eligibility criteria is established and determined by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. 

Need-Based Financial Aid

Our need-based aid programs are funded through grants, scholarships, and need-based federal loans. The Olin Tuition Scholarship, which is awarded based on your admission, is considered part of the resources used to meet your financial need. If you meet eligibility requirements* and demonstrate need beyond that, we will work to meet your full financial need. Need-based funding from Olin is available for eight semesters of required full time study. Olin College provides accommodation for documented disabilities.  Exceptions may also be granted in extenuating circumstances.  Petitions to request an exception should be submitted to the Dean of Student Affairs and the Dean of Admission and Financial Aid.  These petitions will be reviewed in collaboration with the Provost.

* A student must meet all eligibility requirements as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Federal Grants

Eligibility for the Federal Pell Grant is determined by the U.S. Department of Education based on the completion of your FAFSA. Based on 2023-24 data, approximately 13% of full-time students at Olin College are eligible for the Federal Pell Grant. Students who are eligible for the Federal Pell Grant may also be awarded a Federal Supplemental Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) by the school based on available funding.

Olin Need-Based Grants

Olin Need-Based Grant may be awarded to eligible students who demonstrate financial need.

Donor Funded Grants

These awards are designated with the name of the donor and/or are a particular fund established in honor of a person or organization. These funds are awarded annually based on financial need and may be renewable. Eligibility is determined based on the FAFSA and no additional application is necessary.  

R2 Scholarship  

Students who are selected to be an "R2" by Student Affairs and Resources receive a scholarship that is equal to the amount of their room charge. Students are charged for their room, and then receive the equivalent amount in an "R2 Scholarship". Regulations require that, within a need-based aid package, these benefits be counted as a resource to meet a student's financial need. This award does not reduce or assist with the family contribution. The R2 Scholarship is packaged in such a way that it replaces the student contribution or "self-help" component of the student's financial aid offer - similar to an outside scholarship- prior to any reduction in need-based grant. Depending on the individual circumstance, some Olin Need-Based Grant may be replaced, but the total overall package will not be reduced due to a student becoming an R2. 

Outside Scholarships 

Students are required to inform their financial aid office of any grants, scholarships, or benefits received from sources outside the college. Please provide a copy of the scholarship notification as soon as possible. An outside scholarship that is restricted to tuition will reduce your Olin Tuition Scholarship only if it exceeds the remaining tuition.

If you receive Olin need-based grant, you can use your outside scholarships to reduce any of your self-help aid, (subsidized student loans). Due to our policy of meeting full demonstrated financial need, your financial aid package will be at the federal maximum.  If your outside scholarship(s) exceed the amount of need-based self-help aid you were initially awarded, your Olin need-based grant will be reduced to avoid receiving funds in excess of your financial need. Students in this situation could consider requesting to defer an outside scholarship to a later year.

The total amount of outside scholarship is divided equally between the Fall and Spring semesters. Outside scholarships must be reported to the Financial Aid Office annually. We will not automatically renew an award from a previous year without an annual notice from the agency indicating renewal.

Note about taxability of scholarships and grants: Under current Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations, a portion of your grant or scholarship may be considered taxable income, which must be reported on your federal income tax return. IRS regulations consider any amount or combination of scholarship and grant benefits greater than the amount of qualified tuition and fees to be taxable income. In addition, amounts received as payments for teaching, research or other services required as a condition for receiving the scholarship would be considered taxable. The final determination of any tax liability and the payment of tax on your grant/scholarship is your responsibility. If you have questions, you should seek the advice of a qualified tax counsel.  

Federal Student Loans

Olin College expects students to contribute each year to their education. If you demonstrate financial need, the aid offer will include a Direct Subsidized Loan for prior to awarding need-based grant.  

Direct Loan eligibility will be indicated on your financial aid offer and will be denoted as either subsidized or unsubsidized – see below for explanation of the differences. Because this is a loan program – funds must be paid back according to the terms of the loan. If you are a first-time borrower in the Federal Direct Loan program, you must complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Entrance Loan Counseling.

The loan amount on your financial aid offer represents the gross loan amount borrowed. An origination fee will be deducted when the loan is disbursed – refer to your student account statement for the net amount available to assist with your balance. Visit StudentAid.gov for information on interest rates, origination fees, and current terms and conditions and to complete your loan paperwork. 

Approximately 29% of Olin's 2023 graduates utilized federal loan programs with an average cumulative debt of $17,284. Visit StudentAid.gov for information on interest rates and current terms and conditions and to complete your loan paperwork. 

Direct Subsidized Loan: Available to students who demonstrate financial need. The interest on the Subsidized Direct Loan is paid by the federal government while the student is enrolled in school at least half-time.

Direct Unsubsidized Loan: Available to students who do not demonstrate financial need, or whose financial need has been met by other resources (i.e. grants and scholarships). Borrowers are required to either pay the interest as it accrues, or it will be capitalized (added to the principal) into a repayment schedule that starts after graduation.

Direct PLUS Loan: Available to parents of dependent students. PLUS loans help pay for education expenses up to the cost of attendance minus all other financial assistance. Interest is charged during all periods. Families who wish to apply for a PLUS loan are required to submit a FAFSAMore information about current interest rates and terms of the loan can be found at StudentAid.gov. The parent borrower must complete a PLUS loan application and Master Promissory Note (MPN). 

Other Ways to Pay

Not all families apply for or are eligible for need-based aid but are still looking for financing or alternative resources.

Monthly Payment Plan

Olin College participates in a monthly payment plan which allows families to divide the amount they owe the College into monthly payments, rather than paying the full balance on a semester basis. Although the plan has an application fee, it is interest free. More information regarding this option is available from Student Accounts

Alternative Loans

Many families opt to finance the amount they owe through an alternative or private loan. Most educational loans require school certification of enrollment and eligibility. We encourage families to exhaust their Federal Loan eligibility prior to using a higher interest rate funding option. Olin College does not have a preferred lender list for alternative loans; rather we encourage our families to research the loans that best meet their individual needs. Students or parents pursuing alternative loan options will be required to submit a Self-Certification form to the lender prior to obtaining loan approval. Most families using alternative financing apply for a loan during the summer to cover their balance for the entire academic year. This way the loan is in place for both the Fall and Spring billing cycle. If planning to use an outside loan in lieu of payment, pay close attention to the deadlines listed on the billing statement.


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