Award Notification | Award Packaging | Book Grant | Changes in Family Circumstances | Computer Loan | Contact Information | Family Responsibility | Federal Regulations | Living Off Campus | Other Scholarships and Grants | Sibling Enrollment Verification | Study Away | Summer Earnings Petition | Taxability of Scholarships / Grants
Returning students are notified of their financial aid eligibility for the following academic year in mid-July. Early Decision candidates receive an estimated notice in mid-December and a final notice in late May. Regular Decision candidates receive notice in early April. These time frames assume that you applied by our published deadlines and resolved any subsequent requests in a timely manner. In mid-July, award information is available for viewing in PeopleSoft > Student Services Center > Finances > View Financial Aid.
If no financial aid information is available for view in your PeopleSoft account, that may indicate that your financial aid application is incomplete. Check the status of your application in PeopleSoft > Student Services Center > To Do list. If any item remains outstanding, promptly follow the instructions provided in your To Do list. Once we receive the requested materials, we will review your application in the order in which it was received.
While reviewing your financial aid award, keep in mind that it is not your term bill. If you would like help understanding your award, or would like us to revisit our analysis, please contact us by phone, email, or letter. Please provide your name, class year, and Williams ID number in your communication. Your financial aid officer will discuss matters with you as soon as he or she reviews your financial aid application.
Your financial need is calculated using a simple formula:
Academic Year Budget – Family Resources = Financial Need
Once we determine your need, we create a financial aid package to meet that need. Campus employment is awarded first, followed by a student loan. The remainder of your need is met with Williams scholarship. Refer to Other Scholarships and Grants for additional packaging policies. Classes 2013 and 2014 have been grandfathered with a “no-loan” package; so, these students will be awarded campus employment but no loan – unless they study away. Submit the Financial Aid Review Form to request specific revision(s) to your award.
The Williams book grant is awarded to financial aid students and pays for the actual cost of required textbooks, course packets, and studio art fees for all enrolled classes. “Enrolled classes” refer to any course taken on a graded or pass/fail basis, including independent study, honor or thesis, Bennington College, or Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts courses. At this time, books recommended by professors and materials for an audited course are not covered by the book grant. You are the owner of the books you purchase; so, the decision to retain, sell, or donate books after use is entirely up to you. The book grant is not available to students who study away, including the Williams Mystic and Williams-Exeter Programme at Oxford.
Your academic year budget (which is provided in your award notice) includes an estimate of $800 for books and supplies. In turn, an estimated book grant of $800 is included in your award to offset this. Rest assured that your actual grant will cover the actual cost of your eligible purchases whether it totals $252, $800, $1,378, etc. Students purchase books at the Water Street Books store using their Williams ID cards (the book grant will not work anywhere else, including online venues such as Water Street Books online, Amazon.com, etc.). Shortly afterward, your book charges will be applied to your Williams student account. A week or so after the drop/add period is over, your book grant will be applied to your student account, and it will equal the exact amount of the charge for your required textbooks and course packets.
Changes in Family Circumstances
Students are expected to inform our office of any significant changes in their family’s financial circumstances as they occur. These changes, or failure to report them, may impact your financial aid package in the current or following academic year. You may report or update information in Section P of the CSS Financial Aid PROFILE or write to us directly.
Examples of significant changes are as follows but not limited to:
- an increase or decrease in income or assets of greater than $3,000
- changes in a sibling’s reported undergraduate school enrollment
- outside scholarships not previously reported to the Office of Financial Aid
- parent’s retirement or loss of employment
You may borrow a student loan once for the purchase of a computer (excluding non-computer items/accessories, such as iPods, carriers, etc.). The loan may not exceed your loan eligibility and cannot exceed $2,000. The loan is subject to the same terms and conditions that apply to student loans borrowed for any other purpose. You are encouraged to apply for a computer loan after you arrive on campus in August or September and have assessed your computing needs. Visit our office to pick up a Computer Loan Request Form.
If you need to send correspondence or documentation directly to our office, please write your name, class year, and Williams ID on everything you submit. Do not write your Social Security Number. It is not necessary to send any documents by overnight mail or special delivery. Send to:
Office of Financial Aid Williams College P.O. Box 37 Williamstown, MA 01267
Emails may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Williams College commits to meeting 100% of every student’s demonstrated financial need for four years. Using Institutional Methodology (IM) and in accordance with sound practices of professional judgment, we attempt to accurately and fairly assess a family’s financial strength and its ability to contribute to educational costs while determining the parent responsibility and student responsibility. Every effort is made to treat comparable family situations alike.
Like most colleges, Williams believes that parents have a primary obligation in meeting the costs of undergraduate education and that the college’s financial resources should be used to assist students whose families cannot afford these costs. Therefore, the college normally does not acknowledge a student’s financial independence. Both parents, regardless of their marital or legal status, are expected to help with college costs according to their financial ability.
Williams determines parent contributions using a consistent evaluation of parents’ income and assets, including home equity. The EFC that is reported on the FAFSA is an index of eligibility for federal funds; it has no relation to to the total resources calculated by our Williams College analysis, which is based on actual tax return and wage statement data; information from the CSS Financial Aid PROFILE; and supplementary documents. The college also closely reviews applications involving divorced or separated parents, siblings attending lower cost undergraduate programs, enrolled as less than full-time undergraduate students, or enrolled in graduate programs. Financial aid eligibility is evaluated annually; therefore, changes in family circumstances from one year to the next may impact the parent contribution.
Mid-Year Review: If you report special family circumstances that prompt us to base the parent contribution on expected 2012 income, then we will review your case again in January 2013 with an update of your parent’s actual 2012 income from all sources. This means the parent contribution has the potential to increase or decrease during the middle of the academic year, or it may remain the same. If actual 2012 income is greater than estimated, your Williams Scholarship will be reduced for both the fall and spring semesters. You and your parent(s) will be responsible for paying the resulting balance due on your student account. A worksheet with instructions will automatically be mailed to your parent(s) in late December to start the mid-year review process; however, if there is a change in your parent’s projected income prior to year-end, please notify our office immediately instead of waiting for our worksheet.
The college believes that students benefit from contributing financially to their Williams education; so, it expects you to contribute in an important and meaningful way through the “self-help” component of your award package. “Self-help” consists of your student contribution (i.e., summer income), campus job, and student loan.
|Summer Income*||Campus Job||Student Loan|
|Class of 2013||$1,950||$2,100||N/A|
|Class of 2014||$1,950||$2,100||N/A|
|Class of 2015||$1,950||$2,100||$0-$4,000|
|Class of 2016||$1,500||$1,800||$0-$4,000|
* These amounts are reduced for students with low parent contributions.
The student income contribution is one component of the expected family contribution (EFC). Williams calculates a standard expectation from students based on their class year; it does not use actual summer income data to compute these amounts. First-year students are perceived to have less earning power than returning students; hence, the college calculates a lower expectation from them. See Summer Earnings Petition regarding a one-time reduction or waiver of your student income contribution.
Like the student income contribution, campus employment amounts are calculated by the college and are based on class year. They are considered reasonable work limits that allow students to contribute financially toward their education without interfering with their studies or involvement in extracurricular activities. In order to earn the offered amounts, you will need to work about 7-8 hours per week throughout the academic year. Generally, we do not allow students to earn over their offered amount, which means you should take care to schedule your work hours so that you will not exceed your limit. However, if you have financial need to work more, schedule an appointment with us to discuss your situation.
Beginning with the incoming Class of 2015 (entering in the fall of 2011), a student loan expectation of $4,000 will be included in most financial aid awards. If total parent income (as determined by the Office of Financial Aid) is less than $75,000 and the family has assets typical for this income, the loan expectation is zero. Some students whose total parent income is greater than $75,000 will be eligible for a reduced loan amount (less than $4,000) based upon their families’ level of need.
However, students may borrow more than the amount of their loan expectation to purchase a computer, to replace campus employment, or to make up a student contribution/summer income shortfall. Those with federal financial need may borrow a “subsidized” loan (no payments, no interest until after graduation) plus an additional unsubsidized amount. Students without federal need may borrow an “unsubsidized” loan (interest accrues immediately). Federal loan maximums are: first-years $5,500, sophomores $6,500, and juniors and seniors $7,500.
Don’t want to borrow? Don’t want to work?
You are not required to accept the campus employment or student loan in order to receive your Williams Scholarship, but note that Williams will not replace them with additional grant. You and your parents are expected to make up any shortfall. First-year students may accept or decline their campus employment and student loan on a form we will mail in our June welcome packet. Sophomores, juniors, and seniors wishing to decline should complete the Financial Aid Review Form; otherwise, do nothing and we will assume you accept your financial aid award as offered.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.
Impact of Drug Conviction on Federal Financial Aid Eligibility
Under the Higher Education Act, a student may become ineligible for federal student aid if convicted of possession and/or the sale of illegal drugs while enrolled as a student and receiving federal aid. Additional information can be found on this information sheet.
Most male students must register with Selective Service in order to receive federal student aid. If you are a male (age 18-25) and not registered with Selective Service, select Register Me while completing your FAFSA and Selective Service will register you. You can also register over the Internet at www.sss.gov.
If you believe that you are not required to register with Selective Service, you should call the Selective Service office at 1-847-688-6888 for information regarding exemptions or visit the Selective Service Web site at www.sss.gov.
Social Security Administration
The U.S. Department of Education verifies your Social Security Number (SSN) as reported on your FAFSA against your records on file with the Social Security Administration (SSA). If the SSN you report exactly matches the number on your Social Security card but you receive a FAFSA rejection error stating it does not exactly match your records on file with the SSA, you must contact the SSA at 1-800-772-1213.
We verify the financial aid application of every student applying for aid. Verification is a federal review process by which we compare information from your FAFSA with your federal income tax information and other financial documents.
Your taxable income must be verified by using the FAFSA’s IRS Data Retrieval Tool or by comparing it to an IRS tax transcript. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool allows you and your parent(s) to upload data from your filed federal tax returns at the time you complete your FAFSA. It’s fast and easy; therefore, you are strongly encouraged to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. If you choose not to use it, you must manually enter this income information into your FAFSA and submit an IRS tax transcript. It can take several weeks for the IRS to process your request, which will delay the processing of your financial aid application. We cannot issue your financial aid award without it.
We verify your untaxed income using your CSS Financial Aid PROFILE, federal income tax return, income tax statements (i.e., Forms W-2, 1099-SSA, 1099-MISC, etc.), and the Federal Verification Worksheet. If we need additional documentation, we will request it at the time we review your FAFSA.
The federal verification process may require us to make corrections to your FAFSA, in which case you will be notified by the U.S. Department of Education. Corrections will be denoted by an asterisk on your online FAFSA.
If you only apply for a Direct Stafford Loan and the federal processor randomly selects your FAFSA for verification, you may be required to submit supporting documentation. We will contact you directly if documentation is needed.
Living Off Campus
Your academic year budget will be calculated using the same room and board charges for students who live on campus. Williams assumes that your costs for rent, utilities, and food will be similar, if not the same, as the cost of Williams room and board. Since Williams will not bill you for room and board (unless you contract for a reduced meal plan), your financial aid credits may be greater than your term bill charges, in which case your student account will net a credit balance. This is not the case for many students; but if it is yours, make arrangements with the Bursar’s Office to receive a refund. In most cases, the reduction of your term bill charges means that your parents will give you the funds to cover your rent, utilities, and food costs rather than paying this money to Williams.
Your 2012-13 academic year budget allows for $6,010 in housing expense for a 9-month period (September to May), which means approximately $668 per month is available for rent and utilities. Likewise, your budget allows for $5,840 in food expense, or $649 per month or $162 per week. Staying within these expense guidelines will ensure that your financial aid award is adequate to meet your needs. Additional Williams scholarship is not available if living off campus proves more expensive than living on campus; however, more loan or campus employment may be available.
Other Scholarships and Grants
Federal regulations mandate that no student’s total award may exceed his or her established need for assistance, which means any grant or scholarship you receive must first reduce your Williams financial aid package before it would reduce your expected family contribution. Federal and state grants are considered entitlement grants and will be fully subtracted from your Williams scholarship. Scholarships and prizes not based on entitlement will first reduce your campus employment and/or student loan, then your Williams scholarship.
You are expected to notify our office of all scholarships, prizes, and/or grants that you receive and to initiate or renew all local, regional, or national scholarships. Residents of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont need to apply for their state grants by the applicable deadlines: Williams will not provide scholarship to replace the loss of a state grant due to a late application, which means your financial aid will be reduced by the amount of your state grant. Generally, state scholarships will not be included in your award until we receive an official roster from your state. In most cases, rosters are not received until late August or September.
If you have a scholarship payment, please forward it to our office. If the awarding organization requires a billing statement or other verification from Williams, send a copy of the organization’s request to our office.
Sibling Enrollment Verification
The number of dependent children enrolled in qualifying degree programs significantly affects the calculation of your parent contribution; therefore, both the FAFSA and PROFILE ask you to report any siblings enrolled in qualifying degree programs. In most cases, if one or more of your siblings is enrolled in an undergraduate program, your parent contribution will be less than if only you are enrolled at Williams.
We ask students and their siblings to complete the Sibling Enrollment Verification Form each year to ensure you are receiving the appropriate amount of aid.
Study away programs such as Williams-Exeter Programme at Oxford, Williams-Mystic, Twelve College Exchange, or any other program approved by the Committee on Academic Standing (CAS) may be funded in part or in full with Williams and federal financial aid.
Students planning to study away for the entire academic year or for one semester must adhere to the following requirements to receive financial aid for their study away program:
- Review financial aid guidelines for study away;
- Attend the annual Financial Aid for Study Away information session in February; and
- Complete and submit the Study Away Budget Proposal, attaching official documentation of program expenses.
Summer Earnings Petition
If you will not earn your summer income contribution due to one of the following, you may apply for a one-time summer income reduction:
- Internships (on-campus internship/research or Mead, Mellon, Alumni, Williams Traveling Fellowship, and certain other competitive internships)
- Volunteer Public Service Position
- Williams Course Deficiency requiring summer make-up (first-years only and requires approval by the Registrar’s Office)
- Change in majors/field of study requiring summer study (sophomores & juniors only and requires approval by Dept. Chair and the Registrar’s Office)
Detailed information is provided in this information sheet. If you believe you are eligible for a reduction, complete the Summer Earnings Petition Form and submit it to our office by May 10, 2013, the last day of classes. You will be notified by June 1 if your petition has been approved or denied.
Taxability of Scholarships and Grants
The Tax Reform Act of 1986 specifies that scholarship amounts granted … for expenses incurred … are taxable income, if the aggregate scholarship … amounts … exceed tuition and fees (not including room and board), books, supplies, and equipment required for courses of instruction at [an eligible] institution.
Any general scholarship or grant aid that is received in a calendar year may be regarded as first applying toward excludable expenses (i.e., tuition, required fees, and required books, supplies, and equipment) even though family resources, loans, or student employment may in fact have initially paid those expenses. You should retain records (e.g., copies of relevant bills, receipts, checks) to document your excludable expenses. If you receive general scholarship or grant aid in excess of the cost of tuition, fees, and books, the excess amount is taxable. In addition, specific scholarships or grants (e.g., health insurance grants) that are directed toward expenses other than tuition, fees, and books are subject to taxation.
Other forms of financial aid — loans and student employment — are not covered by these provisions of the tax law. Earnings from student employment, of course, are taxable as wages, as is any summer stipend you may have received from the college. If you had any campus earnings during 2012, a W-2 form was issued by the Williams College payroll department and is available to download from your PeopleSoft account. If you had a taxable summer stipend, a 1099 was issued by the Williams College Controller’s Office.
The worksheet will help you determine the amount of taxable scholarship or grant aid you may have received in 2012. Note that the terms referred to are for the spring and fall semesters of 2012, not the fall and spring semesters of 2012-13. If you no longer have copies of your award notice(s) that cover these periods, you can view (and print) them from your PeopleSoft account (Finances > View Financial Aid).
Also note that the information used in preparing Form 1098-T, related to tuition tax credits, is for billed tuition and scholarship and grant aid applied to your student account during calendar year 2012. You should not use Form 1098-T to calculate your taxable scholarship and grant aid.
If you are a United States citizen or permanent resident completing an income tax return and you had taxable scholarship and grant aid, enter the amount of taxable aid to the left of the entry box for “wages, salaries, and tips” with the annotation “SCH” – for example, “SCH $5,000.” Include this amount with your wages, salaries, and tips in your entry for line 1 in Form 1040EZ or line 7 in either Form 1040A or Form 1040.
For further information, you may find IRS publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education, useful. Information, forms, and publications are also available from the IRS Web site, www.irs.gov, or by calling 800-829-3676. In addition, the IRS has a toll-free number, 800-829-1040, to provide help in completing tax returns.