Family Responsibility

Parent Contribution

Like most colleges, Williams believes that families 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, family size, number of siblings enrolled as undergraduates in college, and other factors, such as extended unemployment or unusual medical expenses. That gives us a picture of how much we can reasonably expect your parent(s) to contribute to the cost of your education, and how much we can expect you, the student, to contribute.

The college 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. So, changes in family circumstances from one year to the next may increase or lower the parent contribution.

You’ll need to inform our office of any significant changes in your family’s financial circumstances as they occur. These changes, or failure to report them, may impact your financial aid package in the current or upcoming 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 include but are 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
  • new or previously unreported outside scholarships
  • parent’s retirement or loss of employment

You can estimate your expected family contribution using the Williams Net Price Calculator.

Student Contribution

The college believes that students benefit from contributing financially to their Williams education. So we expect you to contribute in an important and meaningful way through your own assets, summer and campus earnings, and in some cases a student loan.

Expected Student Contributions
Summer Earnings* Campus Job Student Loan
Class of 2020 $1,950 $2,700 $0-$4,000
Class of 2021 $1,950 $2,700 $0-$4,000
Class of 2022 $1,950 $2,700 $0-$4,000
Class of 2023** $1,500 $2,700 $0-$4,000

* These amounts are reduced for students with low parent contributions.
** Entering the college as first time attendees.

Summer Earnings

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.

Beginning with the 2019-2020 academic year, all students receiving grant from the college are eligible for one summer “free” from an earnings contribution. In addition, students can still petition to have their contribution waived for one additional summer under certain circumstances.