This is an update of Maury‘s update of fern‘s post.
While we attempt to provide as much relevant and up-to-date information as possible please do not make decisions based on what you read here. All the most correct and comprehensive information will be found on Wesleyan’s Financial aid website. This article should only be used as a map to understand and point you towards relevant financial aid information. If you have any questions about financial aid contact the financial aid office using the contact information on their website.
This is part of our 2021 Unofficial Orientation Series. A quick reminder that you can check out the welcome post here and past years’ series here.
With a price tag of $85,202 for first years, $84,902 for sophomores and $85,628 for upperclassmen, there is no doubt that financial aid is a massive topic. In this article, we’ll try to spell out as much as possible and leave the relevant links so that you can have some understanding of how to go about making sense of financial aid.
Hopefully, you already know most of the stuff we’ll tell you here, especially given that the finaid deadlines have passed for this year. However, I’ll lay it for future reference.
It’s worth noting that financial aid is completely need-based, the office does not offer any merit scholarships. That being said, Wesleyan offers the Hamilton Prize in which new students can submit a piece of writing (“fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, or other creative written expression” as the website says). The grand prize winner is granted a 4-year full-tuition scholarship and in each of the other categories (out of prose, poetry/song, screenplay/playwriting) an honorable mention is chosen to win a $5,000 stipend. Wesleyan also offers the Freeman Asian Scholarship Program which offers a merit-based full-tuition scholarship to one student from each of the following countries: People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.
If you’re looking to find an estimate of how much Wesleyan will expect you to pay they offer a handy calculator. In the most basic sense financial aid is calculated by what is called “demonstrated need”. What that boils down to is (cost of attendance) – (the amount of money Wesleyan/the government think you can afford to pay).
The first thing you need to do is apply for financial aid. The process and deadlines change depending on who you are (i.e. a first-year student, a first-year international student, gap-year, returning student, etc.). You’ll find all the most up to date information on how to apply depending on who you are on Wesleyan’s financial aid website.
If you’re an undocumented or DACA student the process is similar, but you do not fill out the Federal Aid Application (FAFSA).
Using Outside Scholarships
If you’re receiving outside scholarships Wesleyan replaces your “self-help” portion of the financial aid package (this means the work-study and loans) with the money you’re receiving from your outside scholarship.
If your outside scholarship exceeds the “self-help” portion of your package then you can contact the financial aid office to have the amount put towards the school’s health insurance or towards a one-time laptop purchase (up to $1500).
If your outside scholarship still exceeds these amounts the financial aid office says that your Wesleyan scholarship will be adjusted “dollar for dollar”. Basically they won’t let the amount of money you’re getting from them plus any outside amount exceed the cost of attendance.
Part of your finaid package might include work-study. In your award letter, you will be given an amount of money that Wesleyan expects you to pay towards tuition from your work-study. However, wages from work-study jobs are paid to your own bank account and do not automatically go towards tuition.
Not all campus jobs are exclusively work-study. Even if work-study is not part of your financial aid package or you do not have financial aid you can get a job on campus. More on that in our article on student jobs.
Financial Aid Under COVID
If COVID-19 has effected your financial resources, the financial aid FAQ can point you to resources to help.