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Willamette University

900 State Street
Salem, Oregon 97301

503-370-6300 voice

Financial Aid

One of the most important decisions a student and parents will make is choosing to invest in a college education. This investment will pay dividends throughout the student's personal and professional life after college. When one considers college costs, it is equally important to understand that cost is relative. All college educations are not created equal; Willamette places a premium on small classes and a low student to faculty ratio to offer a more intensive and personalized experience. Students have ready access to faculty members, research and internship opportunities and career advice.

While net cost is likely to be a consideration, it is our hope that families will understand all that an investment in a Willamette education will provide both during the college years and thereafter. Willamette graduates are contributing members of society in many professions and many communities. They are committed to living productive lives of meaning and purpose, and the ways in which they do so are significantly influenced by their Willamette experience.

What resources are available to fund the gap between the expected family contribution and Willamette's cost is a question many families confront in the college selection process. Willamette University will work as a partner with students and parents in the financial aid process. As the primary beneficiary of the investment in a college education, the student and his or her family are expected to assume primary responsibility for financing educational expenses. Financial aid is designed to bridge the gap between the family's expected contribution and what is will cost to attend the University. Willamette is committed to helping families meet college costs with a combination of need-based and merit-based financial assistance.

Determining Financial Need

Willamette University uses data collected from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to calculate the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) for each financial aid applicant and to determine eligibility for both government and University aid funds. The EFC is compared to the total annual costs at Willamette University, which include tuition, fees, room, board, and estimated amounts for books, personal, and travel expenses. For those students with an EFC less than Willamette's costs, financial need exists. If the EFC exceeds the student's annual educational expenses, the student is ineligible for need-based assistance.

The need analysis formula considers parental income and assets as well as such factors as size of the family, age of the parent(s), and the number of children attending college. Also considered are necessary family expenditures such as taxes and standard cost of living. The formula does not consider discretionary expenses, e.g., consumer indebtedness, in its calculation of parental contribution. In addition to the parent contribution, students are expected to contribute toward their college expenses from current income, savings, and any other personal resources such as trust funds.

Application Procedures

  • Apply for admission. No student will be awarded financial aid prior to being admitted to the University. Entering students who have submitted all admission and financial aid materials by February 1 will be given priority consideration for financial aid.
  • File the FAFSA. Applicants for need-based aid must file the FAFSA. The FAFSA should be submitted to the Federal Student Aid processors as soon after the first of January as possible, but no later than February 1 for entering students, and no later than March 1 for returning students. Applicants who file their FAFSAs after these dates will be awarded financial aid if funds are available.

Need-Based Financial Aid Awards

The majority of University grants and scholarships is awarded to students with demonstrated financial need. Although need is one eligibility factor, these scholarships and grants are also awarded in recognition of academic achievement and leadership, based on the information students provide in their Applications for Admission. The FAFSA is the only financial aid application required to be considered for these awards.

Financial aid awards for entering students who have submitted all application and financial aid materials by published deadlines will be mailed beginning April 1st. Admitted students who wish to receive an estimate of their financial aid eligibility prior to that date must file the College Scholarship Service PROFILE by January 1.

Financial aid is generally awarded as a package that includes grants and scholarships, and self-help (campus employment and student loans). Grants and scholarships do not have to be repaid. Campus employment consists of a part-time job for which students are paid monthly based on the hours worked. Student loans, of course, must be repaid, and is most cases, repayment is deferred until after a student graduates.

To accept a financial aid award, a student must return a signed copy of the award letter by the date indicated. An award is not considered accepted unless the student has also confirmed his/her attendance with the nonrefundable Enrollment Deposit. Admission candidates are expected to return both items by the date indicated in the offer of admission.

Merit-Based Scholarships

There are a number of scholarship programs at Willamette for which financial need is not a consideration. Most of these are the result of generous gifts from alumni and friends of the University who have endowed scholarship funds to recognize students whose academic and extracurricular records suggest they will make outstanding contributions to the Willamette University community. In addition to the academic scholarships, Willamette University recognizes students who demonstrate outstanding talent in music, forensics, and theatre by providing merit awards in these performance areas.

Merit scholarship selections are made on a competitive basis. All applicants who complete an applications for admission by the published deadlines receive  automatic consideration for these scholarships. No separate scholarship application is required for most Willamette academic scholarships. University Talent/Scholarship in Forensics, Music and Theatre do require an audition or separate application. In order to recognize as many outstanding students as possible, applicants will be selected for only one Willamette academic scholarship. Students may receive both an academic award and a talent scholarship.


To renew need-based financial assistance (including institutional grants) in subsequent academic years, a student must submit the FAFSA by March 1.   Students who file their renewal FAFSAs late risk being placed on a wait list for financial aid and possibly losing some or all of their University grant or scholarship funds.

First-year students entering Willamette are eligible for eight semesters of need-based financial aid and eight semesters of merit-based aid, as long as the student maintains full-time student status (minimum three credits each semester) and makes satisfactory academic progress as determined by the Academic Status Committee of the University. All academic merit-based scholarships have specific renewal criteria that are outlined in the initial written confirmation of the award sent to the student. In the rare instance of special circumstances that make an additional semester of need-basded financial aid necessary for a student to graduate, the students may appeal for one additional semester of need-based funding.

The amount of a student's merit-based scholarship award will be renewed annually as long as the appropriate GPA requirement is met. Need-based aid eligibility is re-evaluated annually, based on FAFSA data and other documentation as required by the Office of Financial Aid. The amount of Willamette University need-based grant aid may vary with changes in student and family income and assets. Assuming there are no significant changes in the family's financial situation, and assuming that the student meets the published application deadlines, the amount of need-based grant aid that a student receives should remain consistent each year.

Students transferring to Willamette will be notified by the University regarding the number of semesters of merit and need-based aid eligibility once the Office of the Registrar has evaluted which credits will transfer.

Students placed on academic probation by the Academic Status Committee are ineligible for financial aid. Appeals to this policy will be reviewed by the Director of Financial Aid.

Federal and state awards are contingent upon the availability of governmental funding. Willamette University does not guarantee replacement of reduced governmental aid.

Financial Aid From Federal Sources

Eligibility for the following sources of financial aid is determined by a standardized analysis of the information submitted on the FAFSA.

Pell Grant

The Pell Grant is awarded to students with the lowest Expected Family Contributions (EFCs), as determined by the Department of Education.

Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)

This grant is awarded to students with exceptional financial need - that is, students with the lowest EFCs who also receive Federal Pell Grants.

Federal Work-Study (FWS)

Students with financial need generally work an average of 10 hours per week and earn approximately $2,000 annually. Hourly wages vary and depend on the type of work the student is hired to do and the skills required for the job.

Perkins Loan

Students with financial need are automatically considered for this loan during the financial aid review process. Priority is given to students with exceptional need. The current interest rate is five percent. Interest and repayment are deferred until nine months after a student ceases to be enrolled at least half-time.

Stafford Loan

Stafford Loans are either subsidized or unsubsidized. A subsidized loan is awarded on the basis of financial need. The federal government pays all interest on the loan until the student begins repayment. Unsubsidized loans are available to all students regardless of financial need. The student is charged interest from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full. Repayment for the subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford Loans begins six months after the student is no longer enrolled at least half-time. The interest rate is variable.

Financial Aid From State Funds

The Oregon Student Assistance Commission administers state-funded and private awards for Oregon residents who will attend an Oregon college. Unless a student specifically requests otherwise, information for an Oregon resident contained in the FAFSA will automatically be sent to the Oregon Student Assistance Commission to be used in determining a student's eligibility for the following programs:

Oregon State Opportunity Grants

Awards are based strictly on family size, income, and the number of family members attending college.

Private Awards

The Oregon Student Assistance Commission also administers a number of awards funded by private donors. Though many of these awards have some restrictive eligibility requirements, most recognize primarily outstanding academic achievement. In addition to the FAFSA, students are required to submit a separate application to the Oregon Student Assistance Commission by March 1. Applications are available from high school counseling offices or by calling the Commission at 1-800-452-8807. Information may also be obtained by visiting their Web site at