Financial Aid Frequently Asked Questions
We know the financial aid process can sometimes seem complicated. To help make sense of this important topic, we've listed some of the most common questions and answers we receive.
What are the required tuition and fees?
Here is a full explanation of our tuition and fees.
What is the Davidson Trust?
In 2007, Davidson announced a groundbreaking policy which eliminated loans from all financial aid packaging, allowing students to graduate debt-free. This policy is known as The Davidson Trust.
Your demonstrated financial need is met entirely with grants and student employment, and you will not be expected to take out a loan as part of your financial aid award package. Of course, you and your family may still elect to take out education loans as a matter of personal financing.
Are merit scholarships offered?
Yes. We award merit-based scholarships to nearly 5% percent of each entering class.
Are there opportunities for student employment?
Student employment positions are offered through numerous on-campus offices, academic departments, and co-curricular programs-from Information Technology Services to the College Union to the Biology Department.
In some cases, we may offer an on-campus job as part of need-based financial aid packaging.
How is financial need calculated?
Within standards set forth by the U.S. Department of Education, we use our own formula to determine eligibility for aid. From the financial information you provide, we calculate your family contribution, subtracting it from the cost of attendance for the academic year.
What factors determine my family contribution?
The size of your family, income, taxes, living costs, assets, number of siblings in college, and, in some cases, other personal or financial circumstances determine your contribution.
Can I estimate what my family might be expected to pay?
Although we have our own formula, which may differ from other estimates, we encourage you to begin the process at the College Board's website. Follow the directions to calculate family contribution, using the institutional formula.
What should I do if I have questions or concerns about my financial aid award?
First, you can always call our office and speak to a financial aid counselor—we are happy to help. Call 704-894-2232.
Davidson is intentional in awarding need-based and merit aid, meeting 100% of calculated financial need. However, in some instances you may submit an online request for a Financial Aid Appeal.
What situations warrant a Financial Aid Appeal?
- An error was made on the FAFSA and/or CSS Profile;
- Your family’s circumstances have changed substantially since the calendar year for which income was reported on the FAFSA and CSS Profile;
- There is something significant and beyond your family’s control that you believe our initial aid decision does not adequately address.
What situations do not warrant a Financial Aid Appeal?
- Negotiating a better offer – we are not able to negotiate; we simply offer need-based aid in response to the information a family supplies regarding income, assets, and who’s in your family’s household;
- Asking that we match an aid award from another school – we do not match aid offers;
- Requesting merit aid – our limited merit funds are awarded independently of the financial aid application process, through a detailed and rigorous effort that is completed prior to financial aid awards being offered each spring;
- Disputing Davidson’s method of determining aid eligibility – we use the CSS Profile and our own carefully developed policies to determine eligibility for institutional aid; in fairness to all applicants, we do not modify our methods to meet individual requests.
When submitting a Financial Aid Award Appeal, please be sure to provide official documentation of your application error or special circumstance – you may securely upload at least one and up to three separate PDFs with the appeal form. Financial Aid staff will begin a review of your request and provide a response within ten business days. Please note that it may take longer if the Financial Aid Office needs additional supporting documentation from you.
Will I get financial assistance every year?
While you must reapply for financial assistance each year, aid is normally renewable for four years, providing you make satisfactory progress toward a degree and your family financial circumstances remain the same.
If I apply for financial aid will it hurt my chances of being admitted?
No. Our admission policy states that your family's ability to pay for your education has no bearing on our admission decision.
If I apply by early decision will I be at a disadvantage in the financial aid process?
No. If you demonstrate need, you will be offered financial aid packages to meet your need whether you were admitted by early decision or regular decision.
Another school has offered me a better financial aid award. Will Davidson match it?
We do not match other schools' financial aid offers. However, we are available to discuss your questions and concerns about your financial aid package. If you believe that we have made an error in our review or if extenuating family circumstances were not revealed in the financial aid application, we encourage you to contact our office.
How do I compare financial aid packages from different colleges?
Look carefully at the types of aid in each package. What is the proportion of grants, loans, and campus employment funds? Compare the total aid package with the total cost of attending the institution. Be aware that some schools only consider your need in light of direct costs, i.e., tuition, fees, room and board; not total costs, including books, transportation, and personal expenses. Our comprehensive fee includes tuition, required student fees (including laundry), room, and board.
If I receive a scholarship or outside award; how will it affect my Davidson financial aid award?
Outside Scholarship Policy:
Students must report all outside scholarships or resources received from organizations or agencies to the Office of Financial Aid. The combination of federal, state, Davidson financial aid and outside scholarships and resources may not exceed the Cost of Attendance. Outside scholarship funds and resources will first reduce or replace Student Employment eligibility ($2,100), and the remainder of the scholarship will then reduce the Expected Family Contribution by up to a maximum of $2,900, annually. Any scholarship or resource in excess of $5,000 will result in the reduction of Davidson College awarded financial aid. This treatment will be applied each year the scholarship or resources is renewed up to a maximum of four years or eight semesters. Students are responsible for completing the Outside Scholarship form and returning it to the Office of Financial Aid by June 1. Please use the official name of the scholarship or awarding organization.
I'd like additional information. Whom may I contact?
We are eager to answer questions about the financial aid process and other means of making Davidson affordable. Please contact our financial aid staff.