Davidson College aims to be consistent, equitable, sustainable and transparent in administering students' financial aid from all available sources. The institutional, federal and other policies noted here are reflective of that effort.


Student Eligibility for Financial Aid

Aid is generally renewable for four years, provided you meet Satisfactory Academic Progress and your financial and family circumstances remain the same. Explore the topics below for policies related to student aid eligibility.

Eight Semesters of Financial Aid

For those who are both financially and academically eligible (see Determining Calculated Need and Satisfactory Academic Progress, respectively, found elsewhere on this page), the Financial Aid Office is able to provide institutional financial aid for up to eight semesters of enrollment. If a ninth semester of support is required, a student must contact the Financial Aid Office to request the additional term of assistance. A ninth-semester appeal, while not guaranteed, can be approved in certain circumstances (e.g., student illness, etc.). If a tenth semester of support is required, no institutional aid can be provided; however, the Financial Aid Office is able to assist in processing aid from federal or other sources.

Financial Aid for International Students

Financial aid is available for international students applying under either the early or regular decision admission plan but is not available for those applying as transfer students.

Although not need blind for international students, Davidson commits to meeting 100 percent of the calculated financial need for those who are both admitted and eligible for support. Financial aid is limited and competitive. International students seeking financial assistance must apply for aid at the time of applying for admission, and by the deadlines indicated. No assistance can be made available for international students applying for financial aid after the admission decision has been made.

Financial Aid for Transfer Students

Transfer students are eligible to apply for Davidson College institutional aid for a total of up to eight semesters of enrollment based on the number of semesters they have been enrolled in higher education—not only at Davidson, but at any college or university—since graduating from high school. 

Any semester of dual, or concurrent, enrollment (in both high school and college simultaneously) is not counted for this purpose. Students who are unable to graduate in a total of eight semesters may appeal for an additional semester of institutional aid. For guidance regarding 9th-semester appeals, please review the above section on Eight Semesters of Financial Aid.

Financial Aid for Undocumented Students

Davidson College welcomes applications from undocumented students. Such students apply as domestic students but are not required to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), as they are not eligible to receive federal aid. Undocumented students are, however, required to submit all other financial aid application materials. If admitted and financially eligible for assistance, the student’s calculated need will be met with a combination of institutional grants and (for those eligible to work in the U.S.) a student employment opportunity. If a student is not eligible to work in the U.S., grant aid will be increased to replace the loss of a work opportunity.

Verification of High School Graduation or the Equivalent

Davidson College verifies the successful completion of high school for every student who enrolls. After they have been admitted to Davidson, students are notified that the College requires an official final transcript from their high school or school counselor, showing final grades and notice of graduation. After admitted students pay their enrollment deposit, reminder notifications are sent throughout the summer to those who have not yet submitted this document, and they can track when their final transcript is received via their enrollment checklist on the admitted-student portal. 

Students who have not submitted the final transcript prior to their arrival on campus are informed that they are not allowed to move into the residence halls or begin classes until the College has received the official transcript showing high school completion (graduation). 

For transfer students, an official final high school transcript showing the graduation date is required for admission consideration.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is defined as the successful completion of coursework toward an eligible certificate or degree.

In accordance with federal regulations, the Financial Aid Office monitors the academic progress of all students receiving financial aid. Davidson students who are not meeting either SAP or the terms of an approved academic plan do not receive federal, state, or institutional aid through the college.


Determining Calculated Need

Within the standards set by the U.S. Department of Education, we use our own formula to determine eligibility for institutional aid. From the financial information provided on the FAFSA and the CSS Profile, we calculate an expected family contribution (EFC); then we determine calculated need by subtracting the EFC from the Cost of Attendance (tuition, housing, food, books and supplies, transportation, and miscellaneous personal expenses ). 

Explore the topics below for policies related to determining financial need.

Financial Aid Application Process

Students applying for financial aid from federal and/or state sources must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students applying for Davidson’s need-based financial aid must submit the CSS Profile, personal tax materials, and certain other required documents. Regardless of the type of aid requested, it is very important to meet all application deadlines to maximize eligibility for support.

Role of Parent(s) in the Financial Aid Application Process

It is Davidson’s philosophy that parents have primary responsibility to pay for college for their children, to the extent of their ability to contribute.  Thus, both of a student’s biological or adoptive parents, if living, will be asked to participate in the financial aid application process.

Domestic students who are unable to submit their noncustodial parent's information should complete the Noncustodial Parent Waiver Petition, which can be found on our Financial Aid Forms web page. Domestic students for whom neither parent is providing support should review the information regarding Unusual Circumstances (Dependency Override) Appeals, found elsewhere on this page. International students with concerns regarding a parent’s participation in the financial aid application process should contact the Admission Office.

If needed, you may use the button provided above to access the Noncustodial Parent Waiver Petition on our Financial Aid Forms web page.


Incomplete Financial Aid Applications

Davidson is able to assess a student’s eligibility for financial aid only if all required financial aid application materials are submitted. Additionally, because we commit to releasing a student’s financial aid offer at the time of the admission decision, it is important that application materials be submitted by published deadlines—late applications will incur a financial penalty, described elsewhere on this page. Further, if a first-year or transfer applicant’s financial aid application remains incomplete after the posted deadline, lack of completion may potentially be viewed by the Admissions Committee as reflecting a lack of interest in Davidson.

Students who encounter difficulties in submitting their materials are strongly encouraged to use the link provided to contact the Financial Aid Office well in advance of the application deadline, to discuss their situations. We are happy to offer guidance and, where possible, alternatives. 

Cost of Attendance

Annually, Davidson College sets students’ Cost of Attendance (COA), taking into account federal regulations as well as institutional policies and resources. A student’s COA is meant to reflect the student’s realistic costs for a specific academic year. It includes both fixed, billed costs and estimated, non-billed costs. 

Using the link provided, explore information related to Davidson’s costs for tuition, housing, meal plans and more, broken down by grade level, home location, and living situation. 

Cost of Attendance Adjustments

Although most students find that their education-related expenses can be accommodated within their basic Cost of Attendance (COA), there may be unusual costs that exceed the relevant allowance for a particular expense category.

The Cost of Attendance (COA) Adjustment Request process allows Davidson’s Financial Aid Office to review additional educational expenses incurred during a student’s period of enrollment, to determine if the COA can be increased to accommodate the extra costs. This may allow a student to use outside resources or additional loan eligibility to cover these expenses.

Students need to incur expenses before costs will be taken into account; and for any given student, adjustment requests will ordinarily be processed only once per semester.

Unusual Circumstances (Dependency Override) Appeals

In extenuating circumstances, a student may appeal to the Financial Aid Office to exercise professional judgment by considering the student to be independent even if they do not meet the standard dependency criteria found on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). An institution’s decision to override a student’s initial dependency status must be made on a case-by-case basis, justified by an individual student’s unusual circumstances, and documented in the student’s file.  Parents’ unwillingness to pay for college does not, by itself, warrant a dependency override.  

Appeals may be denied, approved for federal aid eligibility only, or approved for both federal and institutional aid eligibility.

Change in Student's Marital Status

Davidson College does not adjust eligibility for institutional financial aid due to a student’s choice to get married. Generally, students who initially applied for financial aid as dependents of their parents and who choose to get married while enrolled at Davidson will continue to be assessed the same family contribution both before and after their marriage.

Financial Aid Appeals

Eligibility for financial aid is typically determined based on a student’s financial aid application materials alone—domestic students submit a financial aid application annually, while international students submit an aid application once, when applying for admission.  In certain cases both domestic and international students may find that it is appropriate to submit a financial aid appeal. 

Explore our financial aid appeal process and learn whether your situation might warrant an appeal.


How Need Is Met

At Davidson, need is met through a combination of grants, scholarships, and student employment. While Davidson’s financial aid packages do not initially include a loan, students and families have the option to borrow as a means of managing some or all of the assessed family contribution. 

Explore the topics below for policies related to meeting calculated need.

Commitment to Affordability: Meeting Calculated Need

We proudly stand as one of only two dozen schools in the United States that admit students without regard for their family's ability to pay, meet 100 percent of calculated need, and do so without loans in their aid package. 

An admitted student's calculated financial need is met through a combination of grants and student employment and while no loans are awarded in meeting calculated need, students and parents may borrow to help meet the assessed family contribution. Through this commitment, we are able to support domestic applicants who are admitted as either first-year or transfer students, as well as international applicants admitted as first-year students. 

Eligibility for Student Employment

If both financially eligible and authorized to work in the U.S., a student may receive a financial aid offer that includes a part-time job. In order to earn the value of their student employment awards, students apply and are hired for positions and typically work a total of 8-10 hours per week while classes are in session.  As hours are worked, earnings are paid directly to the student on a biweekly basis. Jobs may be either on campus or with nonprofit agencies in the local community. 

Treatment of Need-Based Grants from Federal and State Sources

Several grant programs exist to assist with the cost of a Davidson education, including need-based federal and state grants. When a student is determined to be eligible, these government grants will be awarded through Davidson. If a student is eligible for state or federal grants, these funds will be used to meet the student's calculated need. If a student already has a financial aid package when we learn they are eligible for government grants, Davidson College funds will be replaced dollar for dollar by the state or federal funds. In other words, federal and state grants do not change the total amount of financial aid awarded to a student. 

Treatment of Veterans Benefits

Davidson College participates in multiple U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) educational benefits programs, primarily Chapter 33 and Chapter 35. Most VA educational benefits—including Chapter 33, with or without Yellow Ribbon—are treated by Davidson as Outside Resources (see our policy on that topic elsewhere on this page). However, Chapter 35 benefits may be used to reduce first student employment then the expected family contribution—up to the full amount—before Davidson College Grant would be reduced.

Institutional grant aid cannot be used to exceed a student's total Cost of Attendance (COA). Therefore, only if no institutional aid is offered can the sum of VA and other educational funding, such as loans, grants, and work study, potentially exceed the student's COA.

Outside Scholarships & Resources from Non-Governmental Sources

Many local, regional, and national organizations sponsor scholarship programs for college students. Students must report all such outside scholarships and resources to the Financial Aid Office. 

Typically, the combination of Federal, state, and Davidson financial aid, together with any outside scholarships and resources, will not be allowed to exceed a student’s total Cost of Attendance (COA). Outside funds first reduce the Student Employment award, then the Expected Family Contribution; then, if all outside resources together exceed $5,000 for the year, or if Student Employment and Expected Family Contribution have both been fully replaced, aid awarded from Davidson will be reduced as well. This treatment will be applied in any year in which the scholarship or resource is renewed and the student is receiving financial aid from Davidson.

In all cases, as soon as possible after they are notified of their outside award, students must complete and submit Davidson’s Outside Resource Notification Form for the relevant aid year, so award adjustments may be made as needed. The Outside Resource Notification Form can be found on our Financial Aid Forms page.

Treatment of Davidson's Non-Need-Based Awards

Most of the financial aid awarded by Davidson College is based on need.  However, we do offer a limited number of non-need-based scholarships as well. Non-need-based scholarships may be allowed to exceed a student’s level of calculated need; but in no case should a student’s aid from all sources exceed the student’s total Cost of Attendance (COA). If need be, awards will be adjusted to ensure a student’s aid is not exceeding his or her COA.

Davidson’s non-need-based scholarships may be used to offset a student employment award, a portion of a family’s contribution, a portion of need-based aid, or some combination thereof. Students should consult their individual scholarship agreement(s) to see how their scholarship(s) will be handled if they are recipients of need-based aid as well. 

Late Financial Aid Application

Students who file aid application materials after the published deadlines are subject to a reduction in the college grant portion of the award. This grant reduction will be filled with a student loan offer of $3,500. Late applications in subsequent years could result in loan amounts reflecting a student's federal loan eligibility, which increases based on the student's year in school.


Related Policies

Explore these other topics related to financial aid at Davidson College.

Credit Refunds

If after the add/drop period has ended a student has a credit balance on their tuition account (caused by financial aid and other payments to the student account exceeding billed charges), the student may request that the credit refund be returned to them to help cover out-of-pocket expenses during the semester. Early release of credit, offered no more than 10 days before the start of a student’s program, is available only for students studying off-campus. Generally, credit is released just once each semester for each student; and no credit is released unless the student has submitted an online request for the refund. 

Connect with the Controller’s Office for information about requesting either a tuition refund or the distribution of a credit balance.

Return of Title IV Funds

The Return of Title IV Funds (R2T4) Policy applies to anyone who receives financial aid, certifies their enrollment in registered classes, and then subsequently withdraws or fails to earn a grade during the term. This includes scenarios involving suspension or expulsion. 

We highly recommend that if a student is thinking about dropping a class for which they are registered, they contact the Davidson Financial Aid Office to set up an appointment to discuss altering their scheduled enrollment and what impact that may have on their financial aid funding.

Charging Books & Supplies at the College Store

Generally, students will use a portion of their family contribution to buy their books and supplies each semester. Especially if a student has an annual family contribution of $2,000 or less, it will be important that the student aim to work and save money each summer so they have these funds available for the full academic year. 

Occasionally, students may have both a modest family contribution and an inability to earn money during the summer (due to an illness or unpaid internship, etc.). In such cases, if the student is the recipient of either a Pell Grant or a scholarship that specifically covers the cost of books, it may be possible to charge books and supplies at the College Store, to be covered later either by grants or scholarships disbursed to the student account or by student employment earnings paid to the student during the course of the term. If using student employment earnings, the student would arrange to pay their student account balance using work study earnings initially paid directly to them.  In either case, all book charges must be paid before the end of the term in which the charges first appeared on the student account.  

Students who are allowed to charge books at the College Store will be contacted prior to the start of the term and provided information about this option, for which only a relatively few students will be eligible.

Financial Aid for Study Abroad and Away

Davidson uses a “home tuition” model for off-campus study. This means that even while studying off campus, a student is considered to be enrolled at Davidson and pays Davidson’s tuition instead of the off-campus program’s tuition. The student’s financial aid offer will reflect this arrangement as well, for any term they study off campus. 

Financial Aid for Music Lessons

For music majors, Davidson covers the fee for applied music lessons in one instrument or voice. There are separate charges for additional instruction for music majors or for private lessons for those who are not music majors. For students who receive financial aid and take applied music lessons or incur other music-related fees that are not covered by Davidson, there are several options:

  • Students receiving certain scholarships may arrange to have some or all of their fees for music lessons covered by additional scholarship aid.  These students are notified of this option at the time they sign the Statement of Understanding for their scholarship.
  • Students receiving outside scholarships may potentially be eligible to have the additional cost covered by their outside resource, especially if their outside resources total more than the limit indicated in our Outside Scholarship policy, described elsewhere on this page.
  • Students may apply for loans to help cover the additional cost.
  • Any of these situations may be explored by completing a Cost of Attendance Adjustment Form.

Lesson and class fees will not be refunded if a student drops the class or lesson after the second week of instruction. Thus, any cost of attendance adjustments will be made once the add/drop period has closed.

Financial Aid for Davidson's Health Insurance Coverage

Each Davidson student must be covered by medical insurance, either through a private insurance arrangement or the insurance option offered through the college. Students who do not have insurance, or whose insurance does not meet the college’s coverage requirements, will need to select coverage through the Davidson-offered plan. For those who are either international students or Pell Grant recipients and who are required to take the Davidson-offered plan because they do not have other coverage options, the cost of the Davidson plan will automatically be covered by an increase in Davidson College Grant. 

Students who are taking the Davidson-offered coverage but are not eligible for an automatic increase in Davidson College Grant may potentially use either family, loan, or outside resources to cover the cost. If they wish to, such students may explore funding options by completing a Cost of Attendance Adjustment Form.

Financial Aid for Student Leaders in the Residence Life Office (RLO)

Students who are selected by the Residence Life Office (RLO) as Student Leaders (Resident Advisors or Hall Counselors) will receive a stipend in exchange for their services. The amount of the stipend is stated when the offer of employment is given. Such stipends are not considered financial aid and have no impact on either a student’s financial aid offer or their student employment options.