Need-Based Financial Aid

The primary focus of the financial aid program at St. Olaf is to provide access to a St. Olaf education for students who would not otherwise be able to afford to attend.  We welcome students from diverse socio-economic backgrounds and maintain a long-standing commitment to meet the demonstrated need of all students who are admitted to the College.

We determine how much you and your family can contribute by assessing the information you submit on the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE and the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). The CSS PROFILE is required for determining St. Olaf need-based financial aid funds, while the FAFSA is required for federal and state funds.

By requiring each family applying for need-based aid to submit the PROFILE and FAFSA forms, we ensure a fair and consistent approach to determining the demonstrated need of all admitted students. We review each application and each family’s financial circumstances individually, applying a consistent methodology to determine a family’s ability to contribute (thus assuring equity in the process) but also recognizing that special and extenuating circumstances can affect a family’s financial need.

We use the information from both the CSS PROFILE and FAFSA to establish your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). This number is then used to determine your financial need through this formula:

Cost of Attendance – Expected Family Contribution = Financial Need

The Cost of Attendance is determined by St. Olaf College and includes tuition, room, board, fees and books. Students who live outside Minnesota may also have a travel component added to their cost. After we have determined your level of financial need, we will provide a financial aid package that will include all or some of the following forms of aid: gift aid (scholarships and grants), loans and student work on campus.

Student eligibility for need-based financial aid is determined every year and requires students to complete the FAFSA for every year they are enrolled at St. Olaf.

To get a rough estimate of your family’s EFC, use an EFC Calculator. Subtract this number from the cost of attendance at St. Olaf and you should get a ballpark figure of your financial need.