Frequently Asked Questions: Current Students

Applying For Aid

How do I apply for financial aid?

Reed requires two forms to apply for financial aid. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a federal application required from domestic students only. Students who wish to be considered for institutional aid (Reed Grant) must also complete the College Board CSS Profile. Continuing students are not required to submit the Noncustodial Parent CSS Profile or IDOC after their first year. The Financial Aid Office may request documentation to resolve discrepant information within your aid applications. More specific instructions for continuing students can be found here.

Why does Reed require the CSS Profile?

Reed uses the College Board CSS Profile because it produces a more refined and accurate assessment of a family's need and their requirement for funding from Reed.

Do I have to apply for financial aid every year?

Yes. Your eligibility for aid is re-evaluated on an annual basis. You will need to complete both the CSS Profile and FAFSA each year by the April 15 priority deadline. The IDOC and the CSS Profile for noncustodial parents (if applicable) are only required the first year.

When are the applications due?

Aid applications for continuing students and students applying for readmission are due prior to April 15. More details can be found here.

How can I find out if my application is complete?

You can see whether you have any outstanding financial aid requirements by logging into Banner Self Service.

I am a current Reed student/student applying for readmission. Are there consequences if I miss the deadline?

Yes. There is a two-week grace period after the April 15 deadline. However, applications received after May 1 through July 1 may be subject to a 10-40% reduction in Reed Grant. Applications received after July 1 will be awarded federal aid only and no Reed Grant.

Due to circumstances beyond my control, I wasn't able to meet the application deadline. Is there anything I can do?

Submit your applications as soon as possible, along with a statement petitioning to be considered an on-time applicant. Your petition should include a detailed explanation of the circumstances that prevented you from meeting the priority deadline. Petitions can be submitted via email and will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Can I apply for financial aid if I haven’t had aid in the past?

If you are a domestic student who did not apply or did not receive financial aid in previous years, you can apply for aid in subsequent years by submitting your FAFSA and CSS Profile by the published deadlines. If you are an international student who indicated on your admission application you will not require financial assistance during your time at Reed, you are not eligible to apply for aid in future years.

Determining Aid

What does it mean to meet “demonstrated need?”

Demonstrated need is determined by Reed's financial aid office using nationally standardized formulas, as well as institutional policies, to assess the information families submit on the CSS Profile and FAFSA forms and income tax returns. Need is determined by subtracting the student's expected family contribution (EFC) from the cost of attendance. Need is met with a combination of grant, student work, and loan.

How is my expected family contribution (EFC) calculated?

Many factors are taken into consideration in both the federal and institutional formulas used to calculate your family contribution. Primarily, the formulas are looking at parent and student income, assets, family size, and number of siblings in college. Details about these formulas can be found here.

What all is included in the cost of attendance?

The cost of attendance includes tuition, fees, room and meal plan (if you live on campus), indirect living expenses (if you live off campus), as well as an estimated amount for books and supplies, transportation, and personal expenses.

How do you calculate off campus living expenses?

The amount considered in the cost of attendance is determined using student surveys, the Consumer Price Index, and other publicly available data. The amount is reviewed annually and adjusted based on the data. The average cost of living off-campus for the 2023-2024 academic year is $12,690; the cost for students living with parents/other relatives is $2930.

Will my financial aid offer change after my first year?

Reed is committed to being affordable and meeting the full demonstrated financial need of students for all four years of attendance. In most cases, we will attempt to keep aid offers as consistent as possible in subsequent years. However, as significant changes in a family's finances occur, an aid offer may also change to reflect those circumstances. Students can also expect their loan amounts to increase by $1,000 each year along with annual cost increases.

My Reed Grant is lower this year. How do I find out why?

Check the "Award Messages" tab in your Banner Self Service account. Typically, grant decreases are the result of a reported increase in family income and/or assets. Grants may also decrease if your parents are supporting fewer siblings in college, or if you have had a change in your living arrangements from the prior year. For further details regarding changes to your award, contact your Financial Aid Counselor.

How come my Federal Pell Grant is lower/or missing this year?

Pell Grant eligibility is determined by the federal government and is based on your federally calculated Student Aid Index (SAI). An increase in your Federal SAI could affect your Pell Grant Eligibility.

Special circumstances

There’s been a pretty big change in my family’s financial situation. Can Reed consider these changes and increase my financial aid?

If you have already received your financial aid package, you and your parent can complete a request for reconsideration. Detailed information about the changes that may be considered, as well as an explanation of the reconsideration process, can be found here.

I have an immediate financial concern. What should I do?

The best place to start is with the Financial Aid Office. Our staff will work with you to assess your situation and determine if there are additional aid options available to you. If your concerns fall outside of the scope of what financial aid can cover, we will direct you to other potential resources.

What do I do if I run out of board points during the semester?

You are responsible for monitoring your board points and understanding how to reasonably budget for each semester. Board point balances can be checked through IRIS -> Board and Commuter Balances. You may add board points to your account at the Cashier's Window in Eliot Hall. If you deplete your board points before the end of the semester and are unable to purchase more points, further assistance may be available. Contact the Financial Aid Office for more information.

My parents have decided they won't help pay my educational expenses. Will Reed increase my grant to cover their parent contribution?

Reed Grant will not be increased in these cases. The formulas used to calculate expected family contributions do not take into consideration whether a parent is willing to contribute. To be fair and equitable to all students, contributions are based on demonstrated parent ability to contribute, not willingness.

How can I be considered an independent student for financial aid purposes?

For the 2023-2024 academic year, you will be considered to be an independent student, for the purpose of determining eligibility for institutional aid (Reed Grant) if you meet one of the following conditions: 1) born before 1/1/1998 or 2) ward of the court or both parents are deceased.

For federal aid purposes, you are considered independent if you meet one of the following conditions: 1) born before 1/1/2000, 2) are married, 3) have children who receive more than half of their financial support from you, 4) both your parents are deceased, you were in foster care, or were a dependent/ward of the court, etc. More information about federal dependency status can be found at