How Aid is Determined
Learn how we determine financial aid through this video, or by reviewing the steps outlined below.
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In order to determine your family’s contribution to your education costs, we examine financial data that you and your family provide us when you complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the UChicago Financial Aid Worksheet (or optional CSS Profile) and send your tax returns. The University will assist you with a financial aid package that meets any financial need that remains after your family’s contribution, any contributions you may have from savings and/or summer/term-time employment, and any non-University assistance you’ve received (such as federal grants or corporate scholarships) are deducted from your educational costs. The formula for determining your aid involves three steps.
Financial Aid counselors begin by reviewing all financial aid materials you’ve submitted to determine what your family’s resources are. We refer to these resources as your family contribution. The family contribution is comprised of student earnings, parent income, and family assets. Our holistic review then determines the total amount of your family contribution for one year.
Your family contribution is then subtracted from the total cost of attendance. The cost of attendance represents actual and estimated costs for one year at UChicago, including tuition, housing, a meal plan, and estimates for additional costs like books and personal expenses. For 2021-2022, the total estimated cost of attendance is $82,848.
The difference between the total cost and your family contribution is referred to as your family’s demonstrated financial need. This number determines the amount of University support we will offer you. Together, your family contribution and your financial aid award from the University will meet the total cost of attending UChicago for an academic year. Financial aid awards are generally similar during your four years of enrollment, unless there is a significant change in your family’s finances.
Prior-Prior Year Income
For the purposes of your financial aid consideration, Financial Aid will use your family’s prior-prior year income (i.e. for the 2021-22 academic year, 2019 tax information will be used). Beginning with the 2017-18 academic year, the FAFSA also uses prior-prior year income for federal aid eligibility, which allows families to begin their financial aid application process sooner, without having to wait until the current or prior year’s taxes have been filed.
We realize that the use of prior-prior year taxes may not always reflect a household’s current income situation. If your family income has changed drastically since the tax year that was used for financial aid consideration, please find information on our appeal process here.
During your time in the College, your financial aid eligibility will be determined on tax years as indicated in the table below. If your household experiences a significant increase in income, your family’s contribution may similarly increase. Conversely, if your household income is greatly reduced, you may receive more financial aid.
Prior-Prior Year Income Table
Enrollment and Academic Requirements for Financial Aid
In order to receive University grant aid, you must be enrolled full-time in the College, meaning that you are enrolled in at least in three full-time courses (300 units) each quarter. However, you may be eligible for federal and state aid if you are enrolled part-time.
If you drop a class within the add/drop period, and your enrollment status changes from full-time to half-time, your financial aid will be adjusted to reflect half-time status, and you will lose any University grant funding. If you drop a class and receive no tuition refund, you will be allowed to keep your grant funds since you have been charged for a full-time course load. If you withdraw completely from the University and are not being charged for classes in a given quarter, all of your financial aid will be withdrawn during the quarter in question.
If you are thinking of dropping a class or withdrawing from the University, we highly recommend that you speak with a counselor in Financial Aid prior to taking any action.
Satisfactory Academic Progress
Satisfactory Academic Progress is defined as:
- Completion of 70% of the units in which you enroll
- Maintaining a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0
- Completion of your academic program within a maximum time frame of 143% of the published length of the program
Students who do not maintain the Standards of Academic Progress risk losing a portion of all of their financial aid. The complete Satisfactory Academic Progress policy can be found in the Financial Aid Handbook.