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Types of Aid

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The University of Chicago offers many types of financial aid and pledges to meet 100% of your family’s demonstrated need through a combination of grants, scholarships, and work expectations. By completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you are applying for all of the aid programs the federal government has to offer, as well as programs your home state may provide. The UChicago Financial Aid Worksheet (along with the FAFSA) is used to help us determine your eligibility for the University’s need-based grant aid. Students who have completed the College Board’s CSS Profile may elect to submit that profile instead of our Financial Aid Worksheet. Only one of these documents is required, and we remain able to issue the same types and amounts of aid to students regardless of the form they choose. Please bear in mind, however, that the Financial Aid Worksheet is free to submit, while the CSS Profile requires a fee for submission.

How Aid is Determined

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.

Step One 

Financial Aid counselors begin by reviewing all financial aid Cost of Attendancematerials 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. 

Step Two 

Your family contribution is then subtracted from the total cost of attendance. The cost of Estimated Family Contributionattendance 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 2017-2018, the total estimated cost of attendance was $75,735.

Step Three 

The difference between the total cost and your familyFinancial Need 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 2018-19 academic year, 2016 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.

Academic Year 2018-2019 2019-2020 2020-2021 2021-2022
Tax year used 2016 2017 2018 2019

Aid and Enrollment Requirements

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.

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