Jul 22, 2024  
College Catalog 2019-2020 
College Catalog 2019-2020 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Financial Aid

A high-quality Macalester experience relies on outstanding faculty members, small classes, individual study opportunities, and excellent equipment and facilities-all of which are expensive to provide. The primary responsibility for meeting this cost rests with students and their families. If costs are a concern, we encourage students to apply for financial aid to determine eligibility for federal, state, and institutional assistance.

The amount of each admitted student’s financial aid package is equal to the difference between the student’s calculated family contribution and the cost of attending Macalester. The Macalester Financial Aid Office evaluates the family’s financial aid application data and determines the student’s financial need.

Prospective students interested in seeking financial aid must apply for admission according to admission application deadlines, indicate intent to apply for financial aid on the admission application, and submit financial aid application materials by the date published in admission application materials and on the Financial Aid Office web site. Macalester financial aid staff members are available for consultation throughout the year and encourage students to contact the Financial Aid Office with questions.

Macalester’s financial aid program is open to all degree-seeking full-time students enrolled during the academic year. Institutional financial aid is not available for summer study. A student may receive up to eight semesters of financial aid from Macalester assuming other eligibility criteria are met.

In most cases, a student must be 24 years old to apply for financial aid as an independent student. Students considering filing for aid as independent students are encouraged to contact the Macalester Financial Aid Office before completing their applications. Students entering Macalester as dependent students will remain so for institutional financial aid purposes.

Students must apply for financial aid each year. Renewal financial aid application materials are made available on the Financial Aid Office website by January preceding the academic year.

Financial aid eligibility notifications are delivered beginning in June to returning students who meet the priority filing deadline. Students with student employment awards are encouraged to find their jobs for the next academic year during spring semester.

How to Apply for Financial Aid

Prospective students who are candidates for financial aid at Macalester College must take the following steps:

  1. File an application for admission with the Admissions Office. The applicant must indicate his or her intent to apply for financial aid at the time the admission application is filed.
  2. Complete the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE and request that the results be released to Macalester College.
  3. Submit parents’ federal tax returns and W-2 forms to the College Board Institutional Documentation Service (IDOC).
  4. If the applicant’s parents are separated or divorced, both parents must complete the CSS PROFILE.
  5. Students who wish to participate in Federal Student Aid or Minnesota aid programs must also complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

NOTE: Students who are not U.S. citizens or U.S. Permanent Residents apply for financial aid using the procedures outlined at http://Macalester.edu/financialaid/apply.

Changes in Financial Aid Policies

Macalester’s financial aid policies do change from time to time due to federal and state requirements and the College’s continued effort to serve students. Students should refer to the Financial Aid Office website for the most current and complete information.

Types of Assistance

Financial aid is generally awarded in the form of a package including grant, work, and loan funds. The amount of each type of aid varies according to the student’s financial need, College funds, and College aid policies. During 2017-2018, more than two-thirds of Macalester’s full-time students received financial assistance amounting to over $70 million.

Macalester College Grants and Scholarships

General Grants and Scholarships. General grants adn scholarships, provided from the College budget, are awarded to first-year students, transfer students, and upper class students.  Students need not apply separately for specific Macalester grants and scholarships since they will automatically receive consideration for all funds for which they may be eligible through the admission and financial aid processes.

Endowed Scholarships. A large number of endowed scholarships are available as a result of generous gifts from friends and alumni of the College. Endowed scholarships are an integral part of financial aid at Macalester and contribute significantly to meeting the financial needs of students. The income from these funds is generally awarded to sophomores, juniors and seniors who have shown strong academic performance and have demonstrated financial need.  Endowed Scholarships do not affect the total amount of grants and scholarships awarded to an individual student but provide general support of the College financial aid budget.

Macalester College National Merit Scholarships are awarded to prospective National Merit Finalists who have designated Macalester as their first-choice college.

DeWitt Wallace Distinguished Scholarships are awarded to prospective students on a highly competitive basis to selected National Merit Semifinalists and Commended Students. The scholarship is named for DeWitt Wallace ‘11, founder of Reader’s Digest, who was a longtime benefactor of Macalester.

Catharine Lealtad Scholarships are awarded to African American, Hispanic, and Native American students with strong high school records. This scholarship is named for Dr. Catharine Lealtad, Class of 1915, the first African American woman graduate of the College.

Macalester Student Employment is a significant part of the College’s financial aid program. Almost three-fourths of students are employed part time on campus. In addition to federal and state funding, more than 75% of the employment program is funded by Macalester dollars. Macalester provides more than 1,100 on-campus jobs in administrative and service offices, academic departments, the library, grounds crew, etc. Job placement is determined by the student’s interest and abilities, as well as the pool of available jobs.

Federal Government Assistance

Federal Pell Grant Program. This is the largest federal grant program. Awards to students are based on their enrollment status, their financial need and the cost of education at the school they plan to attend.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG). This federal grant program provides colleges with funds to help financially needy students with their educational costs.

Federal Work-Study Program (FWS). Jobs are offered to selected students who demonstrate financial need. Under the program, Macalester pays 25% of the student’s wages and the federal government pays the remaining 75%.


Federal Direct Student Loan (Subsidized and Unsubsidized). Federal Direct Student Loans are available to students enrolled at least half time and who complete the FAFSA. The exact amount of the loan and type, Subsidized or Unsubsidized, depends upon federal guidelines. The student may be required to pay a loan fee. Under the Subsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loan program, no interest is charged, nor is repayment required while the student is in college. Under the Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan, the student is charged interest while in school, but may defer payment of this interest during the in-school period.


Federal Direct PLUS Loan is a federal loan program under which parents may borrow up to the cost of attendance less other financial aid.

State of Minnesota Aid

Minnesota State Grant Program. All Minnesota residents who are applying for financial aid apply for a state grant. Application is made by completing the FAFSA.

Minnesota State Work-Study Program. Minnesota residents who have demonstrated financial need are eligible to receive state work-study funds.

Satisfactory Academic Progress for Federal Student Aid

Federal regulations require Macalester College to monitor the academic progress of students receiving Federal Student Aid.  This policy applies to eligibility for Federal Student Aid, financial aid from the State of Minnesota, and other non-Macalester entities that may require recipients to maintain satisfactory academic progress.  This policy does not apply to financial aid from Macalester.

Visit http://macalester.edu/financialaid/policies/academicprogress for details of Macalester’s Satisfactory Academic Progress policy.

Satisfactory Academic Progress for Institutional Financial Aid

Any degree-seeking student is eligible to apply for Macalester financial aid.  Eligibility for Macalester financial aid is limited to eight full-time semesters.  A semester in which the student enrolls for eight credits or fewer and receives financial aid counts as one-half of one semester.  A semester in which the student enrolls for nine to eleven credits and receives financial aid counts as three-quarters of one semester.

Macalester financial aid eligibility will be prorated for students who are admitted as transfer students.  For example, a student who transfers to Macalester as a first-semester sophomore is eligible to apply for six semesters of Macalester financial aid.  Only credits accepted by Macalester for credit toward a Macalester degree are used to determine the student’s class standing at the time of transfer.

Students who desire Macalester financial aid for a semester beyond their eighth must request an exception to this policy in writing.  Such requests should be sent to the Financial Aid Office as early as possible ad no later than the end of the eighth semester of enrollment.  Exceptions to the eight semester limit will be made rarely, and only in situations where circumstances beyond the student’s control prevented degree completion in eight semesters.