Understanding Your Financial Aid Award

What are the key factors which determine need-based financial aid at Gettysburg?

Although each family has different financial circumstances, the key factors in determining a family’s financial need are:

  • parent income
  • parent assets and investments
  • student income
  • student assets and investments
  • the number of family members
  • the number of siblings enrolled in undergraduate study

Once a family’s financial need is determined using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE analyses, eligibility for Gettysburg College assistance is reviewed based upon institutional calculations.

Students receive all of the Federal Financial Aid (including Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Student Loan, Federal Pell and/or Federal SEOG Grant) for which they are eligible based upon the FAFSA calculations. Students receive institutional funds, such as the Gettysburg College Grant, based upon our institutional methodology.

Federal methodology considers student income, assets and investments at a higher percentage than parent resources. Parent savings in retirement plans are not considered in financial aid calculations. However, annual contributions to tax-deferred pension and similar retirement sources are considered as parent income.

What is not counted in determining financial need?

At Gettysburg, we do not consider the value of retirement accounts, a family’s consumer debt level, and secondary or graduate school expenses for other siblings. In most circumstances, the value of a family’s primary home of residence is not considered.

The FAFSA and PROFILE calculations do not take into account the net value of family-owned (more than 50% family-owned) businesses with less than 100 full-time or full-time equivalent employees.

What about emergencies or unexpected costs?

Both the FAFSA and PROFILE calculations provide an allowance for a portion of parent assets in case of emergencies or other significant financial expenses. This leaves a smaller amount, if any, of parent assets which are counted towards determining a family’s financial contribution towards college costs.

How are merit scholarships awarded?

Decisions on Gettysburg’s merit scholarship recipients are made as part of the admissions review process. The selection process is competitive with awards going to top-ranking applicants based upon grade point average, class rank (if available), and SAT or ACT scores.

Because of federal guidelines, merit scholarships are listed on financial aid awards and considered as a source of financial aid. Gettysburg’s academic merit scholarships are awarded at the time of admission.

Are student loans included in financial aid awards?

Students who submit a FAFSA are automatically eligible for a Federal Direct Subsidized and/or Unsubsidized Student Loan. We view financing a Gettysburg education as a partnership between the College and the family, including the student. Student loans are one of the ways in which students can invest in their educational costs.

We encourage students to be informed borrowers by borrowing only what they really need, keeping track of federal student loans through the Federal Student Aid website and using a loan calculator to estimate repayment options (try this loan simulator or finaid.org).