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Financial Aid

Determining Eligibility

for undergraduate students

Financial aid assists families with the cost of a college education. You don’t have to be in a low-income category to qualify for financial aid. Some students receive aid based on special achievements while others receive aid based on their demonstrated need. Need is the difference between what it costs to attend a college and what you and your family can afford to pay.

Merit-based aid

A number of factors are considered in determining a student’s eligibility for financial aid. Some aid is awarded solely on the basis of academic achievement, excellence in leadership and service, or a specific talent in music or forensics, absent any consideration of a family’s financial circumstances. This kind of aid is commonly referred to as “merit-based.”

At Lewis & Clark, most merit-based scholarships are awarded through the Admissions process. All that is required to be considered for these scholarships is your Admissions application. Music and forensics scholarships are determined by the directors of the respective programs.

The financial circumstances of a family are not considered when determining eligibility for merit-based scholarships. However, merit-based scholarships must be included as a resource in meeting the demonstrated financial need of a student.

Need-based aid

The majority of financial aid offered to students at Lewis & Clark is “need-based” which means that only students who demonstrate sufficient financial need are eligible to receive this assistance. The formula to determine “demonstrated financial need” is:




Cost of Attendance budget

The Cost of Attendance (COA) budget used to determine eligibility for financial aid reflects the estimated expense associated with attending Lewis & Clark. This budget is comprised of both direct costs (e.g. tuition and fees, on-campus room and board) and indirect costs (e.g., transportation allowance, personal expense allowance, books and supplies allowance, off-campus living allowance). Because indirect expenses are highly discretionary and vary considerably from student to student, an average allowance is used for these components of the budget.

The actual cost of attending Lewis & Clark may differ from the estimated COA used to determine eligibility for financial aid.

Expected Family Contribution

Several guiding principles inform the determination of the Expected Family Contribution (EFC):

  • To the extent they are able, parents have the primary responsibility to pay for their child’s education.
  • Students have a responsibility to contribute toward their education.
  • Families should be evaluated in their present financial condition.
  • The ability to pay educational costs must be evaluated in an equitable and consistent manner for all families while recognizing that special circumstances may exist.
Institutional Methodology for determining the EFC

Lewis & Clark uses a need analysis formula known as Institutional Methodology, developed by the College Scholarship Service (CSS) of the College Board, to measure the ability of a family to meet the costs associated with enrollment at Lewis & Clark and determine eligibility for College aid programs. In determining the EFC, consideration is given to data provided on the PROFILE such as family financial information, including income and asset strength, as well as family size and the number of siblings enrolled as undergraduate students.

Federal Methodology for determining the EFC

Eligibility for federal student aid such as federal grant, loan and work-study programs is determined using the EFC calculated by applying the Federal Methodology need analysis formula to information provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It is important to note that the EFC used for determining federal aid eligibility can vary significantly from the EFC used to determine eligibility for College resources because of the different need analysis formulas and varied information gathered on the PROFILE and FAFSA.

While the College endeavors to offer financial assistance to meet the full demonstrated need of students, limited resources do not always allow this to happen. In instances where a student receives assistance in an amount less than the demonstrated financial need, families may need to pay more than the calculated EFC in order to cover the costs associated with enrollment at Lewis & Clark.

Fast Facts

During the most recently completed academic year:

  • Approximately 86 percent of our students received some form of financial assistance.
  • We awarded more than $47 million to our students from Lewis & Clark, federal, state, and private sources.
  • Individual aid packages vary widely in value, depending on the student’s relative strength in the applicant pool and demonstrated financial need.

More Information

  • For information about undergraduate financial aid, please review this year’s Financial Aid Guide.