Information for Parents

We understand that the prospect of applying for financial aid may seem intimidating. We feel confident that we can help you get through it.

Many parents of L&C students are actively involved in their student’s decision-making, especially when it comes to college finances. To help parents stay informed about financial aid, we have built this page to help you navigate the financial aid process.

Getting Started

Our Financial Aid Information for Undergraduate Students page has links to a wealth of information you may find useful.  The nine boxes at the top of the page will help direct you. The first two options will lead you to the “Incoming Students Application Process” or the “Continuing Students Application Process.” Selecting the category that your student will fit in for next year will take you to instructions for the corresponding application process and priority deadlines.

Once you complete the application process, we encourage you to spend some time getting familiar with all of the information and links on our Financial Aid Information for Undergraduate Students page, including links to several internal and external websites, information about reporting a change in financial circumstances, tips on external scholarships, policies, a financial aid timeline with a calendar of “to-do’s” and an FAQ section.

Meet Our Staff

The Financial Aid Staff is always happy to assist you. We have several specialists here to answer your questions and help you with your financial aid needs. Your student is assigned a financial aid counselor based on the first letter of their last name. Visit our staff page to learn a little about each of us and to find our contact information.

In general, our office is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The time during January to June is our peak processing time, and both email & phone traffic are heavy. Because of this, we are closed on Wednesdays during this peak time so that we may get awarding done for the new academic year. We appreciate that your time is valuable and ask for your patience as we move through the inquiries, and respond with the information you need.

Releasing Information About Your Student

Due to federal privacy regulations known as “FERPA” (Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act), the Financial Aid Office is prohibited from sharing student information, without written consent from the student. This is the case even if we are speaking with the parent(s).

If you will be working with our office on your student’s behalf, they will need to complete an authorization form each academic year, to give our office permission to share information with you. 

We recommend you check with other offices on campus to learn their requirements for the release of student information. For example, the Registrar’s Office, Student and Departmental Account Services, Health Service, etc.

Note: The Financial Aid Office does not share custodial parent information with non-custodial parents, even if we have the authorization to release information on file. 

Communicating with You and Your Student

The Financial Aid Office generally communicates with our students through email and WebAdvisor. We have found these are the most efficient ways to send a request and obtain a response. Examples of things we communicate: notifying a student of missing documents, or an award letter available for viewing, etc. There are also times when we will communicate with parent(s) through email, for example, if we need to clarify conflicting information on the financial aid application(s). For the most part, you will want to remind your student to check their email, Pioneer Portal (prospective incoming students), and/or WebAdvisor (registered incoming and continuing students) account often – this way they can respond quickly to our inquiries and avoid delays in receipt of financial aid.

Applying for Financial Aid

At Lewis & Clark, a financial aid package can contain any combination of the three basic types of aid: loans, grants, and work-study. We participate in a variety of federal aid programs. In addition, you may also find that your student has been awarded a merit-based scholarship during the admissions application review process and/or need-based institutional aid from Lewis & Clark. For detailed information about each of the aid types and the requirements to maintain eligibility, refer to our CAS Financial Aid Guide as well as the Student Rights & Responsibilities page.

NOTE: The Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan is one of the Federal loan programs available to parent(s) to help cover the costs of paying for college. You can find detailed information about this loan on our PLUS Loan page, along with a link to the application.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

The point of any financial aid form is to collect information to help measure a family’s financial strength and ability to pay for college. The resulting calculation is called the Expected Family Contribution or “EFC.” Schools use the EFC to determine a student’s eligibility for financial aid. At Lewis & Clark, we use the EFC from the FAFSA to determine eligibility for federal aid as well as Institutional need-based aid. For detailed information visit our Determining Eligibility page.

Filing the FAFSA makes it possible for us to consider you for financial aid from the federal government as well as Lewis & Clark. There are several aid types available and we automatically assess a student’s eligibility for both need-based aid programs that are dependent upon the EFC (e.g., grants, work-study, direct subsidized loan, etc.) and non-need-based aid program that is open to anyone (e.g., direct unsubsidized loan, etc.).

The ideal way to complete the FAFSA is with numbers taken from your completed federal income tax return. However, if your taxes are not complete by the priority deadline, we recommend you provide estimated information on the FAFSA. The data can be corrected at a later date, once your taxes are complete.

NOTE FOR OREGON RESIDENTS: Students wishing to be considered for the Oregon Opportunity Grant should apply as soon as possible after October 1st.  Details are available at OSAC.

Things to keep in mind as you complete the FAFSA:

  • If you are a joint tax-filer (and the custodial parent) but have since separated or divorced you need only report your financial information (see definition here).
  • The number of people in the parent’s household may not necessarily correspond to the number of exemptions reported on the tax return. See this glossary page for a definition of who to include in the Parent Household for Dependent Students.
  • When completing the FAFSA you should report the value of Educational Savings Plans under the parent asset section; even if the account is owned by the student or by the parent for any member of the household. Educational Savings Plans are Coverdell savings accounts, 529 college savings plans, and the refund value of 529 prepaid tuition plans (this does NOT include UGMA/UTMAs which should be reported under the asset section of the account holder, usually the student).
  • You must report the value of a trust fund on the FAFSA, even if there is no current access to the trust fund.
  • Review your W-2 Form(s) box 12a through 12d when reporting untaxed income on the FAFSA. This is where you will find information about your payments to tax-deferred pension and retirement savings plans. The printed codes that you need to report are D, E, F, G, H, and S.

NOTE: Do NOT report any amount coded as DD as it is not a tax-deferred plan.

Responding to Changing Circumstances

Due to the extraordinary demand for assistance, appeals are considered only when significant and unexpected circumstances exist and can be thoroughly documented. Appeals for additional assistance must be made in writing and eligi­bility for financial aid is reviewed annually, allowing families to provide changes to financial circumstances in the course of the standard aid application process. Please visit our Responding to Changing Circumstances page for additional information and the appeal process.


Lewis & Clark does not change or negotiate awards based on com­parisons with other colleges. While we would like to be able to meet the demonstrated financial need of every student, limits on available funding do not allow us to do this. Our philosophy is to offer the best award possible based on the information provided on the financial aid application and supporting documentation.

Paying the Bill Each Semester

The Student & Departmental Account Services office handles all financial transactions. Each semester they work with families on such things as calculating costs, billing, setting up a payment plan, opt-out of optional fees, waiving health insurance, and credit balance refunds. Please visit their page to become familiar with all of the things they can help you accomplish including how to pay for charges not covered by financial aid and understanding the payment deadlines.

Renewal of Financial Aid

Financial aid is awarded on an annual basis. Students must reapply each spring for assistance in the upcoming academic year and are encouraged to complete the application process no later than February 15th for priority consider­ation. Continuing students who wish to be considered for both federal and institutional financial aid resources must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students whose family financial situations remain fairly constant each year can expect to remain eligible for similar need-based financial aid resources each year. Students are required to remain in good academic standing with the college as well as meet Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements. In addition, stu­dents receiving merit-based scholarships should take note of other renewal requirements.