Understanding Aid Awarding: Undergraduate Students

To receive federal aid you must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen and have a valid Social Security number. You must also be registered with the Selective Service System, if you are required by law to do so. To maintain your eligibility for federal aid, you cannot owe payments or be in default on a Federal Perkins Loan, a Federal Family Education Loan or a Direct Stafford Loan for attendance at Tufts or another institution; nor can you owe a repayment on a Federal Pell Grant or Federal SEOG Grant; nor can you have borrowed in excess of the loan limits, under Title IV Programs, at any institution.

How Financial Aid Eligibility Is Calculated

All undergraduate Arts & Sciences and Engineering financial aid at Tufts is need-based. This need, or aid eligibility, is the difference between your educational expenses (cost of attendance) and the university's estimate of what your family can contribute toward those expenses. Educational expenses in our total budget include tuition, fees, room, board, books, and personal expenses.

Tufts does not offer any merit or academic scholarships to Arts & Sciences and Engineering students. All aid is based solely on financial need and is not adjusted for superior academic performance or extracurricular activities. The only exception is a small ($500 per semester) Tufts National Merit Scholarship program.

Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

You and your family are expected to contribute to your undergraduate educational expenses to the extent that you are able. In our analysis of family finances, financial aid officers review information reported on the CSS Profile, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and federal tax returns in order to determine your family’s contribution.  We also review business taxes and noncustodial parent information, if either of these apply to your family.

The parental contribution is our estimate of your parents’ ability to contribute to your education based on such factors as income, assets, whether you will have housing charges or commute from home, your family size, and the number of siblings in college.

If you have one or more siblings enrolled full time as an undergraduate student with similar costs, the family contribution will be divided. Graduate students are not included in the number in college calculation for institutional aid purposes.

The student contribution is based on your income and assets. The typical expectation will be $1,600 - $2,600.

The combination of student and parent contributions make up the Estimated Family Contribution, or EFC.

In determining your eligibility for Tufts’ grants and loans, Tufts will make institutional adjustments to the federal analysis as well as adjustments for information on your parents' tax returns. In some cases, the EFC shown on your Tufts Financial Aid Notice could be significantly higher than the federal EFC shown on the FAFSA Student Aid Report from the federal government. Tufts uses our institutional calculation to determine eligibility for Tufts grant aid, unless the government mandates a higher contribution via the federal calculation.

EFC Calculators

If you’re curious about your EFC,  we encourage you to visit the College Board’s EFC calculator. This calculator can determine both a federal and an institutional EFC by leading you through a series of screens that allows you to input your family’s financial picture.  There are also many other helpful calculators on the College Board’s Tools & Calculators site.

The estimates from these calculators are only as accurate as the information that you enter. We advise using them only as a guide to what your family might expect to have to pay for educational expenses. The institutional calculator is not effective when your family has a business, reports losses on federal taxes, has a sibling enrolled at an institution that costs much less than Tufts, or if you have a non-custodial parent to be considered.

Tufts uses our institutional calculation to determine your eligibility for Tufts’ grant aid, unless the government mandates a higher contribution via the federal calculation.

Appeal Process

More information about the appeal process is available on the dedicated pages for Admitted Students and Current and Returning Students.