Financial Aid

Willamette's financial aid process is merit-driven. The quality of a student's academic record influences the amount of scholarship and grant money that is included in his or her financial award. This means that strong students will receive scholarship recognition from us whether or not they qualify for need-based financial aid. The quality of one's high school curriculum, grades in college preparatory subjects and test scores will have the greatest effect on the amount of merit-based institutional dollars awarded.

For students with demonstrated financial need, the percentage of need that is met with "gift-aid" (scholarships and grants from all sources) will also reflect the students' academic standing within our admitted applicant pool. In other words, the stronger the student, the greater the scholarship award is likely to be.

Many of the same characteristics that we consider important in the admission process for building a talented and broadly diverse entering class also receive consideration in the financial aid process. Specifically, Willamette scholarship will recognize academic achievement, leadership, and outstanding talent in music, theatre or forensics.

Although Willamette has a significant financial aid budget, we are not able to fully meet 100% of the demonstrated financial need of all admitted students. As mentioned above, our scholarship resources are directed toward the strongest students in our applicant pool. We build our need-based financial aid packages around the student's merit scholarship (if he or she qualified), followed by need-based grants, student loans and work-study.

Determining Financial Need

Willamette uses the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as the primary financial aid application. The FAFSA uses a federal formula that calculates the expected family contribution (EFC) for each applicant. When Willamette receives your FAFSA information we not only learn about your EFC, we learn about your eligibility for government and University need-based funds. The EFC is calculated by considering a family's financial strength, including income and assets. Other factors that are considered include the number of family members and the number of family members in college. Students with an EFC that is less than Willamette's costs are qualified for need-based financial aid.

Need-Based Financial Aid Awards

In addition to merit-based scholarships, many students are eligible for additional need-based funds from University, federal or state sources. Applicants who do not qualify for merit-based scholarships may be eligible for need-based awards from these same sources.

Willamette uses the Free Application for Federal Student Aids (FAFSA) to calculate the expected family contribution (EFC) for each applicant and to determine eligibility for government and University need-based funds. For students with an EFC that is less than Willamette's costs, financial need exists, and the student is eligible for need-based financial aid. Here's a look at some of the Willamette University, state and federal sources of need-based aid:

Willamette University Grant and Jason Lee Award: Awarded by Willamette University to students who demonstrate academic potential, and financial need as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Federal Pell Grant: Awarded by the federal government to students with the lowest Expected Family Contributions (EFC).

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant: Awarded to students with exceptional financial need—that is, those with the lowest family contributions who also receive Federal Pell Grants.

Oregon Opportunity Grant: Awarded to residents of Oregon based strictly on family size, income, and the number of family members attending college.

The Merit-Based Scholarships

  • Willamette University awards a number of merit-based scholarships each year to the entering students who have secondary academic records of the highest merit.
  • All admitted applicants are automatically considered for these merit-based scholarships — additional materials are not required.
  • The application materials requested to make the admission decision are the same materials used to make these merit-based decisions. A separate application form is not necessary.
  • Scholarship determination is made on the strength of an applicant's academic achievements, weighing such factors as GPA, strength of the curriculum, and test scores.
  • While significant co-curricular and extracurricular accomplishments are also considered as part of the overall decision, it is primarily the applicant's academic merit that determines scholarship eligibility.

In addition to the strictly academic scholarships mentioned above, Willamette also offers some scholarships in particular areas of co-curricular talent or involvement. Talent Scholarships, which are offered in the areas of music, theatre, and forensics, require auditions and/or special recommendation in order to be considered. The Mark O. Hatfield Scholarship is offered in recognition of outstanding commitment to public service, and requires the completion of a separate application form.

Other merit-based scholarships are awarded in partnership with community organizations or in recognition of nationally competitive scholar designations. Included among thee are:

  • National Merit Scholarships
  • National Achievement Scholarships


To renew need-based financial assistance (including institutional grants) in subsequent academic years, a student must submit the FAFSA by March 1. Students who file their renewal FAFSAs late risk being placed on a wait list for financial aid and possibly losing some or all of their University grant or scholarship funds.

First-year students entering Willamette are eligible for eight semesters of need-based financial aid and eight semesters of merit-based aid, as long as the student maintains full-time student status (minimum three credits each semester) and makes satisfactory academic progress as determined by the Academic Status Committee of the University. All academic merit-based scholarships have specific renewal criteria that are outlined in the initial written confirmation of the award sent to the student. In the rare instance of special circumstances that make an additional semester of need-based financial aid necessary for a student to graduate, the students may appeal for one additional semester of need-based funding.

The amount of a student's merit-based scholarship award will be renewed annually as long as the appropriate GPA requirement is met. Need-based aid eligibility is re-evaluated annually, based on FAFSA data and other documentation as required by the Office of Financial Aid. The amount of Willamette University need-based grant aid may vary with changes in student and family income and assets. Assuming there are no significant changes in the family's financial situation, and assuming that the student meets the published application deadlines, the amount of need-based grant aid that a student receives should remain consistent each year.

Students transferring to Willamette will be notified by the University regarding the number of semesters of merit and need-based aid eligibility once the Office of the Registrar has evaluated which credits will transfer.

Students placed on academic probation by the Academic Status Committee are ineligible for financial aid. Appeals to this policy will be reviewed by the Director of Financial Aid.

Federal and state awards are contingent upon the availability of governmental funding. Willamette University does not guarantee replacement of reduced governmental aid.

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