Questions and Answers About Financial Aid

What is Clark's current tuition?

View our current tuition rates. Your tuition and expenses may be adjusted according to your financial need. For more information, please contact your counselor in the Office of Student Accounts.

Which forms are due and when?

There are three key forms you need to know about, but depending on your situation, you may not have to fill out all three:

The CSS PROFILE is available online beginning in October. The FAFSA form is available online beginning Oct. 1.

You are required to submit the forms by these deadlines:

After each of the deadlines, Clark Financial Assistance staff will begin reviewing your forms. They will let you know if you need to submit additional forms and/or provide additional information and/or documentation before your award, if any, can be determined.

If you are admitted to Clark and accept the invitation to attend, your tax documentation is due in the Office of Financial Assistance by May 1.

Are the financial aid requirements and procedures different if I am a transfer student?

No. Transfer students follow the same guidelines as all first-year U.S. candidates.

What are Clark's school codes for the CSS PROFILE and FAFSA?

Clark's code for the CSS PROFILE form is 3279. The FAFSA code is 002139 and the campus code is 00.

My parents are divorced, separated or were never married to one another, and do not live together. Does my noncustodial parent have to complete the College Board's Noncustodial PROFILE?

Like many private colleges, Clark University uses the College Scholarship Service (CSS) PROFILE and Noncustodial PROFILE forms to determine eligibility for need-based financial aid from the University, and adheres to the philosophy that it is the responsibility of both parents to contribute to college expenses, regardless of marital status.

The Noncustodial Parent PROFILE collects income and other financial information to measure your noncustodial parent's ability to contribute to college expenses, which is taken into consideration when determining your eligibility for financial aid. However, it does not obligate your noncustodial parent to pay. In addition, his/her information is kept strictly confidential unless he/she gives us authorization to share it.

Without the Noncustodial Parent PROFILE, you will not be considered for need-based aid from Clark University. However, you will still be considered for financial aid from the federal government based on completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

What if my financial aid forms are turned in late?

Because Clark and state funds are very limited, filing late may affect your eligibility for such assistance. However, you may still be eligible for federal funds.

What if my application is not complete?

Your application cannot be reviewed until all materials required and requested have been received.

When will I receive my award letter?

If all of your requested documents have been received by our Office of Financial Assistance by the established deadlines, you should receive notice of financial aid eligibility shortly after your offer of admission.

I understand that I will need to contribute at least part of my total expenses. How is my expected contribution determined?

Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is an estimate of how much of your educational expenses you and/or your family are expected to absorb. Your family contribution is not a prediction of how much cash you have on hand; neither is it a value judgment about how much your family ought to have available from their current income, or a measure of your liquidity. Rather, it is an estimate of your capacity over time to absorb some of the cost of education.

The EFC generally expects a strong financial commitment on your part proportional to your income. We estimate how much you can be expected to contribute (relative to other students), but we make no assumptions about how you will finance that contribution.

In fact, you have choices about how to do that, and Clark's Office of Financial Assistance can assist you by suggesting a variety of payment plans and student loans.

I've heard about "packaging." What does this mean?

After Clark has determined the amount of financial aid you will receive, the Office of Financial Assistance offers you this funding from a variety of sources. This combination of different sources is called a financial aid "package."

Your financial aid package may include:

  • Scholarships: Clark funding based on your academic record and achievement. There are scholarships for first-year and transfer students.
  • Grants: State and/or federal funds offered to you without repayment obligation, much like scholarships.
  • Loans: State and/or federal funds that will have to be repaid, usually after you graduate.
  • Work-study: A federal program that provides an opportunity for you to work a part-time job on campus, earning funds for spending money or books.

For a further explanation of your financial aid package, please refer to the Award Guide sent with your award letter packet.

I am applying to several colleges. Will the amount of assistance I receive be similar at each college?

Your financial aid award will differ from college to college depending on the costs of each institution and the availability of funds.

Although the cost of the college is an important consideration, the amount your family will have to pay out of pocket after financial aid is subtracted is equally as important. You will not know the answer to this question until you apply for admission and financial aid and then receive your financial aid package from each college.

Because your eligibility for aid is the difference between the annual cost of attendance and your expected family contribution, you may have increased aid eligibility at higher-priced colleges and less at lower-priced institutions.

The financial aid award that I got from another institution is different from the one I got at Clark. Why is that?

Each college or university has its own distinctive financial aid process that is dependent on the resources of the institution, the total cost of attendance, its admissions goals, its merit standards and other factors.

In addition, private schools like Clark use the information provided in the CSS PROFILE to build financial aid packages, something most public institutions do not do. These differences will usually result in different financial aid packages for each school you apply to.

Clark uses an institutional methodology determined to best fit the university's needs and ability to support students. If Clark is your first choice and you have a financial aid award from another academically strong institution, and it appears that the total cost to you and your family will be greater at Clark, you should share that information with our Office of Financial Assistance. Your family may be facing circumstances that our staff can take into account in the calculation of your need-based financial aid eligibility.

Can I expect to receive the same financial aid award for all four years at Clark?

You can expect to receive approximately the same financial aid each year as long as:

  • Your family's financial situation does not change.
  • The number of your siblings attending undergraduate college does not decrease.
  • The number of family members living in your household does not decrease.
  • You reapply each year by established deadlines.

Does my or my parent's debt factor into my award?

Consumer debt, such as car loans and credit card bills, does not have any bearing on your financial aid award.

My parent is a full-time student. Can that be considered in my aid package?

Under both federal and institutional guidelines, parents in college are not counted as family members enrolled in college.

My sibling is a student. Can that be considered in my aid package?

Dependent siblings under age 24 studying in an undergraduate degree-granting program at an accredited college or university will be counted as family members in college for both federal and institutional aid calculations.

There is no special discount for multiple siblings attending Clark University. All siblings enrolled in undergraduate programs at least half time are considered regardless of where they attend college.

Siblings enrolled in a graduate degree program at an accredited college or university — including Clark University — will be counted as family members in college for federal, but not institutional, aid calculations.

Does academic achievement play a part in determining my financial aid award?

Academics do not play a part in determining your eligibility for need-based assistance. However, at Clark we do offer merit-based scholarships for first-year and transfer students that are based entirely on your academic background.

Eligible students can receive Clark scholarships of up to $18,000 per year, renewable for up to four years, as long as you maintain certain academic standards.

You would be selected on the basis of your grades, class rank and SAT scores. If you receive a merit-based scholarship, you still may be eligible for additional need-based assistance.

How can I be considered an independent student who does not receive assistance from my parent(s)?

You may prefer to be considered independent for financial aid purposes because your parent(s) choose not to help you financially with college, they do not claim you on their tax return or because you live apart from your parent(s).

However, the criteria for establishing independence for financial aid are very strict. According to federal guidelines, you are considered independent of your parents for financial aid purposes only when you can answer "yes" to one or more of the following questions:

  • Are you 24 years old or older?
  • Are you married?
  • Are you a graduate or professional student?
  • Do you have legal dependents other than a spouse?
  • Are you a veteran or an individual currently serving on active duty in the U.S. armed forces?
  • At any time since you turned 13, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care or were you a dependent or ward of the court?
  • Are you or were you an emancipated minor as determined by a court in your state of legal residence?
  • Are you or were you in legal guardianship as determined by a court in your state of legal residence?
  • At any time on or after July 1, 2013, did your high school or school district homeless liaison determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless?
  • At any time on or after July 1, 2013, did the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless?
  • At any time on or after July 1, 2013, did the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or that you were self-supporting and at risk for being homeless?

On a case-by-case basis and under severe circumstances, federal guidelines allow a financial aid administrator to override your status as a dependent student, making you independent for financial aid purposes.

Please note that severe circumstances do not include:

  • Your parent's unwillingness to provide financial information needed to complete the FAFSA.
  • Your parent’s refusal to contribute toward college expenses.
  • Your ability to demonstrate that you financially support yourself.

For more information, contact our Office of Financial Assistance.

If I was not awarded federal work-study funds, can I still work on campus?

In the campus Job Directory, each position is labeled "work-study only," "non-work-study only" or "work-study or non-work-study."

If you have not been awarded federal work-study funds, you may still work on campus in any job labeled "non-work-study" or "work-study or non-work-study."

For a list of available jobs, visit our Job Directory or the Student Employment overview and Student Employment Frequently Asked Questions pages.

I received work-study funds as part of my award. Am I assigned a job or do I apply for one?

An offer of work-study is an opportunity for you to obtain an on-campus job. During orientation, all available jobs are posted on the Job Directory. You apply for positions that interest you and fit your class schedule. You will receive a paycheck for the hours you work.

If you are offered work-study, you are not obligated to work. Some Clark students earn all of their allotments, some just part of their allotments and still others choose not to work on campus.

If Clark offers you work-study, we do not guarantee you will earn your full allotment, nor do we guarantee you a job opportunity.

If you are having difficulty finding employment on campus, you should visit the Office of Financial Assistance for guidance.

If I receive outside scholarships (e.g. Women's Club, High School Scholarship), will this affect my financial aid award?

Unless you notify us otherwise, your financial aid award at Clark is based on the assumption that you will not receive aid from non-Clark sources. If you do receive such assistance, we may revise our offer of financial aid.

Clark University's policy for these adjustments is as follows:

  • For scholarships based on your merit, outside funds may first fill unmet need, if any, as calculated by Clark University. Any remaining outside funds will go first to reduce your self-help aid (loans, then federal work-study). Any remaining outside funds will then reduce Clark's grant dollar-for-dollar.
  • Scholarships that are not meritorious (federal or state grants or tuition subsidies based on parent's employment) reduce Clark aid dollar-for-dollar.

How will participating in a study abroad program affect my aid award?

If you take part in a Clark study abroad program, you will receive your usual aid package, with the exception of federal work-study. If you study in a non-Clark program you will receive only your federal Stafford Loan and federal Pell Grant, if applicable.

Will my financial aid award change if I move into an off-campus apartment?

Unless you have indicated that you are living at home with your parents and commuting to Clark, your financial aid award is based upon the premise that you are incurring living expenses such as room and board on campus or rent and groceries off campus.

Therefore, whether you are living in an on-campus residence hall or an off-campus apartment and you are or are not participating in the meal plan, your aid will remain the same.

If I have not completed my undergraduate requirements in four years, can I still receive aid to complete my degree?

Students are limited to eight semesters of Clark-sponsored, need-based financial aid and merit scholarship awards.

If you take more than eight semesters to complete your undergraduate degree, you may be eligible for federal aid in the form of student loans beginning the ninth semester.

Does Clark have a payment plan by which I can make monthly installments to pay my bill?

Clark offers a monthly payment plan through Tuition Management Systems. An alternative to large payments each semester, this plan allows families to make 10 equal payments beginning June 1. There is no interest charged for this service — only a modest enrollment fee of approximately $60.

Does Clark offer a "discount" if I pay for all four years at once?

Clark offers families the option of fixing the tuition rate for four years at the first-year level. To do this, families pay four years of tuition the first year, thereby "locking" into the first year's tuition rate.