Financial Aid

Matthew Vassar bequeathed to the college its first scholarship fund. Through the years, generous friends of the college have added permanent scholarship funds and annual gifts to help promising students meet their college costs.

The goal of the Financial Aid Office is to make a Vassar education affordable and accessible to all admitted students. Vassar meets 100% of the full demonstrated need of all admitted students for all four years. As of the 2008/09 academic year, student loans which meet demonstrated need were replaced by additional scholarship grants in the financial aid awards of students whose families have a calculated annual income of $60,000 or less.

During the academic 2008/09 year, approximately fifty-eight percent of the student body received financial aid totaling more than $48 million from the college, federal, state, and private sources. Of that amount, over $35 million was awarded in the form of Vassar Scholarship assistance, all of which was awarded on the basis of financial need as determined by the college.

Students applying for admission will receive a freshman application for financial aid and detailed information about financial aid at Vassar, including expenses, how assistance is awarded, and the application procedures. Applicants and their families must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply for assistance from federal financial aid programs. Applicants must also file a supplemental form, the CSS PROFILE form, with the College Scholarship Service. This last form is required by Vassar College prior to the awarding of its own resources. Complete instructions and deadlines for first-year and transfer students are included in the admission application booklet and financial aid brochure available from the Office of Admission.

Instructions and application materials for financial aid for returning students are available from the Office of Financial Aid in late February, with a filing deadline of mid-April.

Eligibility for federal student financial aid is determined by a federally mandated formula. Financial need for a Vassar Scholarship is determined through the use of the assessment principles of the College Scholarship Service and subject to the professional judgment of the student financial aid officers of the college.

Vassar requires all financial aid applicants who are New York residents and United States citizens to apply for TAP. Information about this and other state programs can be obtained from Vassar’s Office of Financial Aid or the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation websites.

The Committee on Student Records provides the TAP certifying officer and the financial aid officer of the college with a means for detailed analysis of any individual student’s status and academic progress to determine continuing eligibility for New York State financial assistance and federal Title IV financial aid programs.

Financial Aid Awards

Financial aid for entering students is awarded on the basis of financial need. The college expects students and parents to assume the primary responsibility for financing college costs. Need is defined as the difference between Vassar’s costs and a family’s expected contribution. Awards are packaged so that the first portion of the student’s need is covered with the offer of a campus job and, if appropriate, a student loan. Any remaining need is met with a scholarship. Recipients of freshman awards can expect continuing financial aid in relation to their need. They must, of course, remain members in good standing of the college community. Demonstrated need is reassessed each academic year and may indeed change if a family’s circumstances change.

Applicants for financial aid are expected to investigate all possible sources of assistance for which they may be eligible, such as state scholarships and awards offered by community organizations.

The following scholarships from funds not held by Vassar are available to applicants who meet the qualifications:

The B. Belle Whitney Scholarship, held in trust by J.P.Morgan/Chase Manhattan Bank for students with financial need from the following towns in Connecticut: Bethel, Danbury, Brookfield, Sherman, New Milford, Newtown, New Fairfield, Redding, and Ridgefield.

The L.L. Staton Scholarship, held in trust by Mahlon DeLoatch, Jr., of Taylor and Brinson, Attorneys-at-Law, Tarboro North Carolina for women from Tarboro, Edgecombe County, eastern North Carolina, and western North Carolina, in that order.

The Eva March Tappan Scholarship, held in trust by Bank of America, Boston, Massachusetts, for residents of Worcester County.

Financial Aid and Athletes

Athletic ability is never a factor in the awarding of financial aid by Vassar College. Vassar College fields teams at the Division III level of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Division III regulations prohibit the awarding of any financial aid based on athletic considerations.

Scholarships in the Performing Arts

A limited number of art-supplies stipends and music-performance scholarships are given on the basis of financial need. Applications may be obtained at the financial aid office in the first week of college for new students, in March for students already enrolled.

Loan Funds

The Federal Stafford Student Loan Program offers federally insured loans at a low rate of interest. You pay no interest or principal while you are in college and have up to 10 years to repay the loan. Deferment and forbearance provisions are available in special circumstances. An origination fee and finance charges are deducted from the loan prior to disbursement by the lender. Applicants for Stafford Loans must demonstrate need under criteria used in determining eligibility for federal student-aid programs administered by the college. Applicants found ineligible for a subsidized Stafford Loan may still receive a Stafford Loan—they will be required to at least make interest payments or capitalize the interest while in school. Application and additional information may be obtained from the Office of Financial Aid or your local lender.

The Federal Perkins Loan program is a federally funded program administered by the college. You may have up to 10 years to repay the loan at 5 percent interest. There are no interest or principal payments while attending college on at least a half-time basis. Deferment and cancellation provisions are available in special circumstances.

International students demonstrating financial need for financial assistance from Vassar College receive a financial aid package that includes a student loan. More information about loans can be obtained from the Office of Financial Aid.

The Office of Financial Aid determines which loan is most appropriate for a student receiving financial aid.

Other Federal Loan Programs

The Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students is available to the parents of dependent undergraduate students. This loan carries a low variable interest rate. The maximum amount that can be borrowed is the cost of education less financial aid. Availability is also subject to credit review of the borrower(s). Repayment begins shortly after the date of disbursement.

Student Employment

A campus job is part of all financial aid awards and priority for certain jobs is given to financial aid recipients. Students receive an allocation for either Federal Work Study (federally funded) or Institutional Employment. Presently, financial aid allocations are $1,720 to $2,150 requiring a student to work eight to ten hours per week. Some positions, which are funded through the Federal Work-Study Program (FWS) are off-campus community service positions. The Student Employment Office assists all students with job placements.

Temporary Loans

The college is fortunate to have modest funds donated to help students needing temporary emergency assistance. These loans are interest free, and are to be repaid in the shortest time possible. Application should be made to the director of financial aid.

Vassar Scholarships for Study Away and Exchange Programs

A limited amount of Vassar scholarship funds is made available for students to participate in programs of study away from the college. Once the scholarship funds for these programs are exhausted, students will be limited to their eligibility for federal student financial aid to assist them with their study-away expenses.


A limited number of fellowships are available for graduate study. The fellowship funds have been established by friends of the college to encourage Vassar graduates to continue their studies in the United States or abroad, either in work toward an advanced degree or in the creative arts. Since the stipends do not cover the full amount needed for graduate work, applicants are strongly advised to apply simultaneously for outside grants. For information concerning graduate fellowships, students should consult their departmental adviser or the director of the Office for Fellowships and Pre-Health Advising.

Members of the graduating class and recent graduates of Vassar College are eligible as specified under each fellowship. Applications should be made before February of the year for which you are applying, to the Committee on Fellowships. Application forms for all Vassar fellowships are available on the Office for Fellowships website.

Vassar College Fellowships

  • Mary Richardson and Lydia Pratt Babbott Fellowship
  • Katherine Jones Baker Fellowship—Biological sciences, medicine, chemistry, or physics
  • Phyllis Hunt Belisle—Mathematics
  • Eliza Buffington Fellowship—Research
  • Ann Cornelisen Fellowship for Undergraduate Students—for study of a current spoken language in any country outside the United States, preferably in conjunction with an interest in sociology, diplomatic service or international law
  • Ann Cornelisen Fund for Post-Graduate Fellowships
  • Nancy Skinner Clark Fellowship—Biology
  • DeGolier Fellowship
  • Eloise Ellery Fellowship
  • Dorothy A. Evans Fellowship
  • The Oppi Handler Fellowship
  • Elizabeth Skinner Hubbard Fellowship—Religion
  • James Ryland and Georgia A. Kendrick Fellowship
  • Abby Leach Memorial Fellowship—Greek history, archaeology, art, literature
  • Maguire Fellowship—Study in another country in which a student can pursue his or her special interests in the humanities, broadly defined
  • Helen Brown Nicholas and John Spangler Nicholas Fellowship—Science at Yale University
  • Mary Pemberton Nourse Fellowship—Medicine, social work, public health
  • Margaret C. Peabody Fellowship—International relations
  • Helen Dwight Reid Fellowship—lnternational relations
  • Mary Langdon Sague Fellowship—Chemistry
  • Belle Skinner Fellowship—Study of history in France
  • Adolph Sutro Fellowship
  • Elinor Wardle Squier Townsend Fellowship—Art, preferably abroad
  • The Elsie Van Dyck DeWitt Scholarship Fund
  • Louise Hart Van Loon Fellowship
  • Margaret Floy Washburn Fund—Psychology
  • Emilie Louise Wells Fellowship—Economics

W. K. Rose Fellowship

This fellowship is made possible by a bequest from the estate of W. K. Rose, a distinguished scholar and teacher who was a member of the Vassar English department from 1953 until his untimely death in the fall of 1968. Its object is to provide a worthy young artist with a chance to be free after college to pursue his/her work as an artist. All Vassar graduating seniors and Vassar alumnae/i under the age of 36 at the time of the deadline who demonstrated a creative talent in their years of undergraduate study, who are not presently employed by the college, and who have not already attained substantial recognition in their field will be considered eligible. Applications are available on the Office for Fellowships website and are due by January 17, 2010.

Academic Internship Funds

The funds listed below help support Vassar’s endowment for academic internships in the sciences, humanities, and social sciences. Students do not apply for specific endowed funds; rather, they apply for participation in either the URSI or Ford Scholars academic internship programs.

  • Mr. and Mrs. Noah Barnhart, Jr. Fund for Academic Internships in the Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Gabrielle Snyder Beck Fund
  • Elise Nichols Bloch 1903 and Margaret Sawyer Bloch 1936 Fellowship
  • Class of 1942 Fund for the Environmental Sciences
  • Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation Fund
  • Terry Gordon Lee ’43 Memorial Internship Fund
  • The New York Community Trust—The John L. Weinberg Fund for Academic Interns
  • The Olmsted Fund
  • Bruce Eben and Mary Ellen Pindyck Internship in Art
  • Joseph H. and Florence A. Roblee Foundation Fund
  • C.V. Starr Foundation Fund