Gianna Cifredo 5 min read Financial Aid

What Does It Cost to Attend Amherst College?

High education costs are impacting people of all economical strata, but the middle class is especially affected. Not wealthy enough to pay high tuition bills on their own, many middle class students also don’t qualify for as much financial aid as those in the lower income brackets. In light of these facts, it’s no surprise that student loan debt currently exceeds $1.2 trillion.

 

While the sticker price on college tuition is certainly intimidating, the good news is that there are a number of variables affecting what individual families pay for their children to attend school. Additionally, there are steps students can take to save money at top institutions. Read on to learn more about college tuition costs, along with the price you can expect to pay to attend Amherst College.

 

Why College Costs Are Highly Variable

 

Private colleges are notorious for their high sticker prices. However, it’s important to note that many Amherst College students don’t pay the tuition rate listed in the school brochure. Because of their high endowments, private institutions tend to have more flexibility when it comes to offering financial aid. In other words, desirable applicants from the lower income brackets often pay far less to attend Amherst than applicants in the upper economic echelon.

 

So what can you expect to pay for your student’s college degree? The net price is the amount a student pays for tuition after subtracting the value of grants and loans. When calculating this figure, be sure to include all forms of funding, including federal, state, and local government aid, as well as outside scholarships.

 

What Is the List Price at Amherst College?

 

Amherst College has a high sticker price. For the 2016-2017 school year, the list price for tuition, room, and board at Amherst was $68,986. While this figure might be a turn-off to potential applicants, the fact that Amherst is a private college means there is significant variability with regard to pricing. In general, families that earn less than $175,000 a year are likely to receive some financial aid.

 

What Is the Amherst College Financial Aid Net Price?

 

The net price to attend Amherst is considerably less than the list price. For the 2016-2017 school year, students receiving financial aid paid an average of $56,902 per year in tuition and room and board.

 

What Is the Family Income-Based Cost of Attending Amherst College?

 

Amherst College is passionate about admitting students from all income brackets. Families can expect to pay the following net tuition prices depending on income level:

 

Family Income Average Net Price
$0-$30,000 $6,228*
$30,001-$48,000 $4,764
$48,001-$75,000 $13,268
$75,001-$110,000 $20,406
$110,000 $43,142

 

* These numbers do not reflect any Pell Grants that families may receive. Families with an income of $0-30k often receive Federal Pell Grants, which reduce the amount of financial aid that individual institutions need to award. This is why there is a higher tuition rate for families with $0-30k vs. those with $30k-48k.

 

How Much Merit Aid Do Amherst College Students Receive?

 

Although Amherst College students receive a significant amount of need-based aid, the possibility of securing merit-based financing is relatively slim. Amherst officially doesn’t offer merit aid, but a few exceptional applicants will be invited to participate in the Schupf Scholars Program. Schupf Scholars have access to special funding for their academic endeavors, among other benefits. Students have been known to use this funding to support themselves during unpaid internships, or to do archival research internationally.

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How Many Amherst College Students Take Out Loans?

 

Amherst is a no-loan school, meaning that the financial aid office will only offer grants (money families don’t have to pay back) in students’ financial aid packages.

 

Still, some students choose to take out federal loans if they’re eligible. According to CollegeVine’s research, the average federal loan value is $2,464 across all four years, with 18% of students borrowing money.

 

Ways to Save Money on College

 

Rising college tuition costs mean that many students have to work part-time to afford their degrees. According to the Amherst College website, about half of all students work on campus at some point during their college careers. Students who don’t qualify for work-study positions may be able to earn extra money at other campus jobs, or by working at the many restaurants and retail shops in the town center.

 

Additionally, many students seek out additional funding in the form of scholarships. One of the best-known academic competitions, the National Merit Scholarship program offers grants to students scoring in the top 1 percent of PSAT test-takers. Approximately 50,000 students benefit from this scholarship on an annual basis.

 

You can learn more about financial aid options at Amherst College online.

 

Student Outcomes at Amherst College

 

Before choosing a school, it’s important to research the four-year graduation rate (it would be a shame to pay for an extra year of tuition when college is already so expensive!). Currently, Amherst College boasts a six-year graduation rate of 93%. Amherst’s website does not list a four-year graduation rate, though other sources estimate it to be 87-89%. It is not uncommon for students to take a semester off for personal reasons, whether to work or to explore non-academic interests, which may account for the lower four-year graduation rate.

 

Families can also use data on student financial outcomes to determine whether colleges offer a solid return on investment. Ten years after graduating from Amherst College, the average alum earns $65,500 per year.

 

Local Area Cost Considerations

 

Located in Western Massachusetts, Amherst has a lower cost of living than other parts of the state. However, it’s still an expensive place to attend school. Currently, Amherst has a cost of living index of 122.6, meaning it’s about 22% more expensive than the average U.S. city. Housing is one of the highest expenses, with Springfield Metro residents paying an average of $831 for a one-bedroom apartment, $1061 for a two-bedroom, and $1329 for a three-bedroom.

 

Luckily, on-campus housing is guaranteed all four years at Amherst, and 98% of students choose to live on-campus. In fact, students who wish to live off-campus must actually seek permission to do so. Those who do live off-campus are often able to arrange a sort of house-sitting agreement with locals, or find roommates to share a house for much lower rent.

 

Students looking to pad their wallets may opt to pick up a part time job in Amherst or one of the surrounding towns, such as Northampton or South Hadley. Massachusetts has a minimum wage of $12 per hour, much higher than the national average.

 

Whether you’re set on attending Amherst College or another fine institution, the CollegeVine Applications Team can help you achieve your goals. Recognizing that navigating the financial aid system can be complex, we sit down with families one on one to determine the best way of paying for school. Additionally, we help students create compelling applicant profiles, prep for interviews, and revise college essays. To learn more about how we can help streamline the college applications process, call today or contact us online.

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Gianna Cifredo
Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
Gianna Cifredo is a graduate of the University of Central Florida, where she majored in Philosophy. She has six years of higher education and test prep experience, and now works as a freelance writer specializing in education. She currently lives in Orlando, Florida and is a proud cat mom.