Professor lecturing to a group of students

Whitman College awards a substantial amount of scholarship and uses financial need as the primary consideration in awarding aid. Our cost should not deter a student from applying to the College.

Merit-based aid is awarded to about 25-30% of first year applicants. If you are only interested in applying for achievement-based (merit) scholarships, you do not need to submit either need-based application form to be considered for this. The Office of Admission will automatically let you know if you have been selected as a recipient of an achievement scholarship.


Early Decision 1* Nov 15 Nov 15
Early Decision 2* Jan 1 Jan 1
Regular Decision Jan 15 Jan 15
Fall Transfers March 1 March 1
Spring Transfers Nov 15 Nov 15
Current Students April 15 April 15

*International students seeking financial aid are encouraged to apply Regular Decision. Though Early Decision applications will be accepted and reviewed, international applicants seeking financial aid are often deferred from Early Decision to Regular Decision. If you have questions about whether applying Early Decision is right for you, please send an email to

CSS Profile

The CSS Profile is the most important application students need to submit to apply for Whitman need-based scholarship. Whitman's code for the Profile is 4951.

Please pay close attention to the deadline for submitting your CSS Profile. If you are a new or prospective student and your forms are submitted late, you may be placed on a wait list for need-based scholarship. If you are a current student and your forms are submitted late, your need-based scholarship may be reduced.

However, if you are considered an independent student for financial aid purposes, the CSS Profile is not required. You will only need to complete the FAFSA.


The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the second form that needs to be completed. This form will become available to all students starting October 1.

Whitman's code for the FAFSA is 003803. If your FAFSA is selected for Verification, we will require some additional documentation.

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool on the FAFSA will be unavailable until this fall. Both the IRS and Department of Education are working to resolve this issue.

Students are still able to complete the FAFSA without using the Data Retrieval Tool. It is important that you submit the FAFSA on time so that you can be fully considered for need-based financial aid. If you are filling out the FAFSA, you can refer to a copy of your 2015 federal income tax return and manually input your tax information on sections requesting parent or student income. Note: The 2017-18 FAFSA requires 2015 tax information. 

For additional information regarding the Data Retrieval Tool outage, you can refer to the joint statement from the IRS and Department of ED.

If you have any questions as you're completing the FAFSA, please contact the Financial Aid Office.

Federal Tax Returns

If your family is self-employed or receives income from sources other than wages, we may require copies of federal income tax returns. You will be notified if tax returns are needed for us to process your application.

It is important that we receive a complete copy so please include all schedules, business/corporate returns, K-1 and W-2 forms. If a tax extension has been filed, we will need a copy of that extension form by May 1.

Income information

Be sure to put the AGI on the required line.

Do not forget to put down income from all sources, i.e. wages, interest, dividends, taxable and untaxable Social Security benefits, unemployment benefits, untaxed interest, pension benefits, etc.

When reporting income tax, be sure to put down income tax paid, not income tax withheld.

When reporting mother's and father's individual wages from the W-2, be sure to use the amount shown on box 1 of the W-2. If you are self-employed you should report the net earnings on schedule SE.


Be sure to include on the forms only people in the household for whom the parents provide more than 50% of their living expenses. In most cases, this will be those family members listed on the 1040.

List only the amount of loan that parents are repaying for their educational expenses.

Report only the amount of tuition and fees paid for private elementary and secondary school; do not include any amount if the younger sibling is being homeschooled or attends a public school. Do not include any amount if it is a second child in college.

Do not report child support paid when in fact it is child support received.

When parents are divorced and do not live together, report information for only the parent with whom the student lives or receives the majority of support from in "Parent Information."

Be sure to include income from step parent when parent is remarried.

Medical/Dental Expenses - if you incur un-reimbursed medical expenses, it is helpful if you report that amount on schedule A of your tax return, even if it is less than the amount that may be deducted.


Be sure to include the assets of the step-parent if the custodial parent is remarried.

Be sure to report retirement contributions (tax-deferred pension and savings plans), which are shown on W-2 forms in Boxes 12a through 12d, codes D,E,F,G,H, and S.

If your reported assets do not support your interest or dividend income, we will impute at 1.5% and 2.5% respectively for reported interest and dividends.

When we see rental income and no other real estate value, we will impute the value of the rental property at 20 times the rents paid and calculate the mortgage balance at 7.0%; i.e. if rents received are equal to $20,000 and there is no value or a relatively small value shown, we will impute a value of $400,000 for the property. If there is interest paid shown on schedule E for the property, we will divide the amount by .070 to calculate the mortgage owed.

If you have capital gains or losses reported on Schedule D and line 13 of your 1040, you need to let us know if the funds were re-invested or were funds received during the previous year as a sale only.

Whitman College requires all families who are applying for need based aid to complete the CSS Profile and FAFSA. The CSS Profile is used for institutional aid and the FAFSA for federal and state aid. The award the student receives could be a combination of both.

With the CSS Profile we look at many pieces to determine your need as a family.  We look at the number of family members and the number in college. There is a contribution from the parent and student. If the parent has 2 in college we divide the parent contribution in half. Also though if you have 2 in college when you enter your contribution and aid could change when there is only 1 in college. That means we would no longer divide the contribution if there is only 1 in college the following year. Also, we do not consider a sibling in graduate school.

We use adjusted gross income which includes taxable and untaxable income. If you have losses on your income we zero them out. If you own a business we will also add back depreciation that you write off. The reason for this is most of the time depreciation is on paper only.

For assets Whitman does not look at your home or the equity you have in it but we do look at all other assets including rentals, the business you may have and a farm. We look at the value after the debt is subtracted.  We allow then for an asset protection allowance and then decide your contribution (10-12% approximately) from the remainder of the asset left. We do not allow for a negative value and we would zero it out. While we look at untaxed income for retirement we do not look at the value of your retirement accounts.

If a student has assets we will use 35% of that asset. Just a reminder the next year we would only use 35% of what is left. We also have a summer earning expectation starting at $1,900 for the first year.

If you live in a more expensive area we have allowances for cost of living. This includes all areas in the country. If you are from a foreign country the CSS Profile does that calculation for us as they are aware of the costs in the country more than we are.

If the parent is divorced or single we will look at a contribution from the non-custodial parent. It is possible to have that waived depending on the circumstances for the family.  

Below is a chart showing the average scholarship, loan and work for our incoming students. It gives you an idea based on your income what scholarship, loan and work study amount you may receive.

Income Range (x$1000)

Average scholarship and grant

Average Loan

Minimum scholarship

Maximum scholarship

Average Student Employment

Average Total Financial Aid

























































If your FAFSA is selected for verification there are a few additional documents we will require from you. Both you and your parents will either need to use the data retrieval tool on your FAFSA to upload your tax return or you will need to request a tax transcript from the IRS. The easiest way to request a tax transcript is online through the IRS website. Once you have received your tax transcript, please send it to our office by mail or fax.

If you are a dependent student, you will also need to complete the dependent student verification worksheet and return it to our office. If you are considered an independent student, you will need to complete the independent student verification worksheet.

Federal Definition of an Independent Student

  • The student must be 24 years of age by December 31 of the award year.
  • The student is a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces in active service and was released under a condition other than dishonorable/or were a National Guard or Reserves enlistee who served in Operation Desert Shield/Storm and were discharged from active duty.
  • The student is a graduate or professional student.
  • The student is married at the time of application for federal student aid funds.
  • The student is a ward of the court or both parents are deceased.
  • The student has legal dependents (other than a spouse). This is defined as any children who get more than half of their support from the student. It also includes other people who live with the student and get more than half of their support from the student, and will continue to get that support during the upcoming school year.
  • The student is an emancipated minor as determined by a court in your state of legal residence.
  • The student has been determined to be an unaccompanied youth who is homeless.

Whitman Definition of an Independent Student

Whitman College will use the federal definition of an independent student with two exceptions:

  • Married students: In most cases, when the student comes to Whitman College as a married student, we will treat the student as independent. However, Whitman College reserves the right to treat the student as dependent for its own scholarship funds depending upon individual circumstances.

    For students who come to Whitman College as single, dependent students, and who marry while in attendance, the College will continue to treat them as dependent.
  • Emancipated minors: Must show documentation regarding extenuating circumstances. Please contact the office of financial aid services for more information.
  • Adopted Students:Students who have been adopted, regardless of the age at adoption will be considered dependent for purposes of applying for financial aid at Whitman College. Parental income and asset information must be submitted on the CSS Profile, even if it is determined it need not be provided on the FAFSA.