Frequently Asked Questions

Admissions Office
651-696-6357
(800) 231-7974
651-696-6724 (fax)
Geolocation
44.939429,-93.169218
62 Macalester Street
St. Paul, MN
55105 USA
Financial Aid
651-696-6214
(800) 231-7974
651-696-6866 (fax)
Mailing Address
1600 Grand Avenue
St. Paul, MN
55105 USA

About financial aid

  1. How do I apply for financial aid?
  2. What is the deadline for applying for aid?
  3. How can I learn more about my chances of receiving financial aid?
  4. How do tuition increases affect my financial aid package?
  5. Am I required to reapply for financial aid every year? Will my financial aid package change each year?
  6. What’s the difference between need-based aid and merit aid?
  7. Are there special application instructions for divorced parents?
  8. How do I apply for financial aid as an independent student?
  9. Am I eligible for financial aid when on an off-campus program?

About your award

  1. When will I receive my financial aid award?
  2. If I am awarded an outside scholarship, will my financial aid package be reduced?
  3. What if I am unable to find a summer job to meet my student contribution?
  4. When will I receive a bill for tuition and fees?
  5. Is it possible to appeal my financial aid award?

U.S. Students Applying For Financial Aid

  1. When/why does Macalester required a Noncustodial PROFILE?
  2. What is IDOC?
  3. What is an IDOC cover sheet and when will I receive one?
  4. How can I obtain a replacement IDOC cover sheet?
  5. Why are Macalester's filing dates so early?
  6. What if I miss the priority filing date?
  7. Tax Return Questions
    1. My tax return has not yet been completed. May I file the FAFSA and/or PROFILE with estimated figures?
    2. My tax return has not yet been completed. Do you want the previous year's tax return?
    3. My tax return has not yet been completed. Do you want an estimated tax return?
    4. Must I wait until I send my tax return to the IRS before I send it to Macalester?
    5. I will not file a tax return. What should I do?
    6. I filed my tax return electronically. What form must I submit?
    7. I do not have a copy of my tax return. What should I do?
  8. How can I find out what is missing from my financial aid application?
  9. I filed my FAFSA, but Macalester does not have record of receiving the results. What should I do?
  10. I was not able to list Macalester as one of the schools on my FAFSA. How do I get the FAFSA results to Macalester?
  11. When will I receive financial aid application results?

International Students Applying for Aid

  1. Can I work to help pay for my education?
  2. Are educational loans available to international students?
  3. Will I have a better chance of being admitted to Macalester if I offer to pay for my first year and apply for financial aid after I have matriculated?
  4. Should I pursue outside scholarships, and, if I receive them, do I need to notify Macalester?
  5. Does Macalester offer special or honorary scholarships to international students?

About financial aid

1. How do I apply for financial aid?

You can find detailed information on financial aid here. The process is slightly different for early decision applicants, and transfer and international students.

  • Macalester’s FAFSA code is: 002358
  • Macalester's CCS PROFILE code is: 6390

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2. What is the deadline for applying for aid?

The application deadline varies by type of applicant (domestic, international, or transfer student) and whether you are applying early or regular decision. Specific deadlines and instructions for each type of applicant can be found on our website.

To be considered for financial aid, you must indicate your intent to apply for aid when you complete your admission application.

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3. How can I learn more about my chances of receiving financial aid?

At Macalester, the majority of aid is awarded based on family income. Family assets, family size, the number of children enrolled in college and other factors can also affect eligibility. 72% of all students receive financial aid; and fully 86% of first year students who applied for aid received awards. Families qualifying for aid at Mac earned income ranging from $0 to more than $160,000 annually. Each student’s need is evaluated based on his or her family financial circumstances.

These websites offer useful information on financing college and tools for estimating financial aid eligibility:

American College Testing's Financial Aid Estimator and College Scholarship Service's College Money Planner are helpful resources available from your high school college guidance office. Macalester's Financial Aid staff can help you use these tools plan to finance your college education.

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4. How do tuition increases affect my financial aid package?

Generally, the grant portion of a student's financial aid package remains the same from year to year. A student's increased earning ability over four years may warrant a greater contribution from summer employment. Because upperclass students are in a better position to borrow more, students usually are expected to take out larger loans as they progress through college.

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5. Am I required to reapply for financial aid every year? Will my financial aid package change each year?

US students who receive need-based financial aid must complete a financial aid application each year.  The most common reasons for changes to need-based financial aid eligibility are siblings entering or leaving college and significant changes in family income.  There are occasional exceptions and messages on the student's individual notification of financial aid eligibility will supersede these rules of thumb.

With the exception of National Merit Scholarships, merit-based scholarships do not require reapplication.  National Merit Scholars must follow the National Merit Scholarship Corporation renewal guidelines.

International students receive four-year financial aid packages and are not required to reapply each year.

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6. What’s the difference between need-based and merit aid?

Most aid at Macalester is based on each applicant's financial need; this is called “need-based” aid. We look at family income and other factors to determine aid packages. Macalester emphasizes need-based aid to keep the college accessible to talented students from a variety of economic backgrounds.

Macalester offers several special scholarships that are based on academic merit rather than financial need.

With the exception of the National Merit Scholarship (which requires a special procedure), you will automatically be considered for merit-based aid when you apply for admission to Macalester. Merit-based scholarships are awarded for a four-year period. If you qualify, you may receive need-based financial aid in addition to these scholarships.

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7. Are there special application instructions for divorced parents?

Federal and state regulations require that the custodial parent (and step-parent, if applicable) complete the application for federal and college financial aid. Macalester requires the non-custodial parent to complete the College Scholarship Service (CSS) Noncustodial Parent Form, which should be returned to Macalester.

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8. How do I apply for financial aid as an independent student?

If you are considering applying for aid as an independent student, you must contact the Macalester Financial Aid Office before completing your financial aid application. All sources of financial aid at Macalester require students to be 24 years old in order to be considered independent, with very few exceptions. Students entering Macalester as dependent will be treated in that manner by the college in future years.

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9. Am I eligible for financial aid when on an off-campus program?

Students who participate in Macalester-approved programs may apply for and receive financial aid. Macalester is committed to providing financial aid to ensure that students who want to study off-campus can do so, regardless of family income.

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About your award

  1. When will I receive my financial aid award?
  2. If I am awarded an outside scholarship, will my financial aid package be reduced?
  3. What if I am unable to find a summer job to meet my student contribution?
  4. When will I receive a bill for tuition and fees?
  5. Is it possible to appeal my financial aid award?

1. When will I receive my financial aid award?

If you complete your financial aid application on time, you should receive your financial aid award within a few days of hearing that you've been admitted.

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2. If I receive an outside scholarship, will my financial aid package be reduced?

If I receive an outside scholarship, will my financial aid package be reduced?

Outside Scholarships will reduce any need-based grant from Macalester College, according to our Outside Scholarship Policy.

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3. What if I am unable to find a summer job to meet my student contribution?

Any student who does not find a summer job or works less than full-time should write the Financial Aid Office in early August, giving specific information. We can add additional work and/or loan to address the lack of summer earnings.

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4. When will I receive a bill for tuition and fees?

Macalester bills twice a year, in July and December for the following term. Many families use a monthly payment plan. Information about the payment plan is included with the fall billing.

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5. Is it possible to appeal my financial aid award?

If the student and parents' financial circumstances have changed since the time of the aid application, they may write a letter of appeal regarding the award. It is important to include specific information and data explaining how your situation has changed. The aid award cannot be increased unless justified by recognized financial aid methodologies.

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U.S. Students Applying For Financial Aid

  1. When/why does Macalester required a Noncustodial PROFILE?
  2. What is IDOC?
  3. What is an IDOC cover sheet and when will I receive one?
  4. How can I obtain a replacement IDOC cover sheet?
  5. Why are Macalester's filing dates so early?
  6. What if I miss the priority filing date?
  7. Tax Return Questions
    1. My tax return has not yet been completed. May I file the FAFSA and/or PROFILE with estimated figures?
    2. My tax return has not yet been completed. Do you want the previous year's tax return?
    3. My tax return has not yet been completed. Do you want an estimated tax return?
    4. Must I wait until I send my tax return to the IRS before I send it to Macalester?
    5. I will not file a tax return. What should I do?
    6. I filed my tax return electronically. What form must I submit?
    7. I do not have a copy of my tax return. What should I do?
  8. How can I find out what is missing from my financial aid application?
  9. I filed my FAFSA, but Macalester does not have record of receiving the results. What should I do?
  10. I was not able to list Macalester as one of the schools on my FAFSA. How do I get the FAFSA results to Macalester?
  11. When will I receive financial aid application results?

1. When/why does Macalester require a Noncustodial PROFILE?
For the purposes of determining eligibility for need-based financial aid from Macalester, a Noncustodial PROFILE is required in cases where the applicant's biological/adoptive parents are separated or divorced. Each parent's ability to pay for college expenses is evaluated in determining eligibility for need-based financial aid from Macalester.

When applicable, applicants receive Noncustodial PROFILE instructions in response to the filing of the Financial Aid PROFILE.

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2. What is IDOC?
IDOC is short for the College Board's Institutional Documentation Service. Macalester uses IDOC to collect the tax returns of Regular Decision and Transfer financial aid applicants as well as returning Macalester students. Applicants are asked to submit tax returns through IDOC rather than sending them to Macalester. Tax documents are scanned by the IDOC service and made available to Macalester. IDOC speeds delivery and analysis of tax return information and, if more than one of an applicant's schools uses IDOC, simplifies the financial aid application process.

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3. What is an IDOC cover sheet and when will I receive one?

An IDOC cover sheet must be included when you send your tax returns and other documents to the IDOC service. The IDOC cover sheet provides identity information to IDOC and ensures that your documents will be delivered to Macalester and associated with your financial aid application. IDOC cover sheets are sent by post and/or by e-mail beginning in early February.

You must file a Financial Aid PROFILE to receive an IDOC cover sheet.

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4. How can I obtain a replacement IDOC cover sheet?

If you need a duplicate IDOC cover sheet, visit idoc.collegeboard.com.

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5. Why is Macalester's aid application priority filing date so early?

Priority filing dates for prospective students applying under the regular decision plan are set in early February. We understand that it is often difficult to meet these dates because tax documents are often unavailable until late January (or later, in some cases). Our priority filing date is set so that we can receive and analyze the financial aid applications of several thousand applicants and deliver financial aid application results at the same time that admission decisions are delivered (usually in late March).

If you cannot meet the priority filing date for all application materials, you should at least complete the College Board PROFILE (use estimated income information, if necessary) by the priority filing date.

Returning students who complete their aid applications by the priority filing date should receive a response to their aid application in early June. If the priority filing date has passed, you should complete your aid application as soon as possible. Of course, you will not receive financial aid until after you complete your aid application. You may experience validation difficulties if your aid application is not complete well in advance of the beginning of fall semester.

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6. What if I miss the financial aid application priority filing date?

Please complete the College Board PROFILE (use estimated income information, if necessary) by the priority filing date.

You should complete the remainder your aid application as soon as possible.  Aid applications are processed in the order they are completed, so applying late could delay your financial aid eligibility notification, giving your family less time to review the results.

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7.1. My tax return has not yet been completed. May I file the FAFSA and/or PROFILE with estimated figures?

Yes, please file the FAFSA and/or PROFILE with estimated income figures no later than the priority filing date. Both the FAFSA and PROFILE include a question where you can indicate that you are using estimates.

Macalester will correct any errors when your final tax return is received and, if you decided to enroll at Macalester or are a returning Macalester student, will transmit the corrections to the FAFSA processor on your behalf. If your FAFSA information is being released to other schools, it may be important for you to update your FAFSA information yourself after you have a final tax return.

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7.2. My tax return has not yet been completed. Do you want the previous year's tax return?

Not unless you are applying for admission under one of the Early Decision plans. If your tax return will not be prepared until after April 15, contact our office for guidance.

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7.3. My tax return has not yet been completed. Do you want an estimated tax return?

No. We cannot use an estimated tax return for financial aid purposes.

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7.4. Must I wait until I send my tax return to the IRS before I send it to Macalester?

No. As long as your tax return is in its final form, it can be used for financial aid application purposes.

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7.5. I will not file a tax return. What should I do?

Parents or students who are not required to and will not file a tax return should complete a non-filer statement located on the IDOC cover sheet. Early decision applicants may visit our forms page to download the non-filer statement.

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7.6. I filed my tax return electronically. What form must I submit?

If you used tax preparation software (like TurboTax® or TaxCut®), use the software to print out form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ, as applicable. Sign the document and send it to us. Forms 8453 and other summaries of electronic filing are not acceptable for financial aid purposes.

If you cannot obtain form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ, call (800) 829-1040 to request a tax transcript from the IRS.

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7.7. I do not have a copy of my tax return. What should I do?

You can call (800) 829-1040 to request a tax transcript from the IRS. There is no charge for a tax transcript.

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8. How can I find out what is missing

Prospective students should log onto Check Application and Financial Aid Status using the ID and password previously provided to you. Financial aid application status is shown at the bottom of the page. You may also send an e-mail inquiry to finaid@macalester.edu or phone 651-696-6214.

Returning applicants should log in to 1600grand.macalester.edu and click the Student Life tab.

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9. I filed my FAFSA, but Macalester does not have record of receiving the results. What should I do?

First, check to see that Macalester was listed as one of the schools you sent your results to. You should review your Student Aid Report (SAR) to see which schools were listed on your FAFSA. You may access your SAR on the FAFSA web site or call 800-4FED-AID to inquire about which schools have received your FAFSA results.

If Macalester is not listed as a school on your SAR, you should submit a revised FAFSA and list Macalester's code (002358) in the school section (click here for more information). You may revise your FAFSA online or call the Federal Student Aid at 800-4FED-AID for assistance.

If Macalester is listed in the school section of your SAR:

  1. There is a period of time from January 1 to around January 15 when Macalester does not have software necessary to load FAFSA results (our software vendor usually delivers the necessary updates in mid-January). If your SAR does list Macalester in the school section, we will eventually be able to receive and load your FAFSA results. If necessary, you may replace Macalester with another school's code. If Macalester is listed on the SAR, replacing Macalester's code with another school's code will not prevent Macalester from loading your FAFSA results.
  2. After January 15, please contact our office if Macalester is listed on your SAR but you have received notice from Macalester that your FAFSA results are missing. We will help troubleshoot and locate your FAFSA results.

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10. I was not able to include Macalester as one of the schools on my FAFSA. How do I get the FAFSA results to Macalester?

Click here for instructions.

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11. When will I receive financial aid application results?

Admitted students will usually receive financial aid application results within a few days of receiving their admission letter. If the aid application is not complete at the time of admission, financial aid results will be mailed within approximately one week after the date that the aid application is completed.

The first batch of returning student aid application responses will be sent in early June. If you complete your financial aid application by the priority filing date, our response will be delivered in early June.

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International Students Applying for Aid

  1. Can I work to help pay for my education?
  2. Are educational loans available to international students?
  3. Will I have a better chance of being admitted to Macalester if I offer to pay for my first year and apply for financial aid after I have matriculated?
  4. Should I pursue outside scholarships, and, if I receive them, do I need to notify Macalester?
  5. Does Macalester offer special or honorary scholarships to international students?

1. Can I work to help pay for my education?

All international students who qualify for financial aid are offered part time campus work as part of their financial aid package.  Students generally work between ten and twelve hours per week in an office or department on campus during the academic year.

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2. Are educational loans available to international students?

Yes. We offere a Macalester College International Student Loan to assist students in financing a portion of their educational expenses.

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3. Will I have a better chance of being admitted to Macalester if I offer to pay for my first year and apply for financial aid after I have matriculated?

No.  Macalester is unable to consider applications for financial aid from international students after they have begun their studies at the college.  All candidates are required to submit an accurate and thorough assessment of their financial situation as part of their application for admissions to the college.

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4. Should I pursue outside scholarships, and, if I receive them, do I need to notify Macalester?

Yes.  All applicants are encouraged to pursue any source of funding that may help them afford their education at Macalester.  Money is often available through local, national, regional, and global foundations.  To maximize your chances of receiving financial aid from Macalester, it is imperative that you provide us with details of any outside assistance you have obtained.

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5. Does Macalester offer special or honorary scholarships to international students?

All financial aid awards for international students are based on need.  Because the international admissions process at Macalester is highly competitive, all students who receive financial aid have exceptional academic and personal records.  In this sense the Kofi Annan International Scholarship is based on merit as well as need.

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