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Early Financial Aid Assessment

Macalester offers two Early Decision admission rounds for students who know that Macalester is their first-choice college. Students who apply via Early Decision commit to attending Macalester if they are admitted and enjoy the benefit of knowing their college destination in December (Early Decision I) or February (Early Decision II).

In the past, one barrier to choosing Early Decision was that students were required to commit to attending Macalester before knowing their financial aid eligibility. For many students, this barrier was too much to overcome. We designed our Early Financial Aid Assessment (EFAA) program to eliminate this barrier. With our EFAA program, students who are interested in Early Decision can receive an official statement of financial aid eligibility before they commit to applying through Early Decision. Our goal is to make Early Decision an option for everyone who knows that Macalester is the right place for them.

When can I apply for an early financial aid assessment?

Students who are considering Early Decision and would like an early financial aid assessment begin by completing the Macalester Preliminary Application. The Preliminary Application is not a full application for admission; it consists of biographical information and provides students with log-in information to activate their Macalester application portal. Starting on September 1, students can submit an official request for an early financial aid assessment.

To receive the early financial aid assessment, financial aid application materials must be submitted between October 1 and December 15. Macalester will provide financial aid results approximately one week after receiving all financial aid application materials. Please note the admission application deadlines are November 1 for Early Decision I and January 1 for Early Decision II.

What will I learn from an early financial aid assessment?

Need-based EFAAs

The early financial aid assessment will report eligibility for need-based financial aid, including need-based grants, student loans, and student employment. A more detailed financial aid award will be provided if the student applies for admission and is accepted, but the EFAA is a reliable, accurate preview of the financial aid that the student will receive.

These EFAAs will not provide an assessment of eligibility for merit-based scholarships. However, the need-based grants included in the EFAA represent a student’s total eligibility for grants and scholarships. If the student is admitted and awarded a merit scholarship, it will be incorporated into the grant amount from the EFAA.

Merit-based EFAAs

Students who do not plan to apply for need-based financial aid, or who will only qualify for a very small amount of need-based aid, can instead request an early assessment of their eligibility for merit-based scholarships. Macalester offers an array of scholarships to students based on their academic qualifications without regard to their family financial situation. Students who wish to have an assessment solely of their eligibility for merit-based scholarships can select this option on the EFAA request form and must provide a high school transcript showing all courses and grades through the end of junior year.

Before requesting an EFAA, we encourage families to use our Net Price Calculator to estimate their financial aid eligibility and determine which type of EFAA fits them best.

How do I apply for an early financial aid assessment?

To request and apply for an early financial aid assessment, please complete the following steps. You can also review our frequently asked questions about applying for financial aid.

International students: Please note that you do not need to provide tax documents as part of your financial aid application. After completing the Macalester Preliminary Application and requesting an early financial aid assessment, please review the steps to apply for financial aid as an international student.

Need-based EFAAs

Need-Based EFAA ItemsTimeline
Macalester Preliminary ApplicationNo later than December 15
Request an early financial aid assessmentSeptember 1 to December 15
CSS Profile (all biological/adoptive parents,
regardless of current marital status)
October 1 to December 15
Tax Documents (IDOC Submission)October 1 to December 15
  1. Complete the Macalester Preliminary Application (and activate your application portal)
    Visit macalester.edu/admissions/apply for more information. After completing the Preliminary Application, use the log-in information you receive by email to activate your application portal.
  2. Request an early financial aid assessment
    Submit an official request for an early financial aid assessment. If you apply for financial aid but have not submitted this request, the Financial Aid Office will not know that you would like to receive an early assessment.
  3. CSS Profile
    Visit cssprofile.collegeboard.org to complete the CSS Profile. Include Macalester’s code (6390) in the school release section. There is a fee associated with filing the CSS Profile, which is automatically waived for many low-income filers. Divorced/separated parents: If your biological/adoptive parents are not married and do not reside in the same household, both parents must complete separate CSS Profile applications in order for you to be considered for financial aid from Macalester. For more information about this requirement, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions page. If you do not have contact with one of your biological/adoptive parents or cannot have that parent complete the CSS Profile, you can request this requirement be waived.
  4. Tax documents (IDOC Submission)
    In response to your CSS Profile (step 3 above), you will receive information from the College Board IDOC service on behalf of Macalester College. Macalester will use the IDOC service to collect tax documents and applicable supplements required to apply for financial aid from Macalester. Your IDOC information will specify which documents are required as part of your financial aid application. In general, they will include your parents’ federal tax return and W-2 forms. Parents who do not file a tax return will be asked to complete a Non-Filer Statement (provided by the IDOC service).

Merit-based EFAAs

Merit-Based EFAA ItemsTimeline
Net Price CalculatorAny time
Macalester Preliminary ApplicationNo later than December 15
Request an early financial aid assessmentSeptember 1 to December 15
High school transcriptOctober 1 to December 15
  1. Use the Net Price Calculator
    Merit-based EFAAs are for students who do not plan to apply for need-based financial aid, or who will only qualify for a very small amount of need-based aid. We encourage families to use our Net Price Calculator to estimate their financial aid eligibility and determine if a merit-based EFAA is the right option.
  2. Complete the Macalester Preliminary Application (and activate your application portal)
    Visit macalester.edu/admissions/apply for more information. After completing the Preliminary Application, use the log-in information you receive by email to activate your application portal.
  3. Request an early financial aid assessment
    Submit an official request for an early financial aid assessment. In the request form, select the option to receive a merit-based EFAA.
  4. High school transcript
    Upload a copy of your high school transcript to your Macalester application portal. You may also provide ACT/SAT test scores if you plan to supply test scores when you apply for admission.