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Outside Scholarship Policy

You must notify the Financial Aid Office if you receive scholarships or other sources of financial aid from non-Macalester sources. Macalester’s policy on the treatment of outside scholarships and awards is detailed below. Please note that outside awards do not affect merit-based scholarships from Macalester (DeWitt Wallace Distinguished Scholarships, Catharine Lealtad Scholarships, Macalester College National Merit Scholarships, and Charles J. Turck Presidential Honor Scholarships).

  1. The first $500 you receive in outside scholarships will not impact your need-based grants from Macalester.
  2. If you receive more than $500 in outside scholarships, half of the amount exceeding $500 will replace need-based grants from Macalester.
  3. After the adjustment described above is made, Macalester will recalculate your Federal Subsidized Direct Loan eligibility (if applicable) based on your FAFSA result. In some cases, your loan eligibility and/or student employment eligibility will be reduced if your total financial aid exceeds your cost of attendance.
  4. See additional policy details and exceptions below.


An example of how an outside scholarship would affect an existing financial aid package is shown below.

Financial Aid Package
Before Outside Scholarship
Macalester College Grant$15,000
Subsidized Federal Direct Loan$3,500
Unsubsidized Fed. Direct Loan$2,000
Student Employment$2,450
Total Financial Aid Package$22,950
Financial Aid Package
After Outside Scholarship
Macalester College Grant$12,750
Subsidized Fed. Direct Loan$3,500
Unsubsidized Fed. Direct Loan$2,000
Student Employment$2,450
Outside Scholarship$5,000
Total Financial Aid Package$25,700

Why do non-Macalester scholarships affect financial aid from Macalester?

Macalester is committed to providing financial aid packages equal to 100% of each admitted student’s demonstrated need for financial aid. In many cases, we present a financial aid package to an admitted student before he or she is aware of his or her eligibility for outside scholarships. Rather than leaving a gap in the student’s financial aid package that could later be filled by outside scholarships, Macalester creates a financial aid package equal to the student’s full demonstrated need for financial aid before we know whether outside scholarships will eventually become available.

Macalester’s commitment to financial aid is significant. Over ninety percent of the grants and scholarships delivered to our students come from our own funds. Most of the financial aid from Macalester is made possible by gifts from alumni and friends of the College.

But Macalester’s financial aid budget is finite. We would not be able to provide full financial aid packages to all admitted students if we could not count on the help of outside scholarships, Federal Pell Grants, and state grants as part of meeting the needs of all students. Our aid program is built on the premise that all of these types of financial aid will work together to support our students.

Macalester’s need-based grants are considered to be “last dollar grants.” Macalester often presents an aid package before other sources of financial aid, such as outside scholarships, become known. The order in which sources of financial aid become known to a student is not considered to be a factor in determining final eligibility for need-based grants from Macalester. Instead, the final eligibility for need-based grants from Macalester will be determined as if the student and Macalester had complete knowledge of all sources of financial aid at the time of initial award.

At the same time, we recognize that students who win outside scholarships often have made extra effort to obtain them. For this reason, our treatment of outside scholarships does allow outside scholarship recipients to reduce their overall educational costs.

Additional Policy Details

  • Policy exceptions:
  • Total financial aid will be capped at the total cost of attendance.
  • Need-based grant, entitlements, and benefits from federal, state, or other sources (including tuition benefits from student/parent employer) will replace need-based Macalester College grants and/or scholarships dollar for dollar (e.g., a $1,000 state grant will replace $1,000 of Macalester College Grant).
  • Post-911 GI Bill, Yellow Ribbon Program, and other Veterans Administration educational benefits will be considered resources for the purpose of determining eligibility for financial aid from Macalester. Your self-help will be reduced first. After that, your need-based aid from Macalester will be reduced. It is important to note that Macalester provides a matching grant for students eligible to participate in the Yellow Ribbon program. Matching grants may impact non-need-based scholarships from Macalester. Additionally, matching grants may be prorated based on your remaining VA eligibility. More information about VA Benefits and billing.
  • Financial aid from federal, state, and other sources will be adjusted in response to receipt of outside scholarships and awards in accordance to eligibility rules established by the Department of Education or other program administering body. For instance, scholarships from outside sources may affect the availability of subsidy for Federal Stafford Loan purposes.
  • After the adjustments described above, Macalester will calculate the maximum available Federal Direct Loan based on Federal Student Aid regulations. Notices of financial aid eligibility will include the maximum available Federal Direct Loan unless all or a portion of the Federal Direct Loan has been declined. If a Federal Direct Loan was accepted prior to outside scholarship adjustments, Macalester will maintain the total accepted loan amount regardless of subsidy (as permitted by Federal Student Aid regulations).
  • Outside scholarships are regulated by NCAA Division III rules (bylaw Outside scholarships may consider high school athletic participation but are subject to these restrictions:
    • Must be awarded to a student initially enrolling in college (not to continuing students);
    • Renewal criteria may not be based on athletics;
    • Awards must be available for use at any institution;
    • Award donors may have no direct connection to Macalester;
    • Award programs must be established and continuing (not created for one-time award).

      Students may not accept awards that do not comply with these rules. Awarding agencies may be asked to certify compliance.