Financial Aid

The student and her family are expected to pay for Sweet Briar’s cost of attendance to the extent they are able. If the family demonstrates that it lacks the financial resources to do so, the student becomes eligible to receive need-based financial assistance.

The student demonstrates her eligibility for assistance through an application process in which she and her family submit documents detailing their financial income and assets. Sweet Briar applies the Federal Methodology need analysis formula to this financial information to calculate the family’s ability to pay the College’s full cost of attendance. The dollar amount calculated is determined to be the expected family contribution. If that amount is less than Sweet Briar’s cost of attendance, the difference is called financial need, and the College offers the student an award package to help make up the difference.

The student receives an award letter which specifies the total amount and the individual sources of assistance, and any follow-up action the student must take to have the assistance credited on her tuition account.


The Award Package

The award usually consists of grant, loan, and job money. Grant money is not repaid, loan money must be repaid, and job money is received in the form of a monthly paycheck for work which the student performs in the campus job to which she is assigned.

If the student is the recipient of an academic scholarship from the College or a scholarship or grant from outside the College, that must be considered part of her financial award. Also, if she obtains additional grant money from a source outside the College after she has received her award, her award must be reviewed and, if appropriate, adjusted to ensure that her package does not exceed her need.

The loan and job portions of the award are optional—the College does not require the student to accept either—but if the student declines either or both, she and her family are responsible for finding the additional funds to make up the difference.

Grants that may be part of the financial assistance award include the Federal Pell Grant, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, the Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant, the Virginia College Scholarship Assistance Program Grant, the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Authority Grant, the Vermont State Grant, grants provided under the auspices of the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges, Sweet Briar College Grants, and private scholarships or grants, which the student obtains on her own initiative.

Loans that may be part of the financial assistance award include the Federal Perkins Loan, the Federal Direct Ford Loan, the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Ford Loan, the Sweet Briar College Loan, and the Mary and Lee Ashcraft Loan.

Funding for the student’s campus job may be derived from the Federal Work Study Program or from Sweet Briar funds. The typical job award is $1,000, and to earn that amount during the course of the school year the student works approximately six hours per week at the federal minimum hourly wage.


Eligibility Restrictions

Only U.S. citizens or permanent residents are eligible to receive federal or Sweet Briar need-based assistance.

The use of Sweet Briar College grants and merit scholarships is restricted to the College’s Junior Year in France (JYF), Junior Year in Spain (JYS), Washington Semester (American University), St. Andrews Exchange, the Heidelberg Exchange in Germany, and on-campus study programs. The student must have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 to use Sweet Briar funds for JYF, JYS, St. Andrews, and Heidelberg study.


Application Procedures

The application process for need-based assistance is an annual one. To be considered for need-based assistance for the 2016-2017 school year, the student must submit information about her family’s income and assets on the 2016-2017 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). She also must provide signed photocopies of her and her family’s 2015 IRS 1040s and W-2s, as well as any other documents specified by the Financial Aid Office.


Application Deadlines

Application deadlines in effect for the 2017-2018 school year for regular decision applicants for admission, February 15, 2017; and for currently enrolled students who have received need-based assistance in the 2016-2017 school year, May 15, 2017.


General Information

Students or family members who have questions about eligibility for need-based assistance or who wish to have information regarding the College’s tuition payment plans should contact the Financial Aid Office.


The Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant

The Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant (VTAG) was instituted by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth in 1972 to help reduce the difference in the cost of tuition between Virginia’s public and private colleges. Any student who is a legal resident of Virginia and attends a Virginia private college as a full-time, degree- seeking student is eligible to receive the VTAG, regardless of eligibility for need aid. The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) estimates that the amount of the 2016-2017 VTAG will be $3,200; the actual amount is dependent on funds appropriated by the Virginia General Assembly and therefore may be less than this. Applications are available at the Financial Aid Office or through SCHEV, <>.


Academic Scholarships

Sweet Briar College is pleased to be able to recognize excellence in all its forms. The College values students of extraordinary overall academic achievement, along with those who have developed special competence in the areas of art, natural science, music, humanities, or social sciences. Sweet Briar also seeks students who have shown superior involvement in school and community activities.


Named scholarship funds—Prothro, Founders, Commonwealth, Betty Bean Black, Sweet Briar, and Fletcher—are made possible by gifts provided by generous alumnae and friends of the College. Such philanthropy has made it possible for Sweet Briar to rank among the highest in the nation in the amount of endowment per student.

If a student wishes to be considered for an academic award, her Application for Admission and all supporting credentials must be completed by February l. She will automatically become a scholarship candidate; there is no separate application.

Questions regarding scholarships should be directed to the Admissions Office.