New financial aid grants to help families afford Union

Publication Date

To make Union affordable for more families, the school has launched a bold financial aid initiative that will significantly reduce the cost of attending one of the nation’s top private liberal arts institutions.

Union is one of a small percentage of schools committed to meeting the full financial need of all admitted students. However, the College recognizes that the methodologies to determine need-based aid have limitations, including a heavy reliance on home equity in determining a family’s contribution. In addition, the methodologies also ignore factors such as existing debt and recent changes in family income. Some families are relying too much on borrowing and investment to help their children to thrive at a school like Union.

Union students on the lawn in front of the Nott

Union will continue to meet all demonstrated need. However, the school is now expanding the criteria to qualify for Union scholarship assistance. Families making up to $250,000 per year, who have an expected family contribution of $90,000 or less, will qualify for at least $20,000 in scholarship assistance. Previously, some families at such income levels would qualify for little or no scholarship assistance. These grants will help families who are struggling to meet those contributions plan for their children’s futures and see that a Union education is attainable.

The new Making U Possible Family Grants are part of Making U Possible: The Presidential Initiative for Scholarship and Immersive Excellence. Created last fall, the initiative ensures that talented students from all backgrounds not only can afford a Union education but also are able to take full advantage of opportunities in and out of the classroom. This includes providing financial assistance to participate in mini-terms, terms abroad, internships and pre-orientation programs.

Making U Possible Family Grants will be available starting with students who are applying to be part of the Class of 2024.

Union will shift a portion of the funding set aside for merit scholarships to help pay for the new grants. The College will continue to offer merit scholarships, which typically range from $15,000 to $20,000. Students who qualify for Making U Possible Family Grants are also eligible for merit scholarships.

The new grants will not affect funds available for need-based aid. The average need-based scholarship at Union is $38,535.
More than 60 percent of Union students receive financial assistance.

Union's comprehensive fee, which includes tuition, room, board and mandatory fees, is $71,385 for the 2019-2020 academic year. The estimated cost for books and personal expenses is approximately $2,000.

“We are excited to be adding the Making U Possible grants as an additional resource to help students from a range of socioeconomic backgrounds afford Union," said Matt Malatesta ‘91, vice president for Admissions, Financial Aid and Enrollment.

The new grants come at a time when applications to Union have climbed over the past decade, to more than 6,000 annually.

A number of external recognitions have helped raise the school’s visibility, including Union’s inclusion in the college guide, “The Hidden Ivies,” which highlights exceptional schools that offer a broad liberal arts education. Union was also among the Princeton Review’s list of colleges with the best return on investment, and USA Today’s College Guide ranked Union among the top five STEM schools for women.