Understanding your Financial Aid

A Guide to Understanding Your Financial Aid

Our financial aid polices are rooted in our commitment to making a world-renowned education accessible to all qualified students regardless of their financial background. Your initial Offer of Financial Aid consists of two components: grant assistance and student employment. Loans are not used to meet a family’s demonstrated need, but they are available if you choose to borrow to fund your family’s portion of the cost of attendance. The grant portion typically includes funding from one or more endowed Pomona scholarship funds, made possible by gifts from alumni and friends of the College. The student employment portion is earned through participation in a campus job.

Annual Cost of Attendance

The annual cost of attendance for the current academic year can be found on our cost of attendance website.

Calculating Financial Aid Eligibility

The two basic applications for financial aid are the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)/California Dream Act Application, and the CSS Profile. From these applications, the Office of Financial Aid determines what additional documentation is needed to accurately calculate a family’s financial need. The Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) is the sum of two main components: a calculated Parent Contribution and a Student Contribution. The difference between your EFC and the total cost of attendance is your financial need. This need is covered using grants and student employment funding. While loans are available to replace the family contribution, Pomona does not use them to meet the family’s financial need.

Parent Contribution

To determine your Parent Contribution for the current academic year, the following factors are closely examined:

  • Parents’ annual income
  • Current value of household assets
  • Total number of members currently in your family’s household
  • Number of siblings enrolled in undergraduate study.

The computation makes allowances for necessary family expenditures, such as reasonable living costs, college savings for younger siblings, retirement contributions, taxes and medical expenses. It also protects a portion of your family’s assets for unforeseen family emergencies.

Student Contribution

As the primary beneficiary of a Pomona College education, students are also expected to participate in paying for some of their college costs. For this reason, a minimum standardized student contribution of $1,900 is expected for all first-year students; this increases slightly each subsequent year, as reflected in the following chart:

Minimum Student Contribution

Year Amount
First Year Students $1,900
Second Year Students $2,000
Third Year Students $2,100
Fourth Year Students $2,200

Students who have high earnings and/or assets may expect Student Contributions that exceed these minimums.

Changes in Circumstances

Some students and their families experience unique circumstances that affect their ability to pay their college costs. These might include unusually high unreimbursed medical bills, job loss or reduced income, or even the death of a parent. Students whose families are experiencing these or similar situations are encouraged to contact the Office of Financial Aid for a re-evaluation of their financial aid eligibility. As part of the review, staff will likely request additional documentation that reflects the updated scenario before determining whether an adjustment should be made to the family contribution. In cases where your request does not qualify for additional grant aid, the Office of Financial Aid can help a family review other resources or educational loans to cover costs.

Types of Aid

Grants and Scholarships

FEDERAL GRANTS: Pomona awards federal student aid based on criteria established by federal regulations and received from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Sources include the Pell Grant and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG). Students are automatically considered for the Pell and FSEOG grants during the regular financial aid review process.

CAL GRANT: Pomona requires all applicants who are California residents seeking financial assistance from the College to apply for the Cal Grant. To apply for the Cal Grant, an applicant must file a FAFSA or California Dream Act Application and submit a GPA verification form, postmarked by March 2. If a student has already been awarded a Cal Grant and is enrolled at Pomona College, the renewal evaluation will be conducted by the Pomona College Office of Financial Aid. Renewing students are not required to file a new GPA verification form.

INSTITUTIONAL GRANTS/SCHOLARSHIPS: Pomona provides institutional grants/scholarships based on the CSS Profile and Pomona institutional policies. Institutional grants/scholarships are based on financial need and are not awarded due to academic merit or athletic ability. Most of these grants and scholarships are the direct result of generous donations from alumni/ae and friends of the College.

PRIVATE OUTSIDE SCHOLARSHIPS: Outside scholarships from private organizations are a valuable resource to help students cover their educational costs. Outside scholarships must be reported to the Office of Financial Aid and will be integrated into the Offer of Financial Aid. First, they reduce the standard student contribution and student’s employment allotment as they are integrated with Pomona College aid.

If the outside scholarship exceeds these amounts, Pomona grant/ scholarship is reduced by half of the remaining portion of the outside scholarship, and the parent contribution is replaced with the other half. No student is able to receive total aid in excess of the cost of attendance.

When reporting outside scholarships, please include the following:

  1. The scholarship’s name
  2. The sponsoring organization’s name
  3. The amount of the scholarship
  4. Whether the scholarship is renewable beyond the first year
  5. Whether the check will be sent directly to Pomona

Student Employment

The Pomona College Student Employment Program is both a practical way for students to earn money to contribute toward their educational expenses, and an opportunity to gain valuable work experience, time management skills and the opportunity to provide vital support to the College and, in some cases, local nonprofit organizations. Local nonprofits participating in Pomona’s Student Employment program Include: Upward Bound (HMC), Jumpstart (Pitzer), the Intercollegiate Feminist Center (Scripps), and the European Union Center of California (Scripps).

Students are not required to have a campus job, but student employment is available to all Pomona students eligible to work. To take advantage of the Student Employment funding included in a student’s Offer of Financial Aid, a student must work on campus, as Student Employment funding is given in the form of a paycheck for hours worked. The College does not assign students to jobs; students are responsible for securing their own employment once they have arrived on campus. The Office of Financial Aid partners with the Career Development Office (CDO) to publish online job openings, both on and off campus, and to provide students with a wide range of employment options (pomona.joinhandshake.com). In addition, Pomona holds a job fair at the beginning of each academic year to introduce potential employers to students seeking a job.

Students may hold more than one job on campus but may not work more than 12 hours per week in all jobs while school is in session.

All students who receive need-based financial aid at Pomona College are initially packaged with a Student Employment allotment of $2,800. This amount may be reduced if the student receives outside scholarships. Even if students do not receive need-based institutional aid, or their Student Employment has been reduced due to outside scholarships, all students have a minimum allotment of $1,400.

Current minimum wage in California is $15.50 per hour.


FEDERAL LOANS To help pay for college costs, the U.S. Department of Education offers loans to students and parents of dependent undergraduate students. Qualifying students must be eligible to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). More detailed Information can be found at studentloans.gov and on our website.

POMONA COLLEGE LOAN FUND The Office of Financial Aid offers limited loan funding available through the College to help finance the cost of college. Loan assistance requests can be made by completing the Pomona College Loan Application on our website. Due to limited funding, students generally need to exhaust their federal student loan borrowing options before utilizing institutional loans.

PRIVATE EDUCATIONAL LOANS We encourage you to first borrow through federal loan sources before exploring private loan options. Federal loans generally have more favorable loan terms and income- based repayment plans. Private loans also require a qualified cosigner, and the interest rate will be set based on the credit score of the borrower or cosigner. If you are considering a private educational loan, we recommend that you speak with our office first to consider all other financing options.

Your Financial Aid and the Student Statement

Prior to the start of each semester, the Student Accounts Office issues an invoice for tuition, fees, housing, meal plan and medical insurance, if applicable. The Office of Financial Aid works with the Student Accounts Office to apply your scholarships and loans to your charges.

If you have reported outside scholarships or tuition benefits to the Office of Financial Aid, these will also appear as pending credits on the statement, split evenly between the fall and spring semesters. Once we receive payment from the outside organization, the scholarship or tuition benefit will become an actual credit against charges.

Semesters Abroad or College Exchanges

As long as a student is registered at Pomona full-time and pays tuition and fees to the College while participating in a Pomona- approved study abroad or domestic off-campus program, eligibility for financial aid will continue. Students may arrange to borrow loans to cover unearned student employment wages for the semesters they are away.

Renewing Your Financial Aid

Since Pomona offers only need-based financial aid, students are required to reapply for financial aid prior to each academic year. Thus, students may see an increase or decrease in the amount of financial aid offered based upon their family’s changing financial circumstances. All documents are due to the office by April 15 for the upcoming academic year.

Required Forms to Renew Financial Aid Eligibility


  • CSS Profile is required for all students who wish to be considered for institutional aid.
  • The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is required for all U.S. citizens and permanent residents to be considered for federal student aid or state aid.
  • Eligible students must submit the California Dream Act Application in order to apply for the Cal Grant.
  • Copy of federal tax return(s), W-2 forms and schedules.
  • Copy of business tax returns for Partnerships and Corporations.


  • CSS Profile is required for all students who wish to be considered for institutional aid.
  • Copy of translated tax return(s) used for the CSS Profile.

Federal Verification

Students who have completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the California Dream Act may be selected by the Department of Education for a process called verification. The verification process is routine, and students who are selected have not done anything wrong or completed the application incorrectly. If selected, the Office of Financial Aid must review the following documents if not previously reviewed:

  1. Signed Verification Worksheet
  2. IRS verified income and tax information. This can be In the form of data transferred into the FAFSA via the IRS Federal Taxpayer Information (FTI), a federal tax return transcript, or a signed federal tax return.

These documents should be submitted as soon as possible to ensure timely disbursement of federal financial aid. Your Offer of Financial Aid is not complete until all verification documents are submitted and reviewed. Your aid eligibility may change during verification if corrections are required. Verification materials may be submitted up until the last day of enrollment; If they are not submitted the student may lose eligibility for federal or state aid.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Eligibility for federal and state aid requires that students maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) toward completing their degree program, as defined by the Department of Education and as described in the Pomona College SAP policy. Students are expected to maintain at least a minimum 6.0 GPA (on a 12.0 scale) and make reasonable progress towards completion of their degree. More detailed information is available in the Financial Aid Handbook and in the policy section of our website.

FINAID47 - Your Online Financial Aid Portal

Once enrolled at Pomona, students are granted access to the FINAID47 online financial aid portal. Using this portal, students are able to:

  • Review their Document Checklist
  • View and print their Offers of Financial Aid
  • Read messages from their financial aid counselor

It is important that students regularly check FINAID47 to review any revisions to their Offer of Financial Aid and to submit any outstanding documents.

Important Financial Aid and Student Accounts Dates


In order for your financial aid funding to appear on your fall semester invoice from the Office of Student Accounts, all required documents must be submitted to the Office of Financial Aid. Review the Document Checklist on FINAID47 for a complete list of your submitted and outstanding documents.


Students and/or parents who would like to borrow an educational loan to cover the family contribution must submit their loan requests to the Office of Financial Aid by June 1 in order for loan funding to be added onto the student account before the first invoice of the fall semester is generated.


The Office of Financial Aid will email a newsletter to all new matriculating students to introduce their financial aid counselors and provide additional information about the office and FINAID47.


All enrolled and matriculating students are automatically enrolled in the College’s Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP). Unless they waive out, students will be charged for this health insurance coverage on the first invoice in the fall.


The Student Accounts Office requires every student to complete this form online through DocuSign to enroll in the Semester or Monthly Payment Plan. Students are the primary contact who will be notified when their statement is ready to view. By submitting this form, the student can authorize their parent(s) to also receive notifications and view their statement.


The Student Accounts Office will generate the first statement on July 11 with an August 1 due date. Students enrolled in the Pomona College Monthly Payment Plan must pay their first installment of the fall semester out-of-pocket cost by August 1.


The fall semester statement is payable by check or online through CashNET on myPomona.edu.


Handshake is where students can view and apply for campus-based employment opportunities: pomona.joinhandshake.com.


During the first week of classes the CDO hosts a job fair where students will have the opportunity to meet with various employers who participate in the student employment program and, in many cases, be interviewed on the spot for a position.


The CSS Profile, FAFSA and California Dream Act Application become available online. The Office of Financial Aid will host a series of outreach events to guide students through their financial aid renewal applications during the fall semester.


Students with siblings enrolled in undergraduate study must submit a Verification of Enrollment Form completed by their sibling’s institution. Pomona students with siblings for whom enrollment cannot be verified or who are no longer enrolled half-time or greater in undergraduate study may see a change in their financial aid eligibility.


Confidentiality Policy

Families provide sensitive financial information to Pomona College in the financial aid application process. For this reason, our office uses all available measures to hold this data in strict confidence. Electronic material is protected with current technological safeguards to prevent unauthorized access. Paper records are secured in safe storage and disposed of in a proper manner such as shredding. There are strict limitations on sharing information with parties other than for the determination of aid eligibility, and our office will not release individual student data in compliance with federal and state regulations. Organizations outside the College must obtain permission from the student and provide a signed release before receiving information that our office is able to share. In compliance with HEA and the Privacy Act, our office does not release information that comes from the FAFSA or other federal records. Pomona’s confidentiality policy assures families that their financial aid information will be used only for its intended purpose.

Notification of Rights Under FERPA for Postsecondary Institutions

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords eligible students certain rights with respect to their education records. (An “eligible student” under FERPA is a student who is 18 years of age or older and who attends a postsecondary institution.) Pomona College makes every effort to comply with FERPA regulations in order to maintain confidentiality and protect student information, including but not limited to, personally identifiable information (PII). For more information about FERPA compliance, please contact the Office of the Registrar.

General College Information

Information about the College’s academic programs, admission requirements, enrollments and retention is included in the Pomona College catalog or may be obtained from the Office of Admissions, the College Registrar and the Career Development Office. Pomona College does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin, sex or age in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarships and loan programs, or other programs administered by the College.