Applying for Aid: Prospective Students

These instructions are for first-time applicants for financial aid: prospective and transfer applicants (including Canadian citizens and U.S. citizens living outside the United States).

Financial Aid Overview

Oberlin is committed to providing financial resources to students who would be unable to pursue an Oberlin education without such assistance. Last year, approximately 80 percent of Oberlin students demonstrated financial need and received some form of aid, with an average grant of $32,000—a total of nearly $100 million.

Complete the steps outlined in this section to apply for need-based financial aid.

Please note that Oberlin does not participate with the College Board IDOC Service.

An education at Oberlin is more affordable than you might think. For a quick estimate of your eligibility for need-based scholarships and how they will affect the total cost of your education, try the MyinTuition Quick College Cost Estimator.

Go to the My Intuition calculator page

For a more comprehensive estimate, see the Net Price Calculator, which is based on the U.S. Department of Education template. To learn more about Oberlin’s billing cycle and financing plans, see Cost and Payment Options.

Steps Early Decision I Early Decision II Regular Decision
Application Deadline November 15 January 2 January 15
Financial Aid Deadline November 15 January 2 January 15
Notification December 15 February 1 April 1
Reply Due January 2 February 15 May 1

Early Decision applicants should register for the CSS Profile as soon as possible so that results of the Profile can be used to estimate financial aid eligibility. If all forms have been completed on time, financial aid awards for Early Decision applicants are sent soon after notification of admission.

Learn more about applying Early Decision

Are you wondering what are the components of a financial aid award, what sources of aid are available, or how awards are determined? Start here.

Financial Aid Basics

Undocumented Students

We recognize that undocumented students are ineligible to apply for financial aid using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). All applicants are required to submit the College Board PROFILE form. Please contact the financial aid office by email at or call 800-693-3173 or 440-775-8142 with any questions.

Spring Semester Applicants

Applicants for spring semester will receive special financial aid application instructions after applying for admission.

Financial aid packages are based on both full-time enrollment at Oberlin and on-campus residence for a full academic year. Students who study abroad, enroll less than full time, live off campus, or commute will receive an adjustment to their financial aid packages.

Financial Aid Policies

CSS Profile

Students applying to Oberlin College are asked to complete several forms, including the CSS Profile application, to help the institution better assess how to equitably distribute the institutional financial aid provided by the college. The CSS Profile has no bearing on the federal assistance students receive.

The priority deadline is January 15. If you missed the priority deadline, you still should complete the CSS Profile if you wish to be considered for institutional aid. If admitted, our financial aid department will make every effort to ensure you receive a financial aid package with your admission letter.

  • You must complete the CSS Profile online.
  • Include Oberlin College (code 1587) on your Profile registration.
  • If tax returns are not yet available, complete the Profile with estimated income figures.

Who should submit the CSS Profile?

Students who are interested in applying only for federal aid (federal and state grants, loans, and/or work-study) and not institutional aid (Oberlin College grants and scholarships) should complete just the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). 

Students wishing to be considered for both federal aid and institutional aid should complete both the FAFSA and the CSS Profile. 

International students who are unable to submit the CSS Profile may complete the International Student Application for Financial Assistance and upload it to their applicant portal.

Non-Custodial Parent

If your biological parents are separated, divorced, or never married and not living together, your non-custodial parent must complete the Non-Custodial Parent Statement before the priority date of January 15. This form is required for determination of Oberlin College financial aid eligibility.

If you complete the Non-Custodial Statement through the CSS Profile, we will accept this form, but CSS does not send this to Oberlin. Therefore, you must print it out and scan and upload or fax to the Financial Aid Office directly.

PLEASE NOTE: Oberlin College does not participate in the iDoc system. All requested documents and forms must be sent directly to the Financial Aid Office. Please visit the Financial Aid Forms page for more information about submitting documentation.



Please review the "FAFSA Changes for 2024-2025" before you proceed.

Canadian students should skip this step.

Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). To receive the best possible aid package, we encourage Regular Decision applicants to submit the FAFSA by the priority date of March 15.

Students and parents will each need an FSA ID to complete this process. (The FSA ID ― a username and password ― has replaced the Federal Student Aid PIN and must be used to log in to certain U.S. Department of Education websites.

Learn how to create your FSA ID

If you choose NOT to file your FAFSA online, you may file using one of these alternate methods:

Complete a PDF FAFSA

The PDF FAFSA is available for you to print and fill out manually or is screen-fillable. Screen-fillable means you can enter your data on the screen before printing. If you choose this option you will not be able to save your data to your PC.
  • The FAFSA web site includes an aid estimator -  a free financial aid calculator that gives you an early estimate of your eligibility for federal student aid.
  • Be sure to include Oberlin College [Title IV code 003086] in the school section.
  • Note: PDF FAFSAs must be mailed for processing)

Request a paper FAFSA

Request a paper FAFSA by calling us at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) or 319-337-5665. If you are hearing impaired, contact the TTY line at 1-800-730-8913.

Federal Tax Documents

PLEASE NOTE: Oberlin College does not participate in the iDoc system. All requested documents and forms must be sent directly to the Financial Aid Office. Please visit the Financial Aid Forms page for more information about submitting documentation.

  • Include copies of all W-2 forms.
  • Do not send state tax returns.
  • Be sure all tax returns are signed.
  • If you file for a federal income tax extension, please contact the Office of Financial Aid.
  • If your parent(s) are not required to file a federal tax return, a non-filer statement must be completed.

Dependent Verification

Complete the 2024-25 Oberlin Dependent Verification Form by March 1. 

Check Status

Notifications of financial aid eligibility will be sent to students admitted for the fall semester beginning in late March, and after December 1 for students admitted for the spring semester.

If you have not received a response to your aid application and you believe you should have, it may be because your application is not yet complete. Review the application steps to ensure that you have completed all steps in a timely manner. Admitted students may check their Admissions applicant portal to see if any required documents are missing.

Learn More

When will I find out about my financial aid award?

How to check financial aid status

Banner Self Service login (for continuing students only)