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Holy Cross Financial Aid & Scholarships: Real Parent Experiences

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Read how one parent is paying for her son to attend College of the Holy Cross. 


College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, is a liberal arts college known for high graduation rates and a commitment to affordability. (You may remember our designating Holy Cross an Edmit Hidden Gem this past spring, for these very reasons.) As parents, however, you may be wondering just how affordable Holy Cross will be for your son or daughter’s college experience.

The cost to attend Holy Cross in 2018-19 comes in at $67,290, although many students don’t pay full price. With grants, scholarships, and tuition discounts, Holy Cross financial aid counselors work closely with students and families to make a Holy Cross degree accessible.  

Of course, learning about other parents’ paying for college experiences can help demystify the tuition and financial aid process. Edmit spoke with Holy Cross parent Kim Grimes from Arizona, whose son is an economics major scheduled to graduate in 2021. Grimes shared her experience with the Holy Cross financial aid office and offered tips for how other parents of Holy Cross students can navigate paying for college.

Holy Cross’ Base Tuition Price

How much did the cost of Holy Cross factor into your child’s decision of where to go to college?

Grimes: My child decided only to apply to schools that would meet his full financial need. Although private schools are expensive compared to state schools, the former provide more money percentage-wise—and for Holy Cross, a better education—than state schools. My child also selected Holy Cross over other elite liberal arts schools because it is a Best Value College—we knew that his degree from Holy Cross was worth the investment because alumni have amazing career earnings.

Financial Aid & Scholarships at Holy Cross

When it comes to Holy Cross financial aid, did you expect to receive scholarships? What research did you do to find out if you were eligible for need-based financial aid, merit-based financial aid, or both?

Grimes: My child had the qualifications to earn a spot at Holy Cross and we knew if [he were] accepted that any money provided would be based on need. I had done months of research during my child’s junior year. When I went to college, federal money was given based on FAFSA, and colleges gave money based on academic achievement.  Now I had to wrap my mind around the fact that money is now based on financial need. We also understood that, once admitted, FAFSA and CSS would be analyzed and appropriate financial need would be allocated.


Once he selected Holy Cross—in fact, applying early decision—he understood that he could still back out if the financial aid package was unaffordable. Holy Cross has a very clear, user-friendly website that explained how financial need worked. Holy Cross also has a very user-friendly financial aid award letter. Our award was lumped into a Holy Cross Scholarship, then work-study and federal student loans were listed.


In terms of knowing if we would receive [any financial aid and scholarships], I talked to a colleague whose child was attending Holy Cross. She was a godsend, explaining the CSS—the form has since become much easier to use because their website changed. She explained expected family contribution (EFC), CSS, and FAFSA.  Once I knew my EFC, I could make a pretty accurate guesstimate of what Holy Cross would offer.

Having the FAFSA due October 1 instead of January 1 is the best decision that was made because students get their EFC much faster and using the previous year’s tax returns helps us parents prepare sooner for costs.


Did your expectations for Holy Cross financial aid align with what you actually received?

Grimes: Yes.

Did you appeal your Holy Cross financial aid award? If so, can you share your Holy Cross financial aid negotiation process and the outcome?

Grimes: There was no need to appeal.

More Advice From a Holy Cross Parent

What advice or insider tips do you have for other parents whose children want to go to College of the Holy Cross?


  • One, ask questions! The Holy Cross financial aid office is prompt and accurate in its responses.
  • Two, file FAFSA and CSS as soon as possible.
  • Three, be specific and honest in explaining Special Circumstances on CSS and if circumstances change, then contact them in writing as soon as possible.
  • Four, take advantage of the work opportunities that Holy Cross provides. While most colleges require students to apply and interview for their own work-study jobs, Holy Cross takes this worry away by placing all freshmen workers in the cafeteria. This is brilliant because students can start right away earning money and focusing on their adjustment to college rather than seeking work-study employment. It also means that they are able to meet students from freshmen to seniors and have instant friends.
  • Five, Holy Cross also makes sure students don’t have to worry about completing the required online federal loan seminars, as they complete this on campus.

Do you have a Holy Cross student, or does your child want to go to Holy Cross? Share your tips or questions about working with the Holy Cross financial aid office or Holy Cross tuition in our paying for Holy Cross discussion below!


Photo by bbcamericangirl on Flickr.

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