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How Caltech Calculates Your Family Contribution

Caltech will estimate your family's ability to contribute to your educational expenses on a yearly basis, based on the financial and household information you provide in your financial aid application.  The information is analyzed using the Department of Education's Federal Methodology formula and a nationally-accepted Institutional Methodology formula. 

The needs analysis formula takes into account many factors, including:

  • Family income
  • Family assets (not including retirement assets or the value of your primary residence)
  • Taxes paid
  • Certain expenses, e.g. medical and childcare
  • Family size
  • Number of students in college

If you'd like an estimate of your family's expected contribution, please use our Net Price Calculator.

Student Contribution

As a student, you also have a responsibility to help pay for your education.  Being the primary beneficiary of that education, you will be expected to contribute a greater share of your income and assets than your parents.  For most students, Caltech will assume a minimum contribution will be available from summer earnings.  This minimum contribution is:

  • $1,500 for incoming freshmen
  • $1,900 for continuing students


If your family's financial circumstances have changed after you filed your financial aid application, we may be able to revise your award.  If you feel that your financial aid award does not reflect your family's new financial situation, please feel free to start an appeal or contact us for more information. 

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