Bryn Mawr determines the expected parent contribution through a need-analysis formula applied to the information submitted on the FAFSA, the CSS PROFILE, the Noncustodial PROFILE and the federal tax returns. The need-analysis system considers the family's income, assets, living costs based on the size of the family, number of children in college and other information specific to the family situation.

A standard allowance for living expenses, based on the size of the family, is used in determining financial aid eligibility. Since families maintain different standards of living, the use of a standard allowance ensures that aid is distributed equitably among applicants. Differences in family circumstances and unusual necessary expenses, such as very high uninsured medical bills, may be considered. Siblings in graduate school and parents in college are not considered.

The parent contribution measures a family's ability to absorb educational costs over time. Most families will use a combination of current income, savings, educational loans and a payment plan to meet the family contribution. Descriptions of these programs are available in this handbook, and in other materials mailed to admitted students.