Financial Aid at Notre Dame: My Experience

Author: Katie Martin


For me, getting my acceptance letter to Notre Dame wasn’t my final acceptance letter. I was aware of my family’s financial situation as well as Notre Dame’s total cost of over $60,000 a year. This fact alone worried my grandmother to no end. To her, she believed my mother and I would spend the rest of our lives digging ourselves out of debt when I could’ve gone to a state school in Indiana on a full academic scholarship. I remember she couldn’t even fully enjoy the Notre Dame tour we went on because the price tag was always in the back of her mind. 

My aunt and mother, on the other hand, were equally as worried about the price of a private university, but also knew how much Notre Dame had to offer including the various academic and professional opportunities as well as the extensive and committed alumni network. There were a lot of conflicted discussions within my family during the spring of my senior year.

This being said, the preparation for being financially able to go to Notre Dame started long before the spring of senior year. In fact, it started before I could even walk and talk as my parents and grandparents started saving for my future education as soon as I was born. I can say this helped a considerable amount, but still wouldn’t have covered $60,000 a year. In reality, I spent most of my senior year applying for every scholarship possible – it was never an exciting process and I dreaded the essays, lists, and filling out forms. In retrospect, I highly appreciate my mother’s persistent “encouragement” or pressure to fill out the applications; but at the time, it was like nails on a chalkboard to have to sit down at night filling out paperwork and gathering materials. Now though, I overwhelmingly appreciate every scholarship I have received and still feel today that everything was worth the tedious process. If it was easy and fun, every one would do it…. or at least that’s what my mom says.

Ultimately, my Notre Dame financial aide package arrived. This combined with my other scholarships (including a Notre Dame Club scholarship!) made it financially possible for my family to send me to Notre Dame. Many of my friends here at ND have stories like this – they, too, were surprised by their financial aid packages. Because of Notre Dame’s commitment to offering financial assistance, I was able to finally send in my enrollment decision while knowing that I’d just made the best decision possible.