Determining Financial Need

When you apply for federal student aid, the information you report on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is used in a formula established by the U.S. Congress. The formula determines your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), an amount you and your family are expected to contribute toward your education (although this amount may not exactly match the amount you and your family end up contributing).

Your EFC is used in the following equation to determine your financial need:

Cost of Attendance - Expected Family Contribution = Financial Need

Your financial aid administrator calculates your cost of attendance and subtracts the amount you and your family are expected to contribute toward that cost. If there’s anything left over, you’re considered to have financial need.

The formula, established by law, measures in an equitable and systematic manner how much individual students and their families can afford to contribute towards higher education. The process takes into consideration the income, assets of the student and family, number of persons in the household and number in college, taxes paid, and other relevant factors.

NOTE: The financial aid administrator puts together a financial aid package that comes as close as possible to meeting your need. However, because funds are limited, the amount awarded to you may fall short of the amount for which you are eligible.