Determining Eligibility

Most financial aid programs are awarded on the basis of “financial need”. A student’s financial need is determined by the financial aid office and is defined as the difference between the total cost of education (tuition, fees, room & board, books, supplies, transportation, and personal expenses) and the portion of those costs which can be reasonably met by the student and/or the student’s family. Individual students’ costs of education may vary based upon course load, grade level, housing status, and other factors.

The result of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The data supplied on the FAFSA is evaluated by the US Department of Education using a universal Federal Methodology formula designed to equitably determine the family’s ability to pay for educational expenses. Every student who files a FAFSA will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) from the US Department of Education. The SAR provides a summary of the data reported on the FAFSA as well as listing the EFC and any additional instructions or comments for the applicant. The SAR will not indicate the student’s financial need nor eligibility for need-based financial aid programs since that will be determined by the financial aid office. If an e-mail address was listed on the FAFSA, the SAR will be delivered via an e-mail from the US Department of Education with instructions on how to download the SAR from a secure website. If no e-mail is provided, a paper SAR will be mailed to the student within seven to ten business days. All schools listed on the FAFSA will receive the results electronically. 
     Cost of Education
   - EFC__________________
 = Financial Need
Financial aid programs which are considered to be “need-based” are restricted to students who have a financial need as determined by the financial aid office. Once a student’s financial need has been met by any aid sources, no additional need-based aid may be received by that student. 
There are aid programs available which are not need-based. These may be awarded to a student who has no financial need or whose need has been met with other sources. 
Under no circumstances may a student receive aid (grants, scholarships, employment, or loans) in excess of his/her cost of education as determined by the financial aid office.     
In addition to financial need, federal and state aid is contingent upon an applicant meeting several basic financial aid eligibility factors: 
Notification of Awards
Once the financial aid office receives the results of your FAFSA and determines your financial need and that you meet all other eligibility factors, you will receive an award notice listing each type and amount of aid for which you qualify for the upcoming academic year. Aid is usually awarded and disbursed by semester or term. Refer to information under Applying for Financial Aid to determine which college will notify you of your financial aid award.