Determining Eligibility for Need-Based Aid
The FAFSA provides the Office of Student Financial Services with a figure that reflects the student’s “Expected Family Contribution” (EFC). This figure represents what the federal government believes a student and/or parent(s)/spouse can reasonably be expected to contribute toward the educational cost. This figure is calculated from the income information submitted on the FAFSA.
The Office of Student Financial Services establishes the Cost of Attendance (COA) for the award year. This includes an estimate of tuition, fees, books, supplies, room, board, transportation, and personal expenses. If the student’s EFC is less than the COA, the student has demonstrated need. If the EFC is greater than the COA, there is no need demonstrated. Need determines what type of federal aid the student is eligible to receive.