Most financial aid is based on financial need. Financial need is the difference between the college’s cost of attendance and your Expected Family Contribution or EFC. The cost of attendance is determined by the school. This includes tuition and fees, books, supplies, room and board, personal expenses and transportation.
The EFC is calculated from the information you put on the FAFSA. It is affected by dependency status, household size, income, assets and the number of household members enrolled in college or trade schools. You will receive this number on the student aid report (SAR) you receive from the schools you apply to. Starting in July 2023, the EFC will be replaced with the Student Aid Index (SAI). SAI is similar to EFC. However, the SAI provides a different measurement and methodology to determine the aid a student is eligible to receive.
Many families are unable to help their child with college or they may not want to help depending on their personal philosophy. These students need to look to grants, scholarships, personal savings or College SAVE 529 account, money they earn at a job or student loans to fund their education.