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Financial Aid: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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How is My EFC Determined?
Your EFC is determined by using the information provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and a "federal methodology" formula. The formula considers income, assets, family size, and the number of family members enrolled in college.

After receiving your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) figure from the federal processor, the financial aid office at your school then subtracts your EFC from the school's average cost of attendance to find your financial need. Contact your school to get a breakdown of their cost of attendance.

COA (Cost of Attendance) -EFC (Expected Family Contribution) = Financial Need

Based on estimated financial need, the financial aid office will prepare a financial aid or "award" package. The FAO applies available resources to try to meet your financial need. However, the school is not obligated to meet your financial need, and may be unable to do so dependent upon the types of aid available. This aid may include federal and state grants, scholarships, loans, and federal work study. Grants (i.e., the Federal Pell Grant and the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant) and scholarships do not have to be repaid. Loans, such as Federal Subsidized or Unsubsidized Stafford loans, must be repaid.

Why is the EFC on the SAR Different from the EFC of the School?
Your EFC is generally calculated using one or two methodologies: the Federal Methodology (explained above), and the Institutional Methodology. The Institutional Methodology determines eligibility for institutional grant programs. Universities may use this methodology and/or the federal methodology to determine eligibility for grants or other private funds. One difference between the two formulas is the federal methodology does not consider home equity in assets calculation.

Types of Financial Aid
The majority of financial aid comes from the federal government, in the form of grants, federal work-study, and subsidized and unsubidized student loans.

- Pell Grants are a form of federal funding that do not need to be repaid, and are awarded to undergraduate students based on need. The Pell Grant program was formed to help the neediest of undergraduates to earn their first baccalaureate or professional degree. Maximum Pell Grant amounts can change each academic year and rely upon federal funding. For the 2013-14 year the Pell Grant maximum award is $5,645. For the 2014–15 (July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015) it will be $5,730.

- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG) are funding that do not need to be repaid, and are awarded to undergraduate students with exceptional financial need or lowest Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Not all schools participate in the FSEOG program, so you need to see if it is offered by your school. The FSEOG awards are from $100 to $4,000 per year.


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