Determining Financial Need

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How Financial Need is Determined

When applying for federal student aid, the information reported on the FAFSA is analyzed by a formula created by Congress called Federal Methodology. The Federal Methodology (or FM) calculates the Expected Family contribution (EFC), an amount the government considers that is reasonable for the student and their family if applicable to contribute toward educational expenses. Variables such as family size and income information are considered in the calculation of the EFC. If the EFC is within a certain range, the student will be eligible for a Federal Pell Grant, assuming all other eligibility requirements are met. A booklet published by the Department of Education, called the "Expected Family Contribution (EFC) Formulas," describes how the EFC formulas are calculated. A copy of this booklet may be obtained by writing to:

Federal Student Aid Information Center
P.O. Box 84
Washington, D.C. 20044

When the Financial Aid Office receives SAR information from the Federal Processor, unmet need is calculated by subtracting the EFC from the Cost of Attendance (COA), the estimated costs of attending Barton for one academic year. The financial aid office develops COA budgets estimating expenses a student might have while attending Barton full-time at 16 hours per semester for the fall and spring terms. Estimates of expenses include tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, transportation, and personal expenses. Child and/or elder dependent care is also figured in to the COA if the student has dependent children 5 years of age or under or dependent elders.

A financial aid "offer" or "award" is made after unmet need and federal aid eligibility has been determined. This offer may contain a combination of grants, scholarships, work-study or student loans.