What Is Financial Aid?

Financial Aid is assistance in the form of grants, loans, and work. It is provided by federal, state, local or private sources to help meet college expenses.  Most financial aid is based on financial need, enrollment status, satisfactory academic progress and attendance, and availability of funds. It is intended to supplement, not to replace, family and student contributions. Loans must be repaid with interest.

The information you supply on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is used to determine your (or your family’s) contribution to your college education. Financial need is defined as the difference between total college costs (tuition, fees, transportation, books, and personal expenses) and the student’s and/or family’s contribution.

How Cost of Education is Determined
To determine how much financial aid you may receive, the Office of Student Financial Assistance first determines your cost of attendance.  Below is a sample cost of attendance for an academic year for full time students who are dependent and independent paying resident tuition and for an independent and dependent student required to pay non-resident tuition based on 2011-12 tuition charges.

SAMPLE BUDGET

DEPENDENT IN STATE DEPENDENT NON-RESIDENT
TUITION

4,150

12,450

FEES

363

363

BOOKS

1,200

1200

ROOM
BOARD

3,000

3,000

PERSONAL

600

600

TRANSPORTATION

1,500

1,500

TOTAL

10,813

19,113

 

 

INDEPENDENT IN-STATE

INDEPENDENT NON-RESIDENT

TUITION

4,150

12,450
FEES

363

363

BOOKS

1200

1,200

ROOM

6,000

6,000

BOARD

3,000

3,000

PERSONAL

600

600

TRANSPORTATION

1,500

1,500

TOTAL

16,813

25,113

     

Note: Figures are subject to change.

How need is Determined

You and your family’s ability to contribute to your education is determined by a formula set by law which analyzes the information submitted on your FAFSA.  The result of this process is referred to as your EFC or Effective Family Contribution.

Your need is your total Cost of Education as determined by the institutional budget minus your EFC or Effective Family Contribution.

Since family financial strength and EFC is based on a prior years’ income and family situation (e.g. 2010 information is used to determine your EFC for 2011-2012) circumstances could have changed such as loss of job, death etc.  If you or your family experience dramatic changes in their financial situation form one year to the next, you should collect all appropriate documentation and make an appointment with your financial aid counselor to have your circumstances re-evaluated.