Basics : How Need Is Determined
The financial information you and your family provide on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is analyzed by the federal need analysis processor using “Federal Methodology,” a standard formula established by Congress. It is used by the federal processor to calculate expected family contribution (EFC) — how much individual students and their families are expected to pay toward higher education.
After analyzing your financial information, the federal processor sends the results to the university, indicating how much you and your family should be able to pay toward your education. If the cost of attendance at UF is greater than what the processor indicates you and your family should be able to pay, then the university considers you to have financial need.
For financial aid purposes, need is determined by the following formula:
Cost of Attendance
– Family Contribution
Financial aid must be used only for expenses directly related to your education. College costs include the following: tuition/fees, books and supplies, computer costs, housing, meals, transportation, clothing maintenance, and personal expenses.
SFA calculates budgets (see Estimated Costs of Attendance) for undergraduate and graduate students, on-campus and off-campus.
Briefly, parents’ contribution + student’s contribution = expected family contribution.
Family contribution is the amount you and your family are expected to contribute toward your college costs. Your family’s total income and financial situation are taken into account when determining financial need.
- Parental Contribution
In determining parental contribution, deductions are made for: parents’ employment costs; living expenses, such as food, clothing, and housing; and the amount of taxes paid. Also considered are family size, number of family members attending college or other post secondary schools, number of parents working, and elder parent’s age. In general, parents and students are expected to pay as much of the educational costs as they can reasonably afford.
- Student Contribution
Students are expected to help in paying their educational costs from resources they have, such as savings, income, benefits, or employment. After analyzing all student income and assets available, the student contribution is determined. There may be instances when no student contribution is required.
Married couples are considered for aid individually; if both spouses are students, each should apply for financial aid separately. Both spouses are expected to contribute toward joint expenses, regardless of student or employment status.