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) for aid years through 2023-24
Student Aid Index (SAI) for aid years 2024-25 and after.

Calculating aid using the EFC (2023-24):

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
= Need

Calculating aid using the SAI (2024-25 and after):

The Student Aid Index (SAI) is an eligibility index number that a college’s financial aid office uses to determine how much federal student aid the student would receive if the student attended the school. This number results from the information that the student provides in their FAFSA® form.

Students can use the Student Aid Estimator to estimate how much federal student aid the student may be eligible to receive. These estimates are based on the Student Aid Index (SAI), an index to determine federal student aid eligibility.

Cost of Attendance

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 Costs of Attendance) for undergraduate and graduate students, on-campus and off-campus.

Family Contribution

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 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.

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