Figuring out calculation for college financial Financial aid for college can be a complex combination of several different factors. It can be hard to figure out how much money you’ll be given, how much you’ll have to borrow, and how much you’ll be expected to contribute out of pocket. Some of those costs are fixed, while some vary depending on the school, your grades, and your family’s income.
The first step to doing calculation for college financial aid is filling out a FAFSA, or Free Application for Student Aid. Financial aid officers can’t help you until you do this. It’s not very complicated—less complicated than a tax return—and every year you get one with the previous year’s information filled in, so you only have to update the changes. This is the document that will qualify you for student financial aid from both government and private sources, so don’t neglect this step!
One of the ways that calculation for college financial aid is determined by calculating the family’s EFC, or Expected Family Contribution. The EFC, of course, is based on family size and income. The gap between college costs and EFC is considered financial need, and that’s what you can get financial aid for. Calculating the EFC involves transferring some information from your most recent tax returns, such as adjusted gross income, to the financial aid application. It’s important to remember that students are expected to contribute 20% of their own assets to their education, while parents are never asked to contribute more than 5.6%. If you’re a student, use your assets to buy the things you’ll need for college, then you’ll qualify for more aid.
Once your need is determined, the next thing is to figure out how to meet that need. If you’re an undergraduate, you’ll probably be eligible for Pell grants and other grants, especially those from your state. There may also be grants associated with your major; for example, teachers, nurses, and lawyers can get grants for school. Finally, you may have to turn to loans to finance your education. Loans are a last resort, but sometimes it’s hard to cover your expenses through non-repayable resources.
The most important thing for doing calculation for college financial aid is to meet with your school’s financial aid department. The financial aid staff is made up of professionals who know how to process information so that it benefits the student and the college. They’re also good at finding funds that might not be apparent to others—it’s their job! They are on your side, so don’t hesitate to make an appointment with them.