How is financial need determined?

Eligibility for most federal and state grants and certain scholarships is based on "financial need." Families are primarily responsible for educational costs, but need-based aid is available when "need analysis" shows that a family cannot afford to pay the full cost of education.

"Need" is determined using family financial information to estimate what the family is expected to contribute toward college costs in a year. The estimated family contribution (EFC) is compared with college costs for a year. When the EFC is less, the difference is "need". This "need" is the maximum a student may receive in need-based financial aid.

Example: A student applies for financial aid at three colleges. The estimated family contribution (EFC) is calculated to be $2,000 and remains constant.

College Type Costs Family Contribution "Need"
Oregon Community College $9,919 -$2,000 $7,919
State University in Oregon $13,457 -$2,000 $11,457
Oregon Independent College $26,444 -$2,000 $24,444

Your estimated family contribution (EFC) is calculated from family financial information that you put on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or Oregon Student Aid Application (ORSAA). One of these applications must be completed by every student wanting financial aid for college. You must file a new application each year so that your need can be reevaluated.

You can find a family contribution calculator on the Internet that will give you an estimate of your family's contribution. Your exact EFC comes from completing your FAFSA or ORSAA.