Determining Financial Aid Eligibility

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Defining Financial Aid Eligibility

Financial aid eligibility can be defined as the difference between the Cost of Attendance (or Budget) and Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Individual colleges determine their Cost of Attendance. Costs include tuition/fees, books & supplies, room & board, transportation and personal miscellaneous costs. The Federal Student Aid determines the EFC of each student.

If a student is independent, the EFC is based entirely on the student's and spouses (if applicable) income and assets. If a student is dependent, the student's and parent's income and assets are included in the needs analysis that determines the EFC. The following link provides a detailed explanation of dependency status.

The Federal formula for determining financial aid eligibility is:

Cost of Attendance $22,865
(Minus) EFC $  2,000
(Equals) Total Need $20,865


The Financial Aid & Scholarship Office will try to meet students need through a variety of programs, including grants, scholarships, loans and/or work-study. In some cases it is not possible to fully meet a student's need; in such instances, you may want to consult with a financial aid representative to explore alternative options. The EFC is also used to determine grant eligibility in certain programs. For example, full-time undergraduate and credential students must have an EFC of $5273 or less to qualify for a Pell Grant. To be eligible for a State University Grant, the EFC must be less than $6,000 and students must have completed the FAFSA by the file completion date.

In addition to your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office must also take into consideration any other financial/educational resources available to you. These can include Cal Grants, various fee waivers, scholarships, Vocational Rehabilitation benefits, Resident Hall Advisor, Foundation stipends, etc. These resources will reduce your eligibility for other forms of financial aid. Students are required by law to report to the Financial Aid & Scholarship Office any resources that are received so that the award may be adjusted in accordance with federal and state regulations. Failure to do so can result in very severe penalties.

Sequence of Awards

SJSU will always award grants and scholarships first, assuming that you qualify and funds are available. Any remaining eligibility after grants are awarded will be met with a combination of work-study, loans, or both depending on the student's preference, as stated on the FAFSA application.