The result is EFC which means Expected Family Contribution on a yearly basis. For example, if the EFC was $ 10,000 and the cost of attending East Mars University was $10,000 the student will be eligible for zero need based aid, because the EFC and the actual cost are the same.
If, however, the student were to attend Northern Lights University where the total cost to attend is $50,000 the student could be eligible for $40,000 in aid because of the difference in the EFC and the actual cost.
Merit-based aid ( based on grade point average, rank in class, and SAT or ACT scores) can make a difference. Always talk with any financial officer at any college/university well ahead of time and attend your high school's financial aid night (my suggestion is start going in your son/ daughter's sophomore year )-- you can never hear the terms, deadlines, methods, and materials you will need too often.
Keep in mind that several private institutions require parents to complete IN ADDITION to the FAFSA, the CSS profile. The reason I bring this up is because need is calculated just a bit differently on the CSS profile, so be sure to check it out! Good Luck!
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