How Aid Works

Financial aid is awarded to students based on merit, financial need or both. 

Merit-based scholarships are awarded based on academic achievement, particular skills or special characteristics. 

Need-based aid is given to students who demonstrate financial need, based on the results of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) . There are three kinds of need-based aid:

  • Grants and scholarships are gifts that do not have to be repaid.
  • Federal Work Study funding is money you earn by working at a part-time job.
  • Loans are borrowed money that must be repaid over a period of time.

Anticipated aid

Once student financial aid is accepted, it will be considered "Anticipated Aid" on the monthly billing statement. The balance remaining after anticipated aid will be billed to the student.

If you are receiving aid that is not reflected on the billing statement you MUST contact Student Financial Assistance. Once they have been notified and the aid is approved/verified and posted on your account as anticipated aid, the Cashier's Office can recalculate your payment. 

Financial aid is not considered to be disbursed and eligible for refund calculation until it applies to the student account. It will then appear in the 'Current Payment/Credits' column of the monthly billing statement.

Definition of need

Financial need is the difference between the cost of attendance and the expected family contribution (EFC).

Usually the cost of attendance refers to the total amount of education expenses (tuition, books and supplies, room and board, personal expenses, transportation expenses, etc.). 

The EFC is the number used to determine your eligibility for federal, state and institutional need-based aid programs.  This number results from the financial information provided in your FAFSA.

Definition of expected family contribution

The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is a number schools use to evaluate your eligibility to receive federal, state and institutional financial aid.

Before you can get an EFC, you must complete and submit a FAFSA. Once your FAFSA has been processed, you will receive your official EFC number. Student Financial Assistance uses the EFC to determine financial need, which is defined as the difference between the cost of attendance at S&T and your EFC. 

How the EFC is calculated:

  • Based on a formula established by the federal government
  • Takes into account factors such as family income, assets, household size and the number of family members attending college

How the EFC is used:

  • Determines eligibility for federal financial aid, such as Pell Grants, federal loans and federal Work Study programs
  • Used by institutions and the state to determine a student's eligibility for other aid programs

The EFC is not:

  • The amount of money your family will have to pay for college
  • The amount of student aid you will receive