Will I be eligible for need-based financial aid?
To figure out your eligibility, you should first determine your
Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The Free Application for
Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is used to calculate the EFC. You can
estimate your EFC by using the
Expected Family Contribution (EFC) Calculator.
Next, determine how much it will cost to attend the school or
schools you are considering.
Subtract your EFC from the cost of attendance, and you have the
eligibility amount for need-based funds. To estimate your
eligibility online, try the
Financial Aid Wizard.
Jim Kolesar is a spokesman for Williams College, a private
liberal arts school in Williamstown, Massachusetts. He says that
it's almost always a good idea for families to fill out the
FAFSA, if they think there's a chance they can qualify for
"Students should definitely apply because Williams and places
like it are dedicated to making their college education affordable
for all students of all income ranges," he says. "It's sad the
degree to which families look at a comprehensive fee and are scared
off to think their son or daughter could never attend there."
Williams is one of a few colleges that has switched to a no-loan
policy, out of concern that loan burdens were affecting students'
educational and career choices. The need-based packages that the
school offers involve grants and work-study awards.
"Some parents will choose to borrow anyway, but no one will be
expected to borrow any money in their financial package," he