The expected family contribution, or EFC, is a number calculated by applying federal methodology to the information provided by the student and parents on the FAFSA. The EFC represents an index of the family’s ability to contribute toward the student’s education, and should not be interpreted to mean that it is the amount that the family should write a check for.
Financial need is the difference between the EFC and the cost of attendance. Typically, a combination of grants, loans, campus employment, and scholarships fill up some of the financial need. However, the family is financially responsible for the difference between the college cost and the amount of financial aid received.
My family and I cannot afford the expected family contribution that the student aid report says that we are supposed to contribute toward my college expenses. What do we do?
All students (who have a valid FAFSA on file) can borrow through the Stafford Loan Program even if they do not show financial need. Parents can borrow the amount of the expected family contribution through the PLUS loan (or through private loans). If the parent/s are denied a PLUS loan, the student may borrow an additional amount through the federal Stafford loan program.
Families in this situation often consider home equity lines of credit, loans taken against their retirement plans, or private loans.
Federal and state financial aid is not available for winter session. Many students find that their financial aid for fall and spring is sufficient to fund a course taken during winter session. Students who need additional funds may consider a private loan.
No. We strongly encourage all families to file the FAFSA. While a family’s income and assets are part of the formula used to determine financial need, there are other variables involved, such as the number in the family, and the number in college. Since the federal and state formulas that determine families’ eligibility for aid change often, it would be unwise for anyone to assume that they will not qualify for financial aid.
Families should remember that Stafford Loans are available to students who file the FAFSA regardless of financial need. As well, most students are eligible for campus employment regardless of need. Additionally, while financial need is a criterion for some scholarships, other scholarships may have no such specification.
Why are your parents not helping you? If you feel that your circumstances are extraordinary (if for example, you are being raised by your grandparents), you should contact the Office of Financial Aid. If your parents do not feel that they can afford to pay for college for you, you should encourage your parents to file the FAFSA anyway. Remind them that filing the FAFSA does not obligate them to pay for your college expenses. (It just obligates them to provide accurate financial information) Perhaps you will be eligible for federal or state grants. At the least, you will be eligible for the federal Stafford Loan.
Federal and state grants are awarded on the basis of financial need. It is possible that your friend is receiving need-based financial aid, and that his financial need is higher than yours.
We strongly discourage you from paying any company or individual (including your accountant) to file the FAFSA or to complete a scholarship search for you. Be wary of any firm that wants to charge you money for filing a FAFSA, for generating a list of “guaranteed” sources of funding, or for securing a specific scholarship.
If you have a current FAFSA and a Master Promissory Note on file, and have checked Clarion’s Web for Students and do not see your Federal Direct Loan, it could be for one of these reasons:
- You have been selected for federal verification, and the process has not been competed. Solution: If you are certain that you have submitted all required documents to the Office of Financial Aid, call them at 814 393-2315 to see when verification will be completed.
- We are waiting for notification of all of your financial aid awards, including outside scholarships, military benefits, OVR, etc. so that we can determine the amount of your loan.
- We cannot certify a loan for summer or for the next academic year until you have completed this semester (or this summer’s) courses, and the Registrar has recorded your grades.
- Are you certain that you made satisfactory academic progress during the last loan period?
- We cannot certify a loan if you are enrolled for less than 6 credits.
The FAFSA asks about any sources of income or assets that a family received in the last tax year. Frequently, families have some income that is untaxed. If you were selected for verification by the federal financial aid processor, you may be asked to provide more detailed information about the type, source, and amount of any untaxed income. Examples of untaxed income are: payments to tax-deferred pension and savings plans, child support received, alimony, social security, disability pay, earned income credit, child care tax credits, worker’s compensation, cash gifts or other benefits, welfare and TANF benefits.
Likely reasons include:
- You may not have a current FAFSA on file.
- You may not have listed Clarion University as a recipient of your information.
- You may have filed past the PA state grant deadline of May 1.
- Your FAFSA or PHEAA grant application may be incomplete.
- You may not have made satisfactory academic progress.
- You or your parent’s income or assets may have increased to the extent that you are not longer eligible for grant aid.
- Your family size, or number in college may have decreased.
- You may have made an error reporting income, untaxed income, taxes paid, or assets.
Contact the Office of Financial Aid to see if your situation can be resolved.
- Your and/or your parents’ income or assets may have been higher last year than in prior years.
- You and/or your parents’ may have had significant untaxed income the past year.
- Your family size or the number in college may have decreased.
- If you are transferring to Clarion, your previous school may have cost more than Clarion.
- You made an error in reporting income, assets, or other information.