How Need Is Determined
Many types of aid require you demonstrate financial need to be eligible for the funds. To be considered for need-based (state, institutional, and outside) and all federal aid programs you must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) OR the Renewal FAFSA.
The federal processor uses a formula known as Federal Methodology to estimate your and/or your family’s ability to contribute toward your education. This formula, written into law by Congress and reviewed each year, evaluates information supplied on the FAFSA or Renewal FAFSA related to income and assets, family size, and number of family members in college to calculate your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). If you have questions about what family members should be included on your FAFSA or Renewal FAFSA, see the instructions included with the form. This guide will also give you important information in the section, “Step One: Apply for Aid”
Your EFC index number, in conjunction with the Cost of Attendance (COA), determines the types of financial aid for which you are eligible. The COA includes tuition and fees as well as an allowance for books, supplies, room and board, transportation, and personal expenses. COA is based on a student’s status as in-state or out-of-state (residency); housing status (living on campus, with parents or relatives, or off campus); graduate or undergraduate classification; and enrollment hours (attending full time, three-quarter time, half time, or less-than-half time). Please refer to the Tuition & Fees: Estimated Cost of Attendance (Graduate and Undergraduate). Exact tuition and fees are established by The College of New Jersey Board of Trustees and are available in July.
Documented Need is defined as a student’s Cost of Attendance (COA) minus the Expected Family Contribution (EFC):
Cost of Attendance (COA)
- Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
= Documented Need
The Office of Student Financial Assistance will meet as much of each applicant’s documented need as possible, given fund availability and fund eligibility requirements. You should not assume, however, that your full need will be met.
Note: Financial aid award packages containing either federal, state, or institutional assistance CANNOT exceed the student’s Cost of Attendance. Students receiving outside assistance in combination with federal, state, or institutional assistance are subject to Cost of Attendance guidelines.