Pell Grants - Eligibility

How is my "financial need" determined?

The federal processor determines your individual family's ability to contribute to the cost of education ("Expected Family Contribution") using the information you provide on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and a formula called "federal methodology." After receiving your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) amount from the processor, the Financial Aid Office then subtracts your EFC from the standard student budget (average cost of attendance). In formula form: Cost of Attendance - EFC = Student Financial Need.

What is a "Standard Student Budget," or "Average Cost of Attendance?"

The Standard Student Budget is the amount the Northwest Florida State College estimates it costs to attend college for the academic year. Costs include: tuition/fees, books and supplies, housing, meals, transportation, health insurance, and personal expenses.

Will our savings and other assets be considered when our financial need is being determined?

Family assets, such as stocks and bonds, net business worth, and savings are taken into account in determining the college expected family contribution toward a student's education. Eligibility for federal financial aid funds is determined by rules set by the government that provide, among other things, allowances for retirement needs in computing this contribution.

What if I have unusual circumstances?

If any of the following circumstances apply to you/your family, check with your financial aid adviser immediately to see if this might affect your financial aid application.

  • Divorce of parents or you from your spouse.
  • Death of a major wage earner
  • Loss of employment of a major wage earner
  • Loss of other income or benefits (such as Social Security or child support) by you, your parents, or your spouse.

If I am not eligible for aid based on need, is anything else available?

Many scholarships are not based on need, but rather on academic or other achievement. Some loans are also independent of financial need. All students should review the following loans for eligibility and terms: Subsidized Stafford Student Loan and Unsubsidized Stafford Student Loan. Several employment programs are available which are not based on need.


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