Eligibility for Student Financial Aid

Estimating Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and Eligibility for Student Aid

The Department of Education uses information from your FAFSA to perform a need analysis and determine your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). CMC then subtracts the EFC from your Cost of Attendance (COA) to calculate the amount of need-based financial aid you are eligible to receive.

CMC will assemble a financial aid package and send you a shopping sheet outlining the types and amounts of aid available to you along with the estimated educational costs at CMC. You may accept all, part, or none of this financial aid package.

To get an early estimate of your EFC and aid eligibility prior to the official need analysis process, take advantage of the Department of Education’s FAFSA4caster. Using information you provide about the type of school you plan to attend, FAFSA4caster can even estimate award amounts for specific kinds of aid, such as grants, loans, and work-study. When the time comes to fill out the FAFSA, you can use your answers on the FAFSA4caster to prefill many of the FAFSA questions.

You may also want to check out FinAid: The Smart Student Guide to Financial Aid, which provides an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) Calculator. The website also offers a detailed analysis calculator, in addition to a Quick EFC Calculator.

Other kinds of aid, such as scholarships and grants, may be given by schools, organizations, companies, etc. Some grants are based on need, while others are based on academic or athletic ability, career interests, religious affiliation, membership, location, employment, etc. Investigate these opportunities at your school, library, or on the internet at FinAid.

Dependency Status

The maximum amount you may borrow in Direct Loans depends on whether you are an independent student or dependent student, as well as your academic year in school.

You’re automatically considered INDEPENDENT if you:

Were born before January 1, 1993 (for 2016-17) or before January 1, 1994 (for 2017-18)

Are serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces

Since turning 13, both parents are deceased

Are a dependent or ward of the court since turning age 13

Are married as of the date of your application

Are a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces

Were in foster care since turning age 13

Are currently or have been an emancipated minor

Have children and provide more than half of their support

Will be working on a master’s or doctorate program

Have dependents (other than children or a spouse) who live with you and you provide more than half of their support

Are currently or have been in legal guardianship

Are homeless or at risk of being homeless

The range of personal situations is extensive. If you feel your dependency status is not accurately reflected by these definitions, discuss your personal situation with the Financial Aid Office. If your dependency status changes at any time during the year, you must notify the Financial Aid Office immediately. Independent students do not include their parents’ financial information on the FAFSA.