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Determining Eligibility for Financial Aid

How Financial Aid is Determined

MassArt's Office of Student Financial Assistance follows U.S. Department of Education guidelines in administering financial aid programs. The basic principle behind financial aid is that students and their families have primary responsibility for meeting as much of the cost of attending college as is reasonably possible. Financial aid is a supplement to family resources if family resources are insufficient to meet college costs.

Three components determine eligibility for financial aid: cost of attendance, family contribution, and financial need. Stated simply, cost of attendance minus expected family contribution (EFC) equals financial need.

Cost of Attendance (CoA)

The Office of Student Financial Assistance determines the Cost of Attendance for each type of student. Standard average budgets are used for students based on where they will live during the academic year, along with an estimated budget for art supplies and books and the cost of tuition and fees based on their residency status.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

The “expected family contribution,” or “EFC,” is based on the information supplied on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The family contribution is calculated using the U.S. Department of Education guidelines and a process called “need analysis.” This process takes into account components such as:

  1. Family income
  2. Number of family members
  3. Number of family members attending college on at least a half-time basis
  4. Family assets (not including the primary residence)
  5. Essential family living costs

Financial Need

The Office of Student Financial Assistance uses the result of "need analysis" to determine the types of financial aid programs that a student is eligible to receive. A student with determined financial need may be eligible for need-based aid and loan programs, whereas a student with no determined financial need may be eligible for non-need-based federal loan programs.