Determine Your Financial Aid

Need-based financial aid programs are designed with the assumption that you and your parents have a responsibility to pay a share of educational costs. Need-based aid includes grants, work study and subsidized direct loans.

Paying for College

The amount you and your family are expected to pay will vary based on several factors, including: income, assets, number of children in the family, and number of children attending college. Your financial aid eligibility may increase when you apply to higher priced colleges.

The following tools will help you and your family estimate how much funds, if any, your family would need to contribute to assist you in attending MSUM. Processing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will determine your expected family contribution and financial need.

Awards are usually based on full time enrollment. If you’re enrolled for less than an academic year or fewer than 12 credits per semester, your budget, contribution and award will be adjusted.

When meeting the financial costs for college, the major responsibility rests with you and your family. The expected family contribution (EFC) is an assessment of your ability to pay based on information provided on the FAFSA.

Family contributions for dependent students are based on your and your parents’ information. For independent students, it’s based on your and your spouse/partner’s information. The federal analysis reviews income, taxes paid, family size, number of family members in college, and assets. Allowances on taxes paid, Social Security, and moderate family living costs are deducted from income. The remaining available income is then assessed to determine the amount available to assist with school costs.

After determining your family contribution and cost of attendance, aid eligibility is reviewed and an award package is determined. The formula used to determine aid is:

Cost of Attendance – Family Contribution = Financial Need

In calculating Minnesota grant eligibility, a dependent student’s contribution is not used; only your parents’ contribution is used.

When available, other resources like State Veterans benefits, Division of Rehabilitation Services assistance, RA compensation, or tuition waivers meet a portion of your educational costs, and aid is adjusted accordingly.

When determining your financial aid eligibility, the Office of Scholarship and Financial Aid will establish an average budget for you, which includes estimated costs of tuition and fees, books and supplies, personal and incidental costs, room and board, transportation and if applicable, childcare costs for children you support. Personal and incidental expenses are included to cover costs for laundry, personal care items, and entertainment. If you’re living with parents, you’ll have a lower budget than students who live independently on or off campus.

Budget adjustments can be made if you commute more than 40 miles round trip daily, if you live out of state, and for childcare and dependent care costs for individuals you support. If you have special circumstances affecting your cost of education, contact the Office of Scholarship and Financial Aid to provide documentation.

You’re considered a dependent for financial aid purposes unless one of a limited number of circumstances is met (age, marital or veteran status, etc.). Your parents’ information is required to determine your financial aid eligibility.

As a dependent student, you are expected to have a contribution available based on 50 percent of your income after allowances for taxes and living expenses are deducted. If savings or investments are reported, 35 percent of these assets are calculated to be available for school costs. Your expected family contribution (EFC) is the combination of your and your parents’ contributions.

If you are an independent student without dependents or are a married independent student, you are normally expected to have an amount equal to 50 percent of your available income to help meet school costs.

In addition, 35 percent of any reported assets, such as savings, are part of your contribution. If you have additional assets from real estate and investments or business, a contribution is calculated.

Independent students with dependents other than a spouse have a maintenance allowance, which reflects the number of people in your family. In some cases, your contribution may be zero because the amount allowed for family living costs is equal to or greater than your available income.