Office of Financial Aid
USF Health

Determining Financial Need

Federal, state, private, and institutional aid programs assume that the family (student, spouse, and parents) has primary responsibility for financing your education, and that the family should contribute amounts in accordance with its income and assets before financial aid can be expected. The process of determining the amount of money that can be contributed to your educational support (called the Expected Family Contribution, or EFC) is called "needs analysis." Needs analysis is accomplished through one of two mechanisms, depending upon the requirements of the specific aid program: those that require the analysis of parental financial data, and those that do not.

  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) - The FAFSA is a needs analysis form provided by the Federal Government to collect financial data and for which students cannot be charged a fee for processing. As a graduate student, you are considered independent by the Federal Government regardless of your age, tax status or living arrangements for most federal programs; financial information on the FAFSA therefore is only required from you and your spouse if you are married. You must complete a FAFSA to be considered for any of the following programs:
    • US Department of Education (DoEd)
      • Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan (USFL)
      • Federal Direct Graduate/Professional PLUS Loan (GradPLUS)
    • Outside Agency
      • Private Alternative Loan Programs


Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

The FAFSA does not award financial aid. It analyzes the information provided by the student and his/her family to calculate an EFC and forwards the results to the designated financial aid office(s). The analysis is performed in accordance with the federally established methodology referred to as "Federal Needs Analysis Methodology." At the individual schools, the EFC is subtracted from the estimated cost of attendance at that institution, which produces an amount referred to as your "verified financial need." This is the amount of financial aid you are eligible to receive.

In addition to a student having verified financial need, the federal student aid programs require that the student recipient:

  1. Have a high school diploma, or a GED, pass an independently administered examination approved by the Department or meet state standards.
  2. Enroll as a regular student in an eligible degree or certificate program.
  3. Be a U.S. Citizen or eligible non-citizen.
  4. Make satisfactory academic progress.
  5. Be registered with the Selective Service (if applicable).
  6. Attend a participating school.
  7. Be working toward a degree or certificate.
  8. Does not owe a refund on a federal grant or be in default on a federal educational loan.
  9. Has not been convicted of possessing or selling illegal drugs.


Demonstrating Need For Financial Aid

In general, the FAFSA system will assess the student's total financial strength, which is derived from the interaction of income and assets. From this assessment, the Federal Needs Analysis Methodology calculates the EFC. The EFC is also referred to as your resources.

Your verified financial need is determined by subtracting your resources, or EFC, from the appropriate cost of attendance (COA).

Cost of Attendance
- student/spouse contribution
- other financial assistance

= verified financial need