please hope me.
January 27, 2009 5:19 PM   Subscribe

FAFSAfilter: Received merit-based scholarship for law school at 1X,000 dollars a year. yey!. I filled out FAFSA, and my EFC is the same dollar amount as the scholarship. Does this mean my actual required contribution will be zero? Or are those FAFSA folks already taking my scholarship into account, so that I'll need to contribute 1Xk above and beyond the scholarship?

googled unsuccessfully for the answer to this.
posted by leotrotsky to Education (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The FAFSA determines whether you're eligible for Federal need-based aid, and you need to fill it out to receive certain interest-deferred loans (like the Stafford and Perkins loans). It also comes up with a figure that represents your Expected Family Contribution. I'm not sure whether public institutions are bound to that figure, or to what extent, but private institutions aren't bound to it in any way, and can choose entirely different methods of determining need.

Honestly, the best thing to do in this case is to call the Law School's or University's financial aid department and ask them. They'll know the school's policy, and can clarify whether they add merit aid to the equation before or after figuring out your expected share of the expenses.

Congratulations on the scholarship!
posted by Picklegnome at 5:28 PM on January 27, 2009

Merit-based scholarships reduce your cost of attendance, not your estimated family contribution. Your EFC is calculated based solely upon your income and assets. The forumla and a detailed explanation can be found here. You are responsible for coming up with this money yourself, either through existing assets/income or through loans. Scholarships do not count.

Cost of attendance is calculated based on tuition, fees, room/board, etc. The difference between COA and you EFC is your financial need. This may be made up through any combination of scholarships and loans, but none will reduce your financial need.

Most law students have an EFC of zero, as they're independent students with little or no income. I'm not exactly sure why your EFC is so high, but figuring that out would involve detailed questions about your finances that wouldn't be appropriate here. Suffice it to say that I suspect you've done something wrong with your FAFSA.
posted by valkyryn at 5:37 PM on January 27, 2009

Response by poster: Valk, I'm 28 and had a grown-up job until this year. Might that do it?
posted by leotrotsky at 5:44 PM on January 27, 2009

Valk, I'm 28 and had a grown-up job until this year. Might that do it?

It did it for my sister, who made a nice enough wage as a graphic designer the year before she went to grad school that she didn't qualify for loans.

(So, probably, yes).

Congrats on the scholarship!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:53 PM on January 27, 2009

Yeah, that'd probably do it. But you'll still qualify for loans, just not subsidized loans. You're going to wind up borrowing just as much as you would have with zero EFC. But since you won't be working this year, your contribution for next year should be zero, making you a normal law student.
posted by valkyryn at 6:15 PM on January 27, 2009

Response by poster: stupid income.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:26 PM on January 27, 2009

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