Need analysis is the process of determining a family's ability to pay for the costs of attending college. A family may consist of one (1) in the case of a single, independent student or any other family composition (dependent or independent student).
Elements or variables used to assess a family's ability to pay:
- income: taxed and untaxed
- number of family members in college: add other children if you parents will provide more than half of their support from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014, or if the other children will be required to provide parental information if they were completing a FAFSA for 2013-2014. Include children who meet any of these standards, even if they don't live with the parent(s). Exclude parents.
- family type (independent or dependent) and composition
- type of tax return filed, if any
Data provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is analyzed by specific formulas applied to the data. The specific formula used is based on the unique combination of variables mentioned above.
Results of the analysis yield an Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is a dollar amount your family should be able to contribute toward the costs of attending college according to the Federal regulations.
Student financial assistance offices at each college develop standard costs of attendance figures or budgets based on the following items:
- tuition, room and board, fees, transportation
- books/supplies, personal, and miscellaneous expenses
The cost for dependent care, if documented, and special services for handicapped students (if not provided by another source) may be added on a case by case basis.
Standard budgets are usually developed for certain categories of students and only include, by law, basic living expenses for the individual student.
Categories used by the Financial Aid Office at Oklahoma City Community College:
- dependent students living with parents
- independent students
- independent students living with parents
- less than half-time student
Special, well-documented costs, not included in these standard budgets, can only be added if they are a qualified cost under federal regulations.
Financial need is determined by comparing the appropriate costs of attendance (budget) to the applicant's EFC.
If the EFC is less than the cost of attendance used, then the applicant has financial need. The difference between the cost of attendance and EFC is the degree of need an applicant has.
If the EFC is greater than the cost of attendance used, then no financial need exists.
The amount of need and the EFC determines the types of assistance programs for which a given applicant may qualify.
Those applicants who do not demonstrate need are able to receive assistance by borrowing from certain loan programs. Parents of dependent students are also able to borrow from the Direct Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) program.
All applicants for student financial assistance are notified by email from the Financial Aid Office of their eligibility and directed to the college MineOnline site to view their awards.