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Determining Your Need for Financial Aid

UMass Amherst believes that the primary responsibility for financing your college education rests with you and your family. However, financial aid is available to assist in your efforts to pay college costs.

We primarily use two factors to determine the amount and types of aid you may receive: the Cost of Attendance and the Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

Cost of Attendance

The Cost of Attendance includes tuition and fees as well as room and board, books and supplies, and personal and transportation expenses. Visit University Costs for a listing of tuition, fees, and expenses.

Expected Family Contribution

Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is a figure calculated by the U.S. Department of Education. They arrive at the EFC amount by combining information from your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) with standardized financial analysis for federal student aid programs.

Financial Aid Services subtracts your EFC from your Cost of Attendance; the difference is your eligibility for financial aid, including federal, state, and institutional funds. In addition, we consider your year in school and your enrollment status when determining your need.

Adjusting the Expected Family Contribution

A number of factors may cause Financial Aid Services to adjust your Expected Family Contribution in ways that can either reduce or increase your eligibility for financial aid.

Factors that can reduce your eligibility include (but are not limited to) your having:

  • Underestimated income, savings, or investments
  • Over-reported taxes, tax exemptions, family size, or the number of family members attending college
  • Reported business or real estate income or losses that do not decrease real income

Factors that can increase your eligibility include (but are not limited to) your having:

  • Over-reported income, savings, or investments
  • Under-reported taxes, tax exemptions, family size, or the number of family members attending college
  • Lost income due to unemployment or underemployment
  • Unforeseen medical expenses due to the major illness of an immediate family member
  • Other additional direct or indirect educational expenses while enrolled at UMass Amherst

Where can I get my EFC?

If you have not filed your FAFSA for the current aid year, you may estimate your EFC using the FinAid Quick EFC Calculator.

Do you need help financing your expected family contribution?

You may be able to use aid described in the Alternative Loans section of this site to finance part, or all, of your expected family contribution.