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How Aid is Calculated

Financial Aid is funds provided to students and their families to help pay for postsecondary educational expenses such as tuition, fees, books, supplies, etc. The basic sources of aid are grants, scholarships, employment, and loans. If considered dependent, students and their parent(s) are considered the primary funding sources for these costs. Financial aid is intended to fill the gaps where students and their parent(s) might fall short in paying for college.

Federal and state financial aid (“need-based” aid) is based on demonstrated financial need, cost of attendance, enrollment status, academic progress (SAP), and program of study. The following standard federal formula calculates the financial need:

Estimated Cost of Attendance (COA)

 Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

= Financial Need

*Beginning in 2024-25 the award amount will be based on the number of credit hours, not level of intensity.

The estimated cost of attendance includes tuition and fees; books, supplies, and equipment; living expenses (housing, food, transportation); and other school-related miscellaneous personal expenses.

A student’s SAI is calculated from the information reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). VGCC uses it to calculate how much financial aid a student can receive. The SAI is calculated according to a formula established by law. A student’s (and parent’s, if dependent) taxed and untaxed income, assets, and benefits may all be considered in the formula. In addition, family size and the number of family members attending college are also considered.  It is important to remember that the SAI is not the amount of money a student and/or parent will have to pay for college, nor is it the federal student aid one will receive.

It is essential to know that some scholarship programs may award funds based on academic merit or program of study.  The college, state agency, or private organization generally establishes eligibility for these programs.

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