Calculating Eligibility

Merit and Need-Based Financial Aid

Financial aid is awarded to students based on merit, financial need, or both. Merit scholarships are awarded based on the stated criteria, usually a high grade point average, high standardized test scores, and/or exceptional talent. Need-based scholarships and grants are awarded based upon a student's financial need. Some scholarship requirements include both merit and need-based criteria.

How A Student's Financial Need is Determined

Financial need is determined using the student’s and parents’ (if applicable) financial information specified on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). (The application was created to determine the student's need for the Federal financial aid programs. Millersville University also uses this information in awarding need-based financial aid from state, institutional, and private funding sources.)

The information you provide on the FAFSA is processed using a formula, established by the U.S. Congress, that calculates your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), the amount you and your family are expected to contribute toward your education.* [For more details about the formula that is used and to estimate the amount of your Expected Family Contribution, you may wish to take a look at the Financial Aid Estimation Form provided on the Financial Aid Information Page maintained by Mark Kantrowitz.]

*Please note: One common misconception people have about the EFC is that it is the amount of the outstanding balance to be paid to the university for the year.  The EFC is actually number determined by a formula using the information supplied on the FAFSA.  It is used by financial aid professionals to determine amounts of eligibility for need-based financial aid programs.  It is NOT the amount you will pay the university for the year.  The outstanding balance of your bill and the EFC will likely differ. You will be responsible for the outstanding balance.

The federal processor will send this information to you on your Student Aid Report (SAR) which also serves as an acknowledgment that the application was processed. You may receive this acknowledgement electronically (known as an e-SAR) via email, if you provide an email address on the FAFSA. The federal processor also electronically transmits the analysis of the data you submitted to each of the institutions you specified on the FAFSA.

Each college or university determines how much it will cost for you to attend school, including tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, personal expenses, and transportation expenses. This is called your Cost of Attendance or cost of education and is unique to each school to which you apply. (This is one reason you may be eligible for more financial aid at one school than another--it may cost more to attend the other school.) The cost of education at Millersville University is based upon research done by University staff and students who review the costs annually to ensure they are realistic.

To determine your financial need, your expected family contribution is subtracted from the cost of attendance.

Cost of Attendance
- Expected Family Contribution
Financial Need

Example: Joe Student is a Pennsylvania Resident who is entering his freshman year of college at Millersville University for 2012-2013. He plans to live on-campus in the residence halls. Joe filed his FAFSA using his and his parents’ information, since he is a dependent student. When he received his SAR, the EFC was listed at $5,342. We determine his financial need by the following figures:

Cost of Attendance (In-State, Undergrad, Dorm Student)
- Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
= Financial Need
- 5,342