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How Aid is Determined

Federal and state financial aid programs were established on the idea that the primary responsibility for paying educational expenses rests with you and your family. Financial aid helps with the cost of school for those who lack the necessary resources to pay these expenses. The information you provide on your FAFSA or Dream Act application is used to determine your financial aid eligibility.

We use the following formula to determine whether you are eligible for need-based financial aid such as grants, subsidized loans and work-study:

Costs of Attendance – Expected Family Contribution = Financial Need

Costs of Attendance

Our office establishes costs of attendance that are used to calculate your financial aid eligibility and to provide you and your family with a reasonable estimate of the cost to attend Cal Poly for one academic year. These budgets include allowances for tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, transportation, and personal and miscellaneous expenses. They are based on what are considered reasonable but modest costs after surveying segments of our student population.

Expected Family Contribution

Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is computed based on the data you and your parents provide on the application. The EFC is the measure of the financial strength of the family and an estimate of the amount of money you and your family can reasonably contribute towards college costs.

Financial Need

The difference between the cost of attendance and the expected family contribution is considered your financial need. Our office will assist you and your family in trying to meet your financial need by offering a combination of grants, scholarships, loans, and employment opportunities. If this formula determines that you don’t have financial need, you are still eligible to be considered for non-need-based scholarships and loans.

Significant Financial Changes
If your family has experienced significant financial changes since the year of income reported on the FAFSA, you may submit a Change of Income form. This form cannot be submitted prior to June 15 for the upcoming academic year. We advise families to make their commitment decision based on the initial financial aid package offered.