What is a Need Based Scholarship? Exploring This Means of Paying for School

What is a need-based scholarship? If you’re graduating from high school next year and are planning to avail of a college education, you might have already come across this type of financial aid. The word “need” should be descriptive enough to give you an idea of what it’s about, but we’ll walk you through the details.

What is a need-based scholarship?

What Is a Need-Based Scholarship?

A need-based scholarship is basically financial aid provided for students who cannot afford to pay for tuition without regard to any other factor. A student can qualify for a need-based scholarship when he or she meets the eligibility criteria which are solely based on assets and income.

What is a need-based scholarship in terms of sources? A need-based scholarship can come in the form of federal, state, institutional, or private aid or a mix of all four, depending on the financial aid package provided by a college’s financial aid office. Typically, a need-based scholarship is only awarded for a year. However, students may re-apply for it every year.

How Does One Apply for a Need-Based Scholarship?

A student needs to apply and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to avail of what is a need-based scholarship. The amount of a student’s financial need is determined by subtracting Expected Family Contribution (EFC) from the Cost of Attendance (COA).

Another option is to fill out a College Scholarship Service Profile (CSS Profile) — an online application that was developed and is being maintained by the College Board. One of the most common financial aid applications, a CSS Profile involves approximately 400 colleges, universities, and scholarship programs that require this application for financial aid. However, schools that provide state and federal need-based aid (such as public and state universities) typically do not make use of the CSS Profile. It is mostly used by private colleges that provide significant need-based institutional aid.

What Is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a form provided for current and prospective college students who are planning to go to undergraduate or graduate school. Upon completion of the form, it will be determined if a student is eligible for student financial aid.

What Is the Expected Family Contribution?

Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is an index number that determines how much financial aid a student will be receiving from a school institution. The EFC is calculated based on the information a student provides in the FAFSA form. The EFC is calculated based on a formula that was established by law. Included in the calculation are taxed and untaxed family income, assets, and benefits such as Social Security and unemployment. A student’s family size and the number of family members who will be attending college or career school during the year are also considered in the EFC.

What Is the Cost of Attendance?

Cost Of Attendance (COA) is the amount that a student needs to pay for a college education. Two-year and four-year colleges calculate the total cost for the whole school year. For schools with certificate programs or other programs that last longer than a year calculate the COA based on the period of time that a student needs to complete a program.

If a student is attending school for at least half-time, the COA will be an estimate of:- the cost of room and board (or living expenses for students who do not avail of the school’s room and board)

  • the cost of books, supplies, loan fees, miscellaneous expenses, and transportation
  • tuition and fees
  • cost related to disability
  • allowance for child care or care of other dependents
  • reasonable costs for eligible programs for studying abroad
What Is a College Scholarship Service Profile?

A College Scholarship Service Profile is more detailed as compared to the FAFSA. A CSS Profile gives member institutions of the College Board a comprehensive look at both the family and financial situations of students to determine whether they are eligible for institutional financial aid. Questions on the form are mostly about the financial situation of the student and his or her parents.

A CSS Profile allows applicants to provide more information, especially about special circumstances such as high medical bills or if a parent or student was recently unemployed. This information is then forwarded to colleges, universities, and scholarship programs that the student specifies. A student’s eligibility for financial aid is then determined by the institution.

What Is the Eligibility Criteria?

What is a need-based scholarship in terms of criteria? A student who is eligible for a need-based scholarship can only avail of financial aid that is equal to the amount of his or her financial need. For example, if the COA is $20,000, and the EFC is $15,000 then the student will only be eligible for a $5,000 need-based financial aid.