Determination of Financial Need
The first important step in determining your financial aid is figuring out how much you and your parents can reasonably pay per year toward your college education. This sum is called the Expected Family Contribution or EFC.
To determine your EFC, you must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). The FAFSA asks questions regarding topics like how much money your parents earn, how many people live in your home, how much savings your parents have, etc. From this form the government determines a sum that you and your family can realistically contribute to your education both in the form of grants and loans.
We recommend that students and their parents complete their FAFSA applications as early in the year as possible to make sure you are considered for all funds. The FAFSA application may be accessed at www.fafsa.ed.gov as early as January 1. The school code for TAMUK is 003639.
Once your EFC is calculated, the processor will notify TAMUK and the Office of Student Financial Aid will review your EFC to ensure you are packaged the maximum amount of gift aid from federal and state sources.
Your expected family contribution is subtracted from the cost of attendance, and the result is your demonstrated financial need. The college attempts to meet your full demonstrated need as long as you are making satisfactory academic progress and file the appropriate applications by the established deadlines.
Cost of Attendance
The cost of attendance is what the college estimates it will cost you to attend TAMUK for one year. Included in the cost of attendance are your direct costs of tuition, fees, room and board (if you live on campus), and indirect cost estimates for books and supplies, personal expenses, and transportation. If you live off campus, a standard allowance for room and board is included and is determined by surveying students living off campus to determine the average amount that is spent on living expenses.
The Expected Parent Contribution
The analysis of your parents' income begins with their adjusted gross income (AGI) from their IRS (tax) return. To determine the total income to be used in the need analysis calculation, however, adjustments are made to the AGI, such as disallowing certain losses allowed by the federal income tax system, and adding income not taxed by the federal government. The analysis of your parents' assets includes the amount of any cash, savings, and checking accounts; the equity they have in their home; the equity they have in any investments, real estate, business or farm; and assets held in the name of your siblings, including pre-paid tuition plans. Retirement savings, including IRA accounts and pension plans, are not included as assets in the need analysis formula. As with income, allowances are made to exclude a portion of your parents' assets from the need analysis calculation.
Non-custodial Parent Contribution
If your parents are separated or divorced, only your custodial parent's (and stepparent's, if applicable) financial information should be included on the FAFSA. The contribution from your non-custodial parent will be considered when calculating your demonstrated financial need
As with parental income, your taxable and non-taxable income is considered in the need analysis formula. Allowances against your total income include federal income tax, state and other taxes, and FICA tax.
Federal Financial Aid
For the 2015-16 academic year, you will be considered to be an independent student, for the purpose of determining eligibility for Federal Pell Grant, Federal SEOG Grant, Direct Loan, and Federal Work-Study, if you meet one of the following conditions:
- Born before January 1, 1992;
- Veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces;
- Ward of the court or both parents are deceased;
- Graduate or professional student; or
- Have legal dependents, according to federal definition;
- Currently serving on active duty in the US Armed Forces;
- Are (or were) an emancipated minor as determined by a court;
- Are (or were) in a legal guardianship as determined by a court; or
- An unaccompanied, homeless youth.
If you meet one of these conditions, your eligibility for federal financial aid is based on your (and your spouse's, if you are married) income and assets. Your expected contribution from income and assets is dependent upon your age, marital status, and/or the number of your dependents. The Office of Student Financial Aid can tell you about the need analysis formula that would be applicable to your situation.