Most Title IV aid is need-based. Need analysis is the process of estimating the amount of assistance a student will require to supplement the resources theoretically available from that student and his or her family. Need analysis has two basic components: first, the estimation of what it will reasonably cost the student to attend a given institution for a given period of time (the cost of attendance or COA), and second, an estimation of the ability of the student and his or her immediate family to contribute to that educational cost (the expected family contribution or EFC). Once COA and EFC have been determined, the financial aid administrator may commence packaging financial aid for the student.
The law prohibits ED from regulating any aspect of need analysis. See Subtopics for other related regulations.
Related terms: Cost of Attendance; Expected Family Contribution; Packaging; Professional Judgment; Verification
See also Subtopics for more specific references.
A Primer on Economics for Financial Aid Professionals (College Board )
Need Analysis AskRegs Knowledgebase Q&As (National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators)
Need Analysis Self-Study Guide (National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators)
Students in Higher-Poverty School Districts Are Less Likely to Apply for Financial Aid (National College Attainment Network)
Legislative Changes to Federal Methodology and the Pell Grant Program, 2006–2021 (National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators)
Conflicting information or inconsistent information affecting application that may require resolution or further action