Definition of Need

Financial need is the difference between total educational expenses and the amount the student is expected to contribute.

Cost of education – expected family contribution = financial need.

Total educational expenses (educational fees, books and supplies, room and board, personal expenses and transportation expenses) usually are called the cost of attendance. Day-care expenses for dependent children also may be added to your cost with proper documentation. The amount the student is expected to pay is called the expected family contribution, or EFC.

How to Determine the Expected Family Contribution

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) asks about income, number in the household, number in college, assets of the family and other questions to help determine what the student is expected to contribute. It should be remembered that although the U.S. Department of Education considers medical students (as well as all graduate and professional students) as independent, the Department of Health and Human Services requires parental information be submitted on loan and scholarship programs. Accordingly, the School of Medicine recommends that applicants complete both the student and parent sections to ensure that he or she is considered for all the aid available.

Quality Assurance and Verification

Each year, the federal government requires that schools verify the accuracy of the data submitted on the FAFSA forms. Therefore, we may ask you to submit various documents, such as a federal tax return, to our office. Disbursement of any federal financial aid will be held until we have received and processed the requested documents.

Your Financial Aid Package or Award

Once MU Student Financial Aid has received your FAFSA results and other required forms, a financial aid package is developed based on your financial need. Financial Aid will send you an electronic award letter (as long as you have agreed to e-consent in myZou) outlining the financial aid for which you are eligible and what you need to do to actually receive the money. If you are not eligible for need-based aid, we will tell you about loans offered by the federal government and others that are not based on need. If you accept loans on your award letter, you normally will be sent promissory notes or a web address to complete electronically.

Special Circumstances

Your eligibility for aid is based primarily on prior-prior-year income and the asset data you reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The income reported may be an inaccurate indication of a medical student’s ability to contribute to his or her education since most students do not have time to work while enrolled. With proper documentation, the financial aid coordinator can use professional judgment to address this problem. However, you must first file the FAFSA with the prior-year income. After you receive your Student Aid Report (SAR) back, contact the financial aid coordinator for further instructions.