Federal Eligibility

Information reported on the FAFSA is used to determine federal aid eligibility. Aid from federal programs is awarded based on a student's financial need. To determine your federal financial need, Emory will subtract from your cost of attendance (COA), the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and other financial aid you'll receive. If anything is left over, you're considered to have financial need for additional federal student aid:

Formula for calculating Federal Financial Aid Eligibility or Need

Federal Methodology (FM)

The formulas used to determine a student's eligibility for federal Title IV funds. The formulas take into account income, some assets, expenses, family size, and other factors. FM is written by Congress rather than a peer community assessment and is not updated regularly.

Expected Family Contribution

The EFC is a measure of your family's financial strength and is calculated from the information you report on the FAFSA. Your EFC will appear on your Student Aid Report (SAR) and is calculated according to a formula established by federal law. Your family's income (taxable and untaxed), assets, and benefits (for example, unemployment or Social Security) are all considered in determining your EFC. Also considered are your family size and the number of family members who are enrolled in college.

Cost of Attendance

Cost of Attendance is an estimate of the total amount it will cost you to go to school for an academic period. Cost of attendance includes tuition and fees, room and board or living expenses, allowances for books, supplies and transportation. Other education related expenses may be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Basic Requirements

To receive aid from federal student aid programs, you must meet certain educational and legal criteria:

Educational Requirements

  1. You must be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a regular student working toward a degree in an eligible program.
  2. You must meet satisfactory academic progress standards set by the post-secondary school you are or will be attending.

Legal and Other Requirements

  1. You must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen.
  2. You must have a valid Social Security number (unless you're from the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau). If you need a Social Security number, you can find out more about applying for one at the Social Security Administration or by calling 1-800-772-1213. TTY users can call 1-800-325-0778.
  3. You must certify that you will use federal student aid only for educational purposes. You must also certify that you are not in default on a federal student loan and do not owe money on a federal student grant.
  4. You must comply with Selective Service registration, if required. At the same time you complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), give the Selective Service permission to register you. You can also register on the Selective Service System or by calling 1-847-688-6888. TTY users can call 1-847-688-2567.
  5. You might not be able to receive federal student aid if you've been convicted under federal or state law of selling or possessing illegal drugs. You must complete Question 23 of the FAFSA; if you leave it blank, you'll automatically become ineligible for federal student aid. If you need more information, call 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) or go to the FAFSA website.

Citizen/Eligible Non-Citizen Requirements

You must be one of the following to receive federal student aid:

  • U.S. citizen
  • U.S. national (includes natives of American Samoa or Swain's Island)
  • U.S. permanent resident with an I-151, I-551, or I-551C (Alien Registration Receipt Card)
  • If you're not in one of these categories, you must have an Arrival Departure Record (I-94) from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Services (USCIS) showing one of the following designations:
    • Refugee
    • Asylum Granted
    • Indefinite Parole and/or Humanitarian Parole
    • Cuban Haitian Entrant, Status Pending
    • Conditional Entrant (valid only if issued before April 1, 1980)

Permanent residents of the Freely Associated States may be eligible for federal student aid. Citizens of the Freely Associated States are eligible for Pell Grants, SEOG, or Work-Study only. A student with a non-immigrant visa isn't eligible for federal student aid or need-based aid from Emory unless he or she has a Form I-94 with one of the endorsements listed earlier. Non-immigrant visas include the F-1, F-2 or M-1 Student Visa, B-1 or B-2 Visitor Visa, J-1 or J-2 Exchange Visitors Visa, H series or L series Visa (which allow temporary employment in the U.S.), or a G series Visa (pertaining to international organizations). Also, someone who has only a "Notice of Approval to Apply of Permanent Residence (I-717 or I-464)" cannot receive federal aid or need-based aid from Emory.

Database Matches

When you apply for federal aid, some of your information will be verified with federal agencies, including the Social Security Administration (for verification of Social Security numbers and U.S. citizenship status). If the information does not match, the problem will have to be resolved to enable you to receive an aid award offer.

Your reported information is also checked against the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) to verify if any of the following concerns exist: default status on a federal student loan, overpayment of a federal grant, or if aggregate loan limits have been exceeded.

Special Circumstances

The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) formula is the same for all applicants; however Emory may consider extenuating circumstances. These circumstances could include your family's unusual medical expenses, tuition expenses, or unemployment. Your requests for adjustments must be submitted in writing and include adequate documentation supporting the special circumstance. If you or your parent is a dislocated worker (someone who has lost their job, been laid off, receiving unemployment benefits or qualifies as a displaced homemaker), documentation such as a layoff notice, statement of unemployment benefits, etc… should be submitted.

Dependency Status

When you apply for federal student aid, you report certain financial information to determine your financial need. Financial need affects whether you receive most types of federal student aid and - if you're eligible - how much you'll receive. You'll need to know whose financial information to report on your application, yours or yours and your parents' information.

Dependent students must report their parents' income and assets as well as their own on the FAFSA. Federal programs assume dependent student's parents have the primary responsibility for the student's education. Your parents' information will be used to calculate your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) .

Independent students report only their own income and assets (and those of a spouse, if married). Dependency status is not contingent on whether a student lives with parents or is claimed as an exemption on parents' tax return.

You're considered an independent student ONLY IF at least one of the following criteria applies to you:

  • You were born before January 1, 1996.
  • You will be enrolled in a master's or doctorate program (beyond a bachelor's degree) at the beginning of the 2019-20 school year.
  • You are married as of the day you apply (or you're separated but not divorced).
  • You are currently serving on active duty in the military for purposes other than training.
  • You have children who will receive more than half their support from you between July 1, 2019, and June 30, 2020.
  • You have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and who will receive more than half their support from you between July 1, 2019, and June 30, 2020.
  • When you were 13 or older, both of your parents were deceased, you were in foster care, and/or you were a ward of the court.
  • As of the day you apply, you are an emancipated minor as determined by a court in your state of legal residence.
  • As of the day you apply, you are in legal guardianship as determined by a court in your state of legal residence.
  • At any time on or after July 1, 2018, your high school or school district homeless liaison determined you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless.
  • At any time on or after July 1, 2018, the director of an emergency shelter program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development determined you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless.
  • At any time on or after July 1, 2018, the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program determined you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless.
  • You are a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces. (A "veteran" includes students who attended a U.S. service academy and who were released under a condition other than dishonorable. For more detail on who is considered a veteran, see the explanatory notes on the FAFSA.)

If none of the above criteria applies to you, you're considered dependent. If you meet the definition of independency because you are an emancipated minor, under legal guardianship, a ward of the court, under foster care, or at risk of homelessness, documentation such as court records are required to verify your status.

Dependent Student with Biological Parents Divorced or Separated

When completing the FAFSA, report information about the parent you lived with for the greater amount of time during the 12 months preceding the date of application. If you didn't live with either parent, or if you lived with each parent an equal number of days, use information about the parent who provided the greater amount of financial support during the 12 months preceding the date of application. If you didn't receive any parental financial support during that time, you must report information about the parent who most recently provided the greater amount of parental support. If your parents are not married but live together, both parents information must be included on the FAFSA.

If the parent you receive financial support from was a single parent who is now married, or the parent was divorced or widowed but has remarried, your stepparent's financial information is required on the FAFSA. This does not mean your stepparent is obligated to give financial assistance to you, but his or her own income and assets represent significant information about the family's resources and will be included in calculating federal aid eligibility. Including this information on the FAFSA helps provide an accurate picture of your family's total financial strength. For more information on Filing Status, click here.