Calculated Financial Eligibility & Expected Family Contribution

Information you reported on your CSS Financial Aid Profile™ and FAFSA is used to estimate your family’s financial strength and your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is an estimate of the amount you and your family are expected to contribute to your annual educational expenses. Those funds may come from current income, savings, and/or family borrowing.

Your calculated financial eligibility is the difference between your annual educational costs and your Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

In short, your calculated financial eligibility = Cost – EFC. Your financial aid award package cannot exceed this amount.

BU need-based scholarship eligibility is established the first year the student applies for and receives scholarship aid and it is guaranteed for each year of undergraduate study; that’s the BU Grant Assurance. Eligibility is determined with information from the CSS Profile™ and CSS Institutional Methodology (IM) calculations, with some standard BU modifications. These calculations have proven to give a fair and reasonable assessment of a family’s financial strength. After the first year as a BU need-based scholarship recipient, the Profile™ is no longer required.

Family income is only one of several factors involved. Other important factors include the number of household members, the number of siblings (or certain other household members) attending college as undergraduates, and the financial assets of both student and parents. The BU calculation of total income usually excludes certain losses and includes certain types of tax-deferred income.

The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) consists of:

  • A parental contribution, calculated from income and assets
  • 25% of the student’s accumulated savings and other assets
  • A minimum contribution from student earnings, usually from summer employment ($1,800 for freshmen and transfer students – $2,400 for returning students)

Use our Net Price Calculator to help you estimate how much your family will be expected to pay.

Initial calculations may be revised, based on actual tax return information. Standard adjustments to Institutional Methodology (IM) formulas, made according to University policy, may also affect your calculated financial eligibility.

Eligibility for federal financial aid is determined with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and federally legislated formulas. There is no minimum student contribution (EFC) in the federal calculation.

BU need-based scholarship aid is renewed based on the terms of the BU Grant Assurance. After the first year, recipients are not required to file the CSS Profile™.

Federal and state funded financial aid is renewed each year based on the FAFSA, which must be filed each academic year.

Learn more about managing college costs

Whatever the amount of your family’s share of the total costs, it’s critical that you and your family plan for this expense before you arrive on campus. For more information, see Your Plan for Managing BU Expenses and Four Steps to Managing the Cost of Your Education.