How Financial Need is DeterminedAid from most of the Federal aid programs is awarded on the basis of financial need. (Of, course, you must first meet the eligibility criteria listed under General Eligibility.) The information you report on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is used in certain formulas that calculate your "Expected Family Contribution" (EFC).
Pell Grant Program
Eligibility for the Pell Grant Program is determined by your EFC. If this number is low enough, you are eligible for a Pell Grant, and the lower the number, the larger your award. If your EFC is higher than a certain number, you are not eligible for a Pell Grant. The maximum EFC for a full-time student to be eligible for 2011-2012 is 5,273.
Campus-based and Stafford Loan Program
There is not a minimum or maximum number in determining eligibility for the "campus-based" and Stafford Loan programs. Instead, your financial need is determined by the following subtraction:
Cost of Education - EFC = Financial Need
In other words, GCC calculates your cost to attend and subtracts the amount you and your family are expected to contribute toward that cost. If there's anything left over, you are considered to have financial need.