How Your Eligibility is Determined

Eligibility criteria for Federal financial aid is determined by the US Department of Education. Click HERE for a detailed list of criteria required to qualify for Federal financial aid.

Most of Gallaudet's financial aid programs require that you demonstrate "financial need." Financial need is the difference between the estimated cost to attend Gallaudet for an academic year and the amount that a student and his or her parents together are expected to contribute from their resources (the result of your FAFSA application). Following is an example of how it works:

Total educational costs $24,000
Parents' contribution -$8,000
Student's contribution -$1,000
Financial need =$15,000

The financial need amount is the total that a student is permitted to receive in financial aid from all sources. It is assumed that parents who are responsible for their children's college expenses will pay as much of the costs as they possibly can. Regular family income and assets are the basis for determining your eligibility for financial aid. Consideration is made for family size, number of children in college, age of parents, and marital status of parents.

The Financial Aid Office makes every effort to see that the majority of an undergraduate student's financial need are satisfied by grants and scholarship support, including those from sources such as VR, state grants, and private scholarships. More or less may be awarded depending on the availability of funds, enrollment records, and the date applications are received. Financial aid is applied towards disbursed to student accounts and applied to direct costs. Remaining need and indirect costs, if any, may be met through loans and/or work programs.

Your Financial Aid Costs
The purpose of financial aid is to assist in covering your Educational Costs. These costs include tuition, fees, room, board, transportation, and an average allowance for personal expenses. Financial aid is NOT intended to meet all of your living costs, and students must be prepared to meet their own non-educational living needs when they attend. The average financial aid cost of attendance * for 2014-2015  is $34,306 for Undergraduate students and $39,592 for Graduate students. Your financial aid from ALL sources cannot exceed this amount.

* Cost of Attendance includes expected costs (and allowances) above those charged by the Institution for tuition, fees, room, and board. These figures do not represent amounts billed to students by the institution. For more information on direct charges See Tuition and Fees.

Cost of Attendance
The Cost of Attendance (COA) figure represents the expenses associated with student attendance for one or two semesters at Gallaudet University, and usually is a nine-month figure. The COA is not the same as Gallaudet direct charges for tuition, fees, room, and/or board. COA figures do include these direct charges, but also include estimated expenses for transportation, books and supplies, and personal (medical, dental, recreational) expenses. Financial aid must consider all educationally -related expenses in determining financial aid types and amounts. Students/Parents should not confuse Cost of Attendance, or student expense budget, with the amount required to cover tuition, fees and living expenses on campus (which is less).

Expected Family Contribution
Expected Family Contributions (EFC) are calculated by the FAFSA information that is reported by the applicant and his/her parents (if student is determined dependent). This figure represents the family's financial responsibility toward meeting the total Cost of Attendance (see above section). The difference between the cost of education and family contribution is the maximum amount that a student may receive in need based financial aid from all sources. Financial aid does not dictate how the family contribution is used (whether toward direct charges or non-direct expenses); but it does have to assume that the contribution will be made. Financial aid will not be awarded beyond the financial need amount, and should aid be received in excess of the financial need figure, reductions/cancellations in financial aid awarded by the Financial Aid Office will have to be made. For information, link to Financial Aid Awards. Students/Parents who need assistance in meeting this family contribution amount may apply for Unsubsidized Stafford or PLUS Loans (if otherwise eligible).

Special Circumstances
If the reported FAFSA information was correct, but family financial circumstances have changed since the year for which data was reported (ie: involuntary loss of employment, disability, divorce, death of a parent, exceptional medical expenses), this information should be reported to the Financial Aid Office, NOT the FAFSA processor. Contact the Financial Aid Office regarding such change of circumstance. Documentation will be required. Where warranted, adjustments will be made to student financial aid eligibility maximums.

Verification of FAFSA Information
The Federal (FAFSA) Processor may select your application for "Verification", which is indicated on your Student Aid Report (SAR -FAFSA results) by an asterisk ( * ) beside the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) number. Verification selection means that information/documents supporting the FAFSA entries must be submitted to the Financial Aid Office for review. The Financial Aid Office also may select applications for verification if there is some indication that information was omitted or entered incorrectly. All students selected for verification will be notified that information must be submitted to the Financial Aid Office.

For additional information and assistance through the process of satisfying Verification requirements, please refer to our FAFSA Verification page. Financial aid awards will not be determined until all verification documents are received. Applicants are required to provide these documents within 30 days from the verification notification date. Students that choose NOT to complete FAFSA Verification requirements may opt to borrow unsubsidized Federal Stafford loans only, up to the maximum annual limit. Note that the maximum annual limit in unsubsidized Federal Stafford loan is insufficient to finance the sum of basic direct  costs, such as tuition and fees.

Students must be alert to the fact that during the semester these notifications will be sent via email and/or mailed to campus PO Boxes, NOT to parents at home. For this reason, Gallaudet email and campus PO Boxes should be checked on a regular basis.

Independent Student Definition
The statutory definition of an independent student (2013-2014) is one who is at least 24 years of age by December 31 of the award year, an orphan or ward of the court, a veteran of the Armed Forces, married, a graduate or professional student, one who has legal dependents other than a spouse, in legal guardianship as determined by a court in their state of legal residence, determined by a high school or school district homeless liaison as an unaccompanied homeless youth, or, at any time on or after July 1, 2008 determined by the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to be an unaccompanied homeless youth. Students who do not meet one of the above criteria are considered to be dependent and must provide parents' financial information on the FAFSA.

Dependent students who submit a FAFSA without parent(s) information will receive a rejection notice from the federal processor. The rejected report must be completed with parent(s) information, signed by a parent, and returned to the processor. Gallaudet will NOT receive this rejection notice; it is up to the applicant and his/her parent to provide all information necessary for FAFSA processing. Under no circumstances will financial aid eligibility be determined without complete and valid FAFSA results.

The status of dependent students who get married during the year will not change to Independent. Students who plan to marry before the academic year start may decide to delay filing the FAFSA until they are married; however, deadlines for institutional grants/scholarships will not be extended in this circumstance.

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