Eligibility for Financial Aid

When discussing a student’s eligibility for aid, we refer to whether or not the student meets the requirements to receive funds for college and to the amount of available aid the student is eligible to receive. This page explains requirements for receiving federal need-based financial aid and how the amount of aid is determined. Eligible students receive financial aid funds at the beginning of each term.

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The federal government is the primary source of financial aid for college students. Students must meet the following requirements to be eligible for federal aid:  

  • Have financial need and demonstrate it through their financial aid application materials. (Some loans and scholarships are available to students without need.) 
  • Be accepted for enrollment or enrolled at least half-time and working toward a degree or combined degree/certificate. Students enrolled in a certificate-only program are not eligible for federal aid, including loans. Students may apply for aid before being accepted or enrolled.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-U.S. citizen with a valid Social Security number. Federal regulations and university policy limit financial assistance available to non-U.S. citizens.
  • Be registered with the U.S. Selective Service, if required.  To check registration, click here.
  • Make Satisfactory Academic Progress toward their degree program. 
  • Use aid only for educational purposes.
  • Not owe a refund on a federal grant or be in default on any federal educational loan.
  • Enroll for coursework that is accepted for credit by your degree-granting program.
  • Attend all classes for which you enroll. If you fail a class and did not attend, your financial aid could be adjusted. (Note that instructors report non-participation if a student receives a failing grade.)

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Students are eligible for federal aid if they are pursuing double majors or dual-degree programs as long as they meet Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements. If a student has earned an undergraduate degree and has re-entered college to pursue another bachelor's degree, financial aid will be limited to loans only. 


A student admitted as a non-candidate for degree may qualify for federal loan assistance if he or she is taking prerequisite courses for admittance into a U-M program. Contact the Office of Financial Aid to receive more detailed information regarding potential eligibility and to obtain a Non-Candidate for Degree Questionnaire.  


Students who are enrolled at more than one college or university at the same time may receive  aid from only one institution, not both. For more information, contact us


University of Michigan Grant (formerly Michigan Grant) is available to eligible U-M students during the first 10 terms of enrollment in a college or university. This includes U-M or any other institution. 

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Financial aid programs were created with the idea that the primary responsibility for paying college costs rests with the student and his or her family. The amount of aid for which you are eligible depends on your family’s financial circumstances and resources.

When you complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the federal government uses the information you supply to assess your family’s financial situation and calculate an estimated/expected family contribution (EFC) for you.

Your EFC is an estimate of the amount that you and your parents might be expected to contribute toward the costs of your education. It is not the amount you owe to your college or university.

More about Your EFC

Your estimated/expected family contribution (EFC) is made up of two parts:

  • Parent Contribution: an estimate, based on both parents' income and assets (including cash, checking, savings, and money market accounts, etc.; investments and real estate holdings; and business equity), of what your parents might be able to pay toward your college costs for the year. Allowances for living expenses (based on family size), taxes paid, the number of siblings in college and asset protection for retirement are built into the formula.
  • Student Contribution: an estimate of what you might be able to contribute toward college costs for the year. It is based on your income and a percentage of your savings and other assets.

Entering students at U-M complete a CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE application to supplement the information provided on the FAFSA and to be considered for institutional gift aid from U-M. Other financial aid application documents may also be required as applications are reviewed.

The U-M Office of Financial Aid uses this additional information from the PROFILE to refine the EFC when determining eligibility for university-funded aid programs. We use information from both parents, regardless of marital status, when considering eligibility for U-M grants.

Once your EFC has been determined, the amount of federal, state, and institutional need-based aid you are eligible to receive is calculated using this equation: 

Cost of Attendance
Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
Other Financial Resources (private scholarships, etc.)
= Eligibility for Need-Based Aid


Your Cost of Attendance includes estimated amounts for tuition and fees, books and supplies, and room and board, and a modest allowance for personal/miscellaneous expenses.  From this, we subtract your EFC and other financial resources such as private scholarships or gifts you’ve received that are not part of your family’s income and assets. See Financial Resources That May Affect Eligibility (below) for more information about how external financial resources affect aid awards.

The result is your eligibility for need-based aid or demonstrated financial need. While this number represents the amount of aid you are eligible to receive based on your costs and your financial resources, the amount of aid that you will actually be awarded depends on the financial aid funds available in any given year. See How Financial Aid Is Awarded for more information about how the university distributes financial aid resources.

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Students may seek scholarships from private sources, U-M schools and colleges, and other sources at any time. In accordance with federal regulations and university policies, however, scholarships from external sources (including U-M schools and colleges) must be counted as financial resources when we calculate a student’s eligibility for need-based aid.

In most cases, the addition of these resources will improve your aid package. In general, if you receive outside aid (including scholarships from U-M schools and colleges), it will first be applied against any costs that have not been accounted for in your financial aid package (i.e., the gap, if one exists, between your cost of attendance and your expected family contribution plus the financial aid offered). Next, it will be used to reduce your loan or Work-Study award, thus reducing the funds you must borrow or earn by working. Only if all loan and Work-Study awards have been replaced by scholarships or other resources will the amount of your grant aid be reduced.

There are some important exceptions to this rule:

  • Some scholarships and awards administered by the Office of Financial Aid are awarded based on student need. If you receive one of these, you will receive a letter from our office. Although this may reduce your Michigan Grant, your total aid award should either remain the same or may be higher. Your total aid should not be reduced.
  • If you own a 529 plan, such as a Michigan Education Trust contract, or if you receive a scholarship that is partially or fully funded by the state, such as the Michigan Competitive Scholarship (MCS), the Detroit Compact Scholarship, or the Wade McCree Scholarship, these funds will be applied against your need-based grant awards before reducing your need-based loan or Work-Study awards.
  • In addition, receiving either a Wade McCree or a Detroit Compact Scholarship will reduce your eligibility for the university-funded  Jean Fairfax and Michigan Experience scholarships as well as the Michigan Competitive Scholarship.

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Office of Financial Aid * 2500 Student Activities Building, 515 E. Jefferson, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1316 * Tel 734-763-6600 * Fax 734-647-3081 *