How Financial Assistance Works

The theory underlying the financial aid system is based on the premise that parents and students are primarily responsible for paying for the cost of college attendance to the greatest extent they are able.  After evaluating the family’s expected family contribution (EFC), the university awards different forms of financial assistance towards meeting the student’s need.  Below is the basic formula to determine financial aid need.

Cost of Attendance
- Expected Family Contribution
= Financial Need

To illustrate the concept, let’s assume your estimated family contribution is $5,000 per year, and you are applying to four schools.

School 1 School 2 School 3 School 4
Cost of Attendance $4,000 $15,000 $25,000 $30,000
Estimated Family Contribution $5,000 $5,000 $5,000 $5,000
Financial Need $0 $10,000 $20,000 $25,000

Your estimated family contribution stays approximately the same at each school, but your eligibility for financial assistance is greater at a higher priced private college compared to a less expensive public college.

It is important to keep in mind that students from families of all income levels can demonstrate financial need based upon their particular circumstances. Most students who apply are eligible.

Applying for financial assistance. Complete our Application for Admission. In order to receive financial assistance, you must be admitted to St. Mary’s University.

Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and list St. Mary’s University (code 003623). When you complete the FAFSA online, you must register to receive to receive a PIN, which can be used to electronically sign your FAFSA, or you can print out, sign and mail the signature page to the processing agency. If you register for a PIN, both you and your parent must complete the signature process electronically.

Though you have completed the FAFSA, the process of getting financial assistance is not yet complete. In order to secure financial assistance, you may selected to complete the Federal Verification process. Learn more about the Federal Verification process.

Financial aid applications received by March 31 will receive priority. To meet this deadline, we recommend you submit the FAFSA no later than February 15.



The Office of Financial Assistance