How financial need is determined
Financial need is determined using a simple formula:
COST OF ATTENDANCE minus RESOURCES ($ you have) = FINANCIAL NEED ($ you can receive)
Your student expense budget (i.e., cost of attendance) will be determined by each individual institution. At UC Davis you will be given a single-student budget regardless of your marital or family status. A calculation of your resources is done based upon the application information you provide to the school. You will have a calculated student contribution (SC).
Most UC Davis students are required to provide parent information regardless of their dependency status. University grants and some federal programs require the calculation of a parent contribution (PC) in determining whether you qualify for that particular program's funds. By providing parent information you increase your potential eligibility for other types of aid to help meet your financial need. Your financial need will be reduced by a calculated PC if that is the specific policy of the school to which you are applying. Typically this is done to conserve limited school monies.
Calculations of the SC and PC will be based upon current assets and base-year income (e.g., 2014 calendar year for the 2015-2016 school year). The treatment of assets and base-year income is liberal for those of you who are married with children or are single parents. This liberal treatment — which results in a substantially reduced resource contribution — tries to offset the reduction in need that results from not recognizing spousal and dependent expenses in the student budget. There are situations where the standard calculation of financial need will not yield a realistic result:
* your base-year income was high but your income during the school year will be low
* you are a single parent and have little if any resources
* you are married with children, your spouse is not in school and you have little income
These types of situations might suggest you talk with staff at the financial aid office at the school you plan to attend. They have the legal authority to make reasonable changes to your budget and resource calculations.