How to Know If You Need Financial Aid or a Want


Needs are essential elements of life, including things like food, shelter, and medical care. They can improve your quality of life and help you lead a healthier and happier lifestyle. Wants, on the other hand, are non-essential items that you may purchase because they make you feel good or add to your lifestyle. But how do you know when something is a need or a want?

Need-based admission policies are becoming more common at universities throughout the U.S. Some schools, such as Yale and Harvard, offer need-blind admissions to all applicants, while others, such as Georgetown, require applicants to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). However, even if a school offers need-based financial aid, the amount of need varies from college to college and year to year.

Whether you need financial aid or not depends on several factors, which include your family’s income and assets, the expected family contribution, and the costs of attendance at your chosen university. To determine your financial need, Chu recommends using a formula that includes family size, taxed and untaxed income, assets, family members enrolled in college, and the total cost of attending a specific institution.

Then, use that information to estimate your family’s financial need, which is calculated by subtracting your family’s EFC from the COA. This is then used to calculate the expected family contribution, which you will need to complete a FAFSA to receive financial aid.

Once you have a good idea of your financial need, the next step is to explore and research your potential school options. “As universities with need-aware admissions policies become more popular, students should carefully research both need-blind and need-aware admissions to find the best fit,” Chu says.

For example, if you are applying to a college that is ranked among the top 20 in the country, you will likely need financial aid. But if you are applying to a school that is ranked in the bottom half of the list, you might need to look into scholarship programs or other forms of financial assistance, such as loans or work-study.

You should also consider if a particular school is a good fit for you, according to your academic goals and career aspirations. For example, if you are looking to become a doctor, you will need to find a school that has an excellent reputation for educating physicians.

Need-based aid is also increasingly being offered at colleges and universities that are part of the Common Application Consortium, which includes about 2,000 colleges in the U.S. Those colleges can provide you with a personalized financial aid package.

Need is an important element of the college admissions process, especially for international students. While only a handful of colleges offer need-blind admissions, many schools now offer need-based financial aid to international applicants as well. These schools can help international students cover their education costs while still earning a high-quality degree. In addition, they are often more competitive and have more resources than schools that don’t provide need-based financial aid.