Financial Aid Eligibility

When discussing a student’s eligibility for financial aid, we refer to requirements a student must meet and to the amount of aid the student is eligible to receive. This page explains requirements for receiving federal need-based financial aid and how we determine the amount of aid. Eligible students receive financial aid at the beginning of each term.


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. (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.  Check your registration
  • Make Satisfactory Academic Progress toward a 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 or participate, your financial aid could be adjusted. (Note that instructors report non-participation if a student receives a failing grade.)


Second Bachelor's Degree

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 is limited to loans. 

Non-Candidate for Degree Students

A student admitted with a non-candidate-for-degree status 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.  More about Non-Candidate for Degree

Enrollment at More Than One Institution

Students who are enrolled at more than one college or university at the same time may receive aid from only one institution. For more information, contact us.

Students Receiving University of Michigan Grant

University of Michigan Grant (formerly Michigan Grant) is available to eligible U-M undergraduate students who are enrolled in their first bachelor's degree during the first 10 terms of enrollment in a college or university. This includes U-M or any other institution. 


Financial aid programs were created with the assumption that the primary responsibility for paying for college rests with the student and family. Need-based financial aid is available to families who need additional resources.

The formula we use to determine need-based eligibility: 

Cost of Attendance

- Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

- Other Financial Resources (private scholarships, etc)

= Eligibility for Need-Based Aid

Cost of Attendance is the estimated cost to attend U-M for fall and winter terms, including estimated tuition and fees, books and supplies, and housing and meals, plus a modest allowance for personal/miscellaneous expenses. The budget allows the same housing and meals budget whether you live on or off campus, unless you live with your parents and then you will get less.

The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is a formula applied uniformly to all aid applicants and considers information provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and, for entering applicants, the CSS Financial Aid Profile, in addition to other documents we request. The FAFSA determines eligibility for federal aid; the Profile eligibility for U-M gift aid.

Your EFC is made up of two parts:

  • Parent Contribution: What parents are expected to pay toward annual college costs, based on income and assets (cash, checking, savings and money market accounts; investments and real estate holdings; and business equity) Allowance for living expenses (based on family size), taxes paid, the number of siblings in college, and retirement asset protection are built into the formula.
  • Student Contribution: What a student is expected to pay based on income, savings and other assets. From this, we subtract your EFC and other resources such as private scholarships or gifts that are not part of your family’s income and assets. See "A Note About Scholarships and Other Resources" (below) for more about how external financial resources affect financial aid.

Your EFC is determined early in the process of assessing your financial need and, unless your circumstances change, your EFC remains constant for your time at U-M. Financial aid is not applied against student and parent contributions.

While this number represents the amount of aid you are eligible to receive based on costs and your resources, the amount of aid that you will receive depends on aid funds available in any given year. See How Aid Is Awarded for more information about how the university distributes financial aid resources.

A note about applying for financial aid: When you apply for financial laid at U-M using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), we verify the information you submitted to the federal processor. We will sometimes ask you for additional information and review other university records during the application process. Your FAFSA record may be corrected based upon this information.


Students may seek private scholarships and get help from U-M schools and colleges to meet their college costs. They may also use other resources, such as ROTC scholarships, housing, and veterans' benefits. These are considered as financial resources when determining need-based aid eligibility. However, they will improve your overall aid package. In general, if you receive outside aid (including scholarships from U-M schools and colleges):

  • It is first applied against costs not accounted for in your financial aid package (i.e.: the gap between the Cost of Attendance and your EFC plus the aid offered). Outside aid will not reduce the amount a student and family are expected to pay.
  • Next, it reduces your loan or Work-Study, reducing funds you must borrow or earn by working.
  • Your grant aid is only reduced if all loan and Work-Study funds are replaced by scholarships or other resources.

Some important exceptions to this rule:

  • Some Office of Financial Aid scholarships are awarded based on student need. This may reduced your U-M Grant, but your total aid should remain the same or be higher.
  • If you own a 529 plan, such as a Michigan Education Trust contract; receive a post-9/11 VA benefit; or if you receive a state-funded scholarship such as the Michigan Competitive Scholarship (MCS), or the Detroit Compact Scholarship, Wade McCree Scholarship or Detroit Promise, it will be applied against your need-based grants before reducing your loan or Work-Study.
  • Receiving a Wade McCree, Detroit Compact, or Detroit Promise scholarship will reduce your eligibility for the university funded U-M Grant; the Jean Fairfax, Tappan, Presidential, HAIL, and Wolverine Pathways scholarships; and for the Michigan Competitive Scholarship.
  • M-PACT and U-M grants are reduced before loan and Work-Study.

Please note that some scholarships require full-time enrollment before they will disburse.