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 idea that the primary responsibility for paying college costs rests with the student and family. Your aid eligibility depends on your family’s financial circumstances and resources.

When you complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the federal government uses information you supply to assess your family’s financial situation and calculate an expected family contribution, or EFC, for you. Your EFC is an estimate of how much a student and parents might be expected to contribute toward the education costs. It is not the amount you owe to a college or university.

More about Your Expected Family Contribution

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

  • Parent Contribution: an estimate 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. It is based on both parents' income and assets (cash, checking, savings, money market accounts, investments, real estate holdings and business equity).
  • 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.

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: 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. (This is a fee-based application; if you have an issue paying this fee and are not offered a waiver by the College Board, contact our office before completing it.) Other financial aid application documents may also be required as applications are reviewed.

The U-M Office of Financial Aid uses information from the PROFILE to refine the EFC when determining eligibility for university-funded grants, gift aid which is not repaid. Information from both parents, regardless of marital status, is used when considering grant eligibility.

Once your EFC is 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, plus a modest allowance for personal/miscellaneous expenses.  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 "Financial Resources That May Affect Eligibility" (below) for more about how external financial resources affect financial aid.

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 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.


Students may seek scholarships from private groups, U-M schools and colleges and other sources at any time. Federal regulations and University policies call for scholarships from external sources to be counted as financial resources when calculating a student’s need-based aid eligibility.

In most cases, these resources will improve your aid package. In general, they are applied first against costs 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, they are used to reduce loan or Work-Study, reducing how much you need to borrow or earn by working. Only after all loan and Work-Study awards are replaced will your grant award be reduced.

Some important exceptions to this rule:

  • Some scholarships and awards administered by the Office of Financial Aid are based on need. If you receive one of these, you will receive a letter from our office. Although this may reduce your University of Michigan Grant, your total aid award should remain the same or increase.  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), or the Detroit Compact Scholarship, Wade McCree Scholarship or Detroit Promise, they will be applied against your need-based grant awards before reducing your need-based loan or Work-Study awards.
  • In addition, receiving a Wade McCree, Detroit Compact or Detroit Promise scholarship reduces your eligibility for the University-funded  Jean Fairfax, Presidential, Tappan, HAIL and Michigan Experience scholarships, as well as the Michigan Competitive Scholarship.
  • M-PACT and Provost Awards (U-M grants for our neediest students) are reduced before loan and Work-Study Awards.

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