Financial aid is typically awarded based on need. In order to be considered for aid, you have to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for each year that your student attends college. The FAFSA uses a formula based on family income and other factors to calculate your Student Aid Index (SAI), also called your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Your SAI is then subtracted from the cost of attendance for a specific school to determine the amount of aid for which your student may be eligible. Aid will typically be awarded as a combination of loans, grants, and (in some cases) work-study programs. Net Price Calculators A net price calculator is available on every college website. It can provide an estimate of howmuch grant aid your child is likely to receive at that school, based on his or her academic profile and your family’s financial information— allowing you to find out what your “net price” might be before your child even applies. Grants and Scholarships Grants and scholarships can be need-based or merit-based, and can be awarded based on a variety of factors— ranging from academic or athletic achievement to religious affiliation or ethnic background. Colleges are generally the largest source of grants and scholarships, but many other organizations offer them as well — religious organizations, community groups, and corporations, to name a few. Some organizations offer scholarships as a means to attract students to a specific field of study or a particular degree.