Eligibility

Determining Eligibility for Undergraduate Students

Financial Aid assists students and families with the cost of a college education. How much financial aid students may receive at Rio Grande depends on different factors. The two factors that determine financial aid eligibility are merit and need.

Merit-based aid is determined based on special achievement or a specific talent. The most common type of merit-based aid are scholarships, which typically come from either outside sources or Rio Grande. All of Rio Grande’s merit scholarships are listed under the scholarships tab on our financial aid homepage.   

The majority of financial aid offered to Rio Grande students is need-based aid, which is generally determined by your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), year in school, enrollment status, and cost of attendance (COA).

Types of need-based financial aid include:

  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
  • Direct Subsidized Loan
  • Federal Perkins Loan
  • Federal Work-Study

The formula to determine financial need is:

Cost of Attendance (COA) – Expected Family Contribution (EFC) = Eligibility for need-based aid

Cost of Attendance (COA) is used to determine eligibility for financial aid and reflects the different estimated costs to attend Rio Grande. This budget is comprised of; direct costs (tuition and fees, on-campus room and board), indirect costs (transportation, personal miscellaneous expenses, books and supplies, and off-campus living). Click here to view Rio’s COA

The actual cost of attending Rio Grande may differ from the estimated COA used to determine eligibility for financial aid.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is the amount student’s and their family are expected to pay toward a college education. This is calculated using a formula established by the U.S. Congress based on the information the student and their family provide on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Eligibility for need-based aid is the result of COA minus EFC, and establishes the different Federal and State aid eligibility annually. It is important to note that while the goal is to meet the full demonstrated need of students, limited resources do not always allow this to happen. In cases where a student receives assistance in an amount less than the demonstrated financial need, families may need to pay more than the calculated EFC in order to cover the costs associated with enrollment at Rio Grande.