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Undergraduate Financial Aid

Eligibility & Policies

Calculated Need & Expected Family Contribution

The information you report on the CSS PROFILE and FAFSA is used to estimate your family's financial strength and your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is an estimate of the amount you and your family are expected to contribute to your annual educational expenses. Those funds may come from current income, savings and/or family borrowing.

Your financial need is calculated by subtracting your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) from your total cost of attendance.

Cost of Attendance – EFC = Financial Need

The total amount of your need-based aid cannot exceed your financial need.

Eligibility for DU Need-Based Scholarships

Eligibility for DU need-based scholarships is determined with information from the CSS PROFILE and CSS Institutional Methodology (IM) calculations, with some standard DU modifications. These calculations have proven to give a fair and reasonable assessment of a family's financial strength.

Family income is only one of several factors involved. Other important factors include the number of household members, the number of siblings (or certain other household members) attending college as undergraduates, and the financial assets of both students and parents. The DU calculation of total income usually excludes certain losses and includes certain types of tax-deferred income.

The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) consists of:

  • a parental contribution, calculated from income and assets
  • 25% of the student's accumulated savings and other assets
  • a minimum contribution from student earnings, usually from summer employment (new dependent students = $1,800; current dependent students = $2,400; independent students = $3,300)

Use our Net Price Calculator to help you estimate how much your family will be expected to pay.

Initial calculations may be revised, based on actual tax return information. Standard adjustments to Institutional Methodology (IM) formulas, made according to University policy, may also affect your calculated financial need.

Please note: If you are a student majoring in music or enrolled in the Colorado Women's College or University College, and therefore do not need to submit the CSS PROFILE, this information is not applicable to you. Please contact your admission counselor to learn about eligibility requirements for DU aid.

Eligibility for Federal Aid

Eligibility for federal financial aid is determined with the information from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and federally legislated formulas. There is no minimum student contribution (EFC) in the federal calculation.

Once your FAFSA is complete and has been processed by the Department of Education, you will receive your Student Aid Report (SAR). Your federal EFC will be displayed in the upper right-hand corner of your SAR, which is used to calculate your eligibility for federal grants.

Eligibility for Renewal of Aid

If your financial need has not changed substantially and you meet all other eligibility criteria, you can expect your aid to be renewed in subsequent years.

However, changes in your family's financial circumstances, such as income or the number of household members attending college, will affect your need and eligibility for need-based aid. Since the number of children in college substantially reduces the EFC for each child, changes in this number will usually affect the amount of financial aid awarded significantly.

The type and amount of future aid will depend on your calculated financial need and available funds.

Learn more about managing college costs:

Whatever the amount of your family's total costs, it's critical that you and your family plan for this expense before you arrive on campus. For more information, review your options to help cover your unmet cost.