Eligibility for most financial aid programs is determined on the basis of financial need and on several other factors. Basically, to receive aid from most programs, you must meet the following criteria:
- You must demonstrate financial need (not a criterion for some scholarships and some loans)
Student Financial Aid Services (SFAS) constructs yearly cost-of-attendance (COA) budgets that include tuition, fees, room and board (or living expenses), books, supplies, transportation, and miscellaneous expenses. The COA varies according to enrollment level and state residency. As a financial aid applicant, you and your family have primary responsibility for contributing to the total cost of your education. The information that you and your family report on the FAFSA is used in a formula established by US Congress to determine your expected family contribution (EFC).
Financial aid attempts to fill the gap between your EFC and the yearly COA. The difference between the EFC and the COA is defined as financial need. If you're eligible, you may be awarded financial aid through a combination of grants and scholarships (which you won't have to repay), loans (which you will have to repay), and work-study (part-time employment on or off campus). These combinations of awards are referred to as financial aid packages. Keep in mind that, because of the variation of the COA, financial aid packages will vary as well.
Total aid—including scholarships, grants, federal work-study, loans, and other educational resources (such as tuition remission and veteran's benefits)—cannot exceed the total COA, whether the student aid was administered through SFAS or some other source. In cases where a student receives funds from certain federal student-aid programs, total financial aid may not exceed his or her demonstrated financial need.
- You must possess a high-school diploma or equivalent (not a criterion for some scholarships, New Jersey Tuition Aid Grant, and New Jersey Educational Opportunity Fund)
- You must be matriculated and enrolled in an academic program that is approved by the federal government.
Matriculated undergraduate students are those who have applied to and been accepted by the college and are enrolled in a Bachelor's Program. Matriculated graduate students are students who have applied to and been accepted by the college and are enrolled in a Master's Program. A non-matriculated graduate student is a student who has not applied for and been accepted into a Master's Program.
To determine if you are considered matriculated, contact Admissions.
- You must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen (not a criterion for all scholarships or institutional work-study)
- You must have a valid Social Security number.
To apply for a Social Security number, contact the U.S. Social Security Administration.
- You must be registered with the Selective Service (if applicable)
- You must be maintaining Satisfactory Satisfactory Academic Progress.