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MU Home » Financial Aid

Determining Need

The primary responsibility of financing an undergraduate college education rests with students and their parents. For graduate students, the responsibility rests with students and, if applicable, their spouses. Eligibility for financial aid is based on the following formula:

Total Cost
- Expected Family Contribution (result of completing the FAFSA)
- Scholarships and/or other resources (includes non-university awards)

= Need for Financial Aid

The Total Cost, which is determined each year by the Director of Financial Aid, represents the estimated total cost of attending the university for one year. Total Cost includes direct charges - such as tuition, room, meal plan, and fees - as well as indirect costs like books and supplies, living expenses, and travel money.

The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is calculated using federal guidelines and is based on information submitted on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and additional documents submitted to Methodist University. For dependent students, the EFC has a parent and a student component. The Parents' and Student's contributions are based on income and assets, which include cash, checking, savings, money market accounts, investments and real estate holdings other than their primary residence; their untaxed income; and their business equity.

Two important things to note:

The total amount of financial aid students receive, including outside resources such as scholarships, cannot exceed their cost of attending the university.

It is possible for students' EFC to be greater than their cost of attending the university. In this case, while they do not demonstrate eligibility for need-based financial aid, they are eligible for unsubsidized federal Direct Loan, the Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan, and alternative loans.

Self-supporting Independent Undergraduate Students

The federal financial aid program defines some applicants as self-supporting independent students. Students are considered independent for federal aid purposes when they meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • student is 24 years of age or older
  • student is or will be enrolled in a masters or Doctoral degree program at the beginning of the academic year
  • student is married on the day the FAFSA is filed
  • student is a parent that provides more than half support for the dependent
  • student has dependents other than a spouse who lives with them and the student provides more than half the support
  • both parents are deceased
  • student is currently serving on active duty U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training
  • student is a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces
  • student is a foster child after age 13
  • student is an emancipated minor
  • student is homeless or at risk of homelessness as determined by the director of a HUD approved homeless shelter, transitional program, or high school liaison

Undergraduate students cannot declare themselves independent of their parents due to family disagreement, living arrangements, parents' unwillingness to contribute to the costs of their education, or because the parent(s) no longer claim the student as a dependent on their tax return.

Reevaluation of Expected Family Contribution

The Office of Financial Aid wants to be responsive to unique family situations, within the limits of federal regulations and university policies. We will consider an Appeal for Reconsideration when:

  • A family experiences a change in their financial situation, such as death of a parent or unavoidable unemployment; or
  • A family has an extenuating circumstance or hardship that was not addressed in the initial review.

Appeal for Reconsideration

If you have circumstances you believe should be evaluated by our Director of Financial Aid, please review the application to determine if you are eligible to file an appeal using the appropriate Professional Judgment form: