The needs analysis formula is the starting point for determining eligibility for financial aid. Each component of the formula is made up of several factors:

Cost of Attendance -(Minus) EFC =(Equals) Financial Need
  • Tuition & Fees
  • Room & Board
  • Books & Supplies
  • Misc. Expenses
  • Travel
  • Parent Contribution
  • Student Contribution from Assets
  • Student Contribution from Summer Earnings
  • Student Loans
  • Work-Study
  • Federal or State Grants
  • University Scholarship

We start by setting a budget, or Cost of Attendance, for the academic year. Next, we calculate the family's share of college costs called the Expected Family Contribution, or EFC for short. Upon subtracting the EFC from the budget, we are able to determine the student's Financial Need. Brown's financial aid award will be equal to your Financial Need.

It is important that you understand how we arrive at the EFC, as Brown University awards financial aid to supplement, not to replace, your family's ability to pay. The Expected Family Contribution is calculated using two standard methodologies for needs analysis: Federal Methodology and Institutional Methodology.

  • Federal Methodology (FM) - This formula is used to determine eligibility for all federal aid, including Pell Grants, Stafford Loans, Perkins Loans, Work-study, and most state scholarship aid. The EFC is determined from the data provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and verified using data from federal tax returns and other supplemental documents. FM excludes some forms of income and expenses, and eliminates some assets from consideration, when calculating the EFC. This EFC will appear on the Student Aid Report (SAR) that you receive after submitting the FAFSA. However, this EFC may not be the same EFC you see on your financial aid award letter. Please read the Institutional Methodology description below for more details.


  • Institutional Methodology (IM) - Most colleges and universities awarding institutional s