Free Financial Aid Calculator for 2023-24
How To Use This Calculator
Introduction To Need-Based Aid
- Student Income
- Student Assets
- Parent Income
- Parent Assets
- Number of Students in School
Understanding the Five Federal Financial Aid Programs Video
- Pell Grant
- Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants
- Federal Direct Student Loan
- Federal Plus Loan
Who Is Your Parent – Help for Divorced and Blended Families
Calculator Input and Output Descriptions
Number of Parents: Enter 2 if married and in the same household. Enter 1 if separated, divorced or a single-parent and the student’s other parent is not in the same home. Enter 2 if both parents are in the same home (it doesn’t matter if you’re married, separated, divorced or never married). If you are remarried enter 2 and add in the new spouses income and assets.
Age Oldest Parent: Enter the age of the oldest parent. If you entered 1 for number of parents, use the age of that parent.
Number of College Students: Enter the number of college students in your household. Do not include parents that are returning to school. Do not include students that are in graduate school, older than 24, or otherwise independent.
Total People in Household: This would include parents and children, including college students. If you also have any other dependents such as grandparents, adult children, etc. they will also be included.
State of Residence: The state you currently live in.
Adjusted Gross Income (AGI): This is the adjusted gross income that is reported on your taxes. It can be found at the bottom of the first page of your 1040 tax return. You can estimate it by adding all of your taxable income.
Retirement Contributions: Enter your total contributions to retirement plans that reduce your taxable income. Typically these contributions are to retirement plans provided at work that allow pretax contributions (401(k), 403B, 457, SEP, simple etc.). Also include tax-deductible contributions to traditional IRAs. Please note this is only contributions for this tax year, it is not the value or balance in these accounts.
Child Support: Enter the amount of untaxed child-support that you receive as a positive number. If you’re paying child support and paying taxes on it as well, enter the annual amount as a negative number.
Tax-Free Income: Enter any other tax-free income. Do not include any Social Security for you or for your children. (They already show up on your taxes, and any amount that is not taxed is not included). Typical tax-free income would include income from tax-free investments like municipal bonds, housing allowances, and disability income.
Parent 1 Income from Work: Enter the amount that parent one earn as wages as well as income from self-employment. Typically any income that is subject to social security taxes or self-employment taxes.
Parent 2 Income from Work: Enter the amount that parent two earn as wages as well as income from self-employment. Typically any income that is subject to social security taxes or self-employment taxes.
Income Tax Paid: Enter the amount of income taxes paid. This can be found on your 1040 under the line total tax. Note: This is not your refund or payment submitted with your taxes, this is the total federal income taxes that you paid for the year.
Bank Accounts: Enter the total amount that parents have in the bank. Include checking, savings, CDs and any other deposits that are not in a retirement plan. Do not include retirement plans or IRAs. Bank accounts in the student’s name will go in the student assets category.
Investments: Enter the total value of parents investments. Typical investments would include stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and stock options. Do not include investments that are inside a retirement plan, IRA, annuity or life insurance. Also include the value of exotic investments if you have them. Exotic investments would include REITs, oil and gas partnerships, stock options, stock derivatives, gold, commodities, futures contracts etc.
Real Estate: Enter the net value of all real estate that you own other than your primary residence. Do not include the value of your primary residence or any debt associated with your primary residence.
Trust: Enter the value of any trust where the parents are the owner or beneficiary. Assets in a revocable trust should be treated as owned by the trust owners and entered in the categories above.
College Plans: Enter the total value of all college savings plans including 529s and Coverdells. Include the value of all plans owned by the parents for any of the children as well as any college plan owned directly by the student. For example: If you have a 529 for each of your three kids they all are considered a parent asset and their total value would be included here.
Business / Farm: Enter the total net worth of your business or farm. Do not include family farms that parents live on and operate.
Other Assets: Enter any additional assets that would be assessed by financial aid. Most people will leave this at zero.
Student Income: Enter the students total income based on their taxes or other sources if the student was not required to file taxes. Note that this calculator will be less accurate for students earning more than $12,000 per year.
Student Assets: Enter the total value of all assets in the student’s name. This would include bank accounts, as well as investments such as stocks and mutual funds. Do not include 529’s that are owned by the student they belong in parent assets. Also include UTMA and UGMA accounts. (Uniform Transfer to Minors Act and Uniform Gifts to Minors Act)
Cost of Attendance: This is the total cost of attendance for one year at the college you’re planning to attend. Cost of attendance includes tuition and fees, room and board, books, personal expenses, and travel. Cost of attendance information for the colleges in each state is available here.
Cost of Attendance: This is the cost of attendance of the school for one year. You entered it above.
Expected Family Contribution (EFC): This is your expected family contribution. EFC is calculated based on your financial information.
Estimated Financial Need: This is an estimate of the amount of need-based financial aid that you are eligible for. Some families will receive enough aid to cover the entire need, while others will not. For example, let’s say that we have two families that both need $10,000. One family may receive the full $10,000 while the other may only receive $5,000.