Sample Financial Need Calculation

Step 1: We start with the School Cost.

Step 2: We subtract the Suggested Parental Contribution (SPC). This is figured with the following calculation:

    a. Begin with Adjusted Gross Income, from most recent tax return.

    b. Subtract discounts for:
      •Federal taxes paid
      •State, local, property and sales taxes – estimated per state
      •FICA tax
      •Medical costs not covered by insurance that exceed five percent of total income
      •Employment allowance (for families without a non-working
       parent in the house)
      •Income protection allowance – (to adjust for basic living costs;
       based on family size)

    c. Add:
      •Income supplement (calculated at 2.5% of liquid assets
       [cash, checking, savings, and cash value of stocks] beyond the first $500,000
        •NOTE: Scholarship America does not factor in retirement funds, the value of the family residence, student earnings, Victim's Compensation Fund payments, untaxed income, or any 9/11 proceeds received, including life insurance.

    d. This calculation provides the Adjusted Available Income.

    e. Adjusted Available Income is applied to the U.S. Department of Education's Need Analysis tables to determine the Suggested Parental Contribution (SPC). If more than one family member is attending college, the SPC is divided by the number of students.

Step 3: We subtract any other scholarships or grants received; the final Financial Need total equals the School Cost, minus the SPC and any existing scholarship or grant aid.

Step 4: We determine the award amount by applying the percentage of need that the Fund can pay to the calculated Financial Need amount. (This percentage may change from year to year, based on our annual actuarial studies.)

Sample calculation:

School cost = $35,000

Family's Adjusted Gross Income = $65,916
Discounts subtracted = -$37,923
Income supplement added = +$0
Thus, Adjusted Available Income = $27,993

According to the Department of Education Need Tables, an adjusted income of $27,993 = a Suggested Parental Contribution of $6,396.

In this model, the student has received an additional $10,000 scholarship; to determine need, then, we take:

$35,000 (school cost) - $6,396 (SPC) - $10,000 (existing scholarship) to come up with a final need total of $18,604. The award amount, if the Fund is able to pay 90% of need, is $16,700; if the Fund can pay 70% of need, $13,000, and 50% of need would be $9,300.

Keeping Dreams Alive

Maureen"The Families of Freedom Scholarship sustains the memories of all those lost or suffering due to 9/11. It is so humbling that donors, who are seemingly strangers, can show such kindness and compassion. Scholarship America gives me strength and hope for a better future."

Register & Apply

The Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund benefits financially needy dependent children, spouses, and domestic partners of 9/11 victims. If you are eligible to receive assistance, you'll need to complete a one-time registration; after that, you will need to submit an application each year.

Award Calculator

Use the "Planning Ahead" Estimated Award Calculator to stimate what the family is expected to contribute to the student's college expenses, and the amount that may be awarded to you for the upcoming academic year.

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