What determines my eligibility for financial aid?

Three components are used to determine your financial need/eligibility for financial aid: Cost of Attendance, Expected Family Contribution (EFC), and Enrollment Status.

Each college or university in the U.S. develops its own Cost of Attendance Budget(s) with consideration for tuition, fees, books and supplies, room and board, transportation, dependent care expenses, loan origination fees, and personal allowance (or miscellaneous expenses). Your cost of attendance budget will depend on where your permanent address is (state of residency), your housing plans while in school, the number of dependents you have (if any), and your enrollment status (the number of credits you enroll in each term.) The College of Western Idaho uses standardized amounts or calculations for each of these categories and customizes your budget according to your situation.

Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is computed by the U.S. Department of Education's processing center using the information you provided on your FAFSA application. Your EFC will be provided to you along with a confirmation number when you complete your FAFSA.

PLEASE NOTE: Approximately 50% of all CWI students are selected for "Verification" - a process in which CWI is required to confirm the answers you provide on your FAFSA that were used to calculated your EFC. CWI will request additional documentation from students selected and make any corrections necessary.

Also, your EFC does NOT necessarily indicate your actual out-of-pocket expenses for college. Your EFC is used by CWI to determine your eligibility for need-based grants, scholarships, and student loans. Specifically, your EFC is subtracted from your personalized Cost of Attendance budget to determine your original Financial Need and awards are made based on your financial need.

If your Cost of Attendance (COA)= $8,568

and your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) = $1,000

your Financial Need = $7,568

From these elements, CWI will first determine your eligibility for a Federal Pell Grant and then attempt to meet the remaining unmet need with other funds as available.

You will receive notification of your Cost of Attendance Budget, your EFC, your Financial Need, and the financial aid funds you are eligible for in an award notification from CWI Financial Aid after completing your FAFSA and all application requirements.

Eligibility for certain awards and award amounts are determined, in part, by your Enrollment Status. Awards are adjusted or pro-rated according to the program rules for each award. Student financial aid recipients should maintain a close relationship with their academic advisor and register for classes early in order to allow CWI adequate time to make quarterly adjustments if necessary. For more information regarding enrollment status requirements for each award program, please contact CWI One Stop Student Services.