The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) includes two simplified financial aid formulas in addition to the full federal need analysis methodology, the Simplified Needs Test and Automatic Zero EFC. Each of these formulas combines an income threshold with a set of other eligibility criteria. Auto-Zero EFC sets the expected family contribution (EFC) to zero in certain circumstances. This qualifies the applicant for the maximum Federal Pell Grant.

Dependent students are eligible for an automatic zero EFC if the annual income of the student’s parents is less than or equal to $27,000 (2021-2022) and they satisfy the same criteria that are required for the simplified needs test.

Independent students with dependents other than a spouse are eligible for an automatic zero EFC if the annual income of the independent student and the independent student’s spouse (if married) is less than or equal to $27,000 (2021-2022) and they satisfy the same criteria that are required for the simplified needs test.

Independent students without dependents other that a spouse are not eligible for an automatic zero EFC.