Financial Aid Calculator

Financial aid eligibility is based on a student's financial need, which is the difference between the college's Cost of Attendance (COA) and the student's Student Aid Index (SAI).

  • The COA is based on tuition, fees, room, board, books, supplies, equipment, transportation to/from college and miscellaneous expenses.
  • The SAI is based on the student and parent income and assets, family size, and other demographic factors.

This federal SAI is calculated based on the information reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Most colleges use the federal SAI for awarding their own financial aid funds in addition to government aid. Fewer than 200 colleges use a supplemental form called the CSS PROFILE to calculate an institutional version of this measure to award aid granted by the school itself.

This calculator lets you estimate your child's SAI before you complete the FAFSA by answering a subset of the questions on the FAFSA. In most cases, a student with a lower SAI or higher COA will qualify for more financial aid. You can use the calculator to evaluate the impact of changes in income and assets on eligibility for need-based financial aid.

This calculator estimates SAI using the rules in place for the 2024-2025 school year, using a simplified version of the federal SAI formula.


Are you married?
What is your annual adjusted gross income (AGI)?
What is your spouse's annual AGI?
What is your child's annual AGI?
How much do you have in non-retirement bank and investment accounts (excluding 529 plans and Coverdell ESAs)?
How much does your child have in non-retirement bank and investment accounts (including UGMA/UTMA and trusts, but excluding 529 plans and Coverdell ESAs)?
How much do you, your spouse, and your child have in 529 plans and Coverdell ESAs?
How many members will you have in your household when your child enrolled in college (including that child)?

FAQs about this calculator

  • What is the Student Aid Index?

    The Student Aid Index (SAI) is a measure of your family’s financial strength that determines how much financial aid you will receive.

  • When is the Student Aid Index determined?

    Your Student Aid Index (SAI) is determined when you file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

  • What determines your Student Aid Index?

    Your Student Aid Index is based on your family’s total income (including both taxed and untaxed income), assets and dependency status (dependent student or independent student). Untaxed income can include retirement plan contributions and tax-free benefits such as Social Security disability and retirement benefit payments and unemployment benefits. Other factors include your family size and state of residence.

  • How is Financial Need calculated?

    Financial need is calculated by subtracting the amount of your Student Aid Index from your college’s Cost of Attendance.

  • What does the Student Aid Index impact?

    Student Aid Index will affect your eligibility for need-based financial aid as well as the amount of financial aid you receive. This includes grants, scholarships, federal loans and student employment (e.g., Federal Work-Study).

  • What is untaxed income?

    Untaxed income is any income received that isn’t reported as part of adjusted gross income (AGI) on your federal tax return. This can include workers’ compensation or disability benefits.

  • What counts as student assets?

    Student assets include custodial bank and brokerage accounts, such as UTMA and UGMA accounts. Custodial 529 plan accounts are reported as a parent asset on the FAFSA.

  • What counts as parent assets?

    Parent assets include bank and brokerage accounts, and college savings plans. Parent assets do not include qualified retirement plan accounts, such as 401(k), 403(b), IRA, SEP, SIMPLE and Keogh plans, the net worth of your family home and any small businesses owned and controlled by the family.