Financial need is generally determined by what a family can reasonably be expected to pay compared to the cost of the post-secondary institution. Awards are based on a percentage of calculated financial need, not a percentage of the total school or college expense. Because of this, award amounts differ from student to student.
In order to provide the most help possible, Scholarship America® applies a far more generous formula to determine the financial need for students eligible for the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund® than the formula used by most college financial aid offices.
For example, unlike the federal government, the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund does not consider student earnings or the first $500,000 in liquid assets as part of the needs assessment. The fund also does not consider awards made to victims’ families from the 9/11 Victim Compensation Funds. (The average award from the Victim Compensation fund was approximately $2 million.)
Even students who take advantage of the generous scholarships that New York State legislation provides to students attending New York schools are encouraged to apply for the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund. Depending on the cost of the college they choose to attend, these students may still show need for additional financial assistance. (The Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund can offer these students awards for, travel, fees and other costs not covered by the New York State scholarships. Students from New York who do not attend in-stat schools are, of course, eligible for general Families of Freedom awards.)
Please visit the Financial Need Formula page for a detailed summary of our modifications to the standard formula and a typical financial need calculation. Financial need is determined when a student has selected a college and is preparing to enroll.