Understanding Financial Aid

Understanding Financial Aid Awarding

Helping you afford a Rider University education is important to us. The primary responsibility for the student’s education rests with the student and his/her family. There are additional sources that can help reduce the expenses of a private university education. The federal government, state government, and Rider University all provide various assistance vehicles to help families who demonstrate financial need.

You are reminded that the first step in determining eligibility for these programs is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) which must be received by the Federal Processor by March 1st for maximum eligibility. Counselors are available to meet with students if more detailed information is needed about any financial assistance program. We hope this information will enable you to better understand financial assistance.

How the Aid Decision is Made & How the Aid Award is Developed

  • The Cost of Attendance (COA or Budget) is determined by the institution. 
    This is an estimate of the educational and miscellaneous expenses you will incur during the nine-month academic year. These costs include the following: tuition, fees, room and board, transportation allowance, book allowance, personal needs allowance, and living allowance. The cost of attendance is different from the direct charges actually paid to the institution. The direct charges include: tuition, mandatory fees, and room and board (if residing in on-campus housing).

  • The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is calculated. 
    An estimate of the family’s financial strength and ability to contribute are measured by applying the official needs analysis formula to the data submitted on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The result is the “Expected Family Contribution.”

  • Financial Need is computed. 
    The Cost of Attendance less the Expected Family Contribution equals a student’s Demonstrated Financial Need (COA – EFC = NEED). The calculated need determines the student’s eligibility for financial assistance.

  • The Financial Aid Award is constructed.
    Eligibility for government grants is estimated, and if there is significant need, aid may be offered from University administered and University funded resources. The student is sent notification of the aid offer in the form of an award letter.

  • The financial aid award may include one of, or a combination of, any of the following assistance vehicles: Federal Pell Grant, state grant, university scholarship and/or grant, FSEOG, work-study, federal and university loans.


The following sections will describe the forms of assistance which might be included in the award. They will also indicate actions you must take to follow up on your award.

More Information About Financial Aid

To get the best financial aid deal, it is important be an informed consumer. The more you know about securing funding for your educational expenses, the better prepared you’ll be to make the right choices, academically and financially. Check out these links for some helpful financial aid resources.