You are here: American University Financial Aid Need-Based Aid

What is need-based aid?

Awards go to students with demonstrated financial need. AU determines your need based on information you provide on both the required financial aid applications, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the CSS Profile. Need is calculated as the difference between AU's Cost of Attendance (COA) and your composite Expected Family Contribution (EFC) based on the information you provide on the FAFSA and CSS Profile.


COA (tuition, fees, room, board, books, transportation, and personal expenses)


EFC (primarily determined by income, number of family members in college, family size, and assets)


Need-Based Aid: Grants

American University Grant

Grants are awarded to full-time admitted students who demonstrate financial need and may be offered along with an AU scholarship; they do not require repayment.

Need-Based Aid: Federal Grants

Federal Pell Grant

Awarded to students who demonstrate exceptional financial need and meet specific eligibility criteria, these grants range from $600 to $5815 per year.

Federal Supplementary Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

Offered to students who demonstrate exceptional financial need, the FSEOG award is determined by need and availability of funds.

Need-Based Aid: Federal Local Program

Federal Subsidized Direct Loan

Students in a degree program (minimum 6 credits per semester) and demonstrating financial need are eligible; subsidized loans do not accrue interest while the student is enrolled at least half-time (6 credits).

Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan

Students in a degree program (minimum 6 credits per semester) are eligible for this interest-bearing loan regardless of financial need.

Federal Parent Plus Loan (PLUS)

This interest-bearing loan is available to parents of dependent undergraduate students. Repayment may be deferred for up to four years; however, interest will accrue.