How Need-Based Aid is Determined

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) collects family demographic and financial information to calculate an index number all schools can use to determine a student’s federal financial “need.” Historically, this number was called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Beginning in 2024-2025, this calculation is being reformulated and will now be called the Student Aid Index (SAI).

The SAI takes the family size, income, and assets into account to determine if they have the ability to pay or finance a student’s education costs.  The SAI is used by schools to determine if a student has eligibility for state and institutional grants, work study, and subsidized student loans (for undergraduates). Schools do this by comparing the SAI to the student’s Cost of Attendance budget.

The student’s Cost of Attendance budget is an estimate of what the annual expenses will be while attending Colorado School of Mines.  The budget includes:

  • Direct educational expenses (tuition and mandatory fees)
  • Indirect educational expenses (books, supplies, housing, food, transportation, and personal expenses)

The SAI is subtracted from the budget to determine the student’s financial “need.”  The maximum amount of need-based financial aid that you may be eligible for is determined by a simple formula:

 Student’s Cost of Attendance (budget)
– Student Aid Index (SAI)

= Financial Need

Types of need-based aid are grants, scholarships (state, institutional, and outside), federal or Colorado work study and subsidized student loans. Mines may or may not be able to fulfill this need depending on the extent of the documented need and the availability of funds.  Mines will also offer non-need-based funds, such as unsubsidized student loans and parent loans, to help provide funding options to our families.

The FAFSA must be filed each year in order to receive financial assistance other than scholarships.  Your financial need may increase or decrease significantly each year depending on the family’s financial situation.

Special Circumstance/Professional Judgment

If your financial situation has changed since you filed the FAFSA, please visit our Professional Judgement page or contact the Financial Aid Office.

Contact Info

Mailing address:
Colorado School of Mines
Financial Aid Office
1301 19th Street
Golden, CO 80401

Office Location:
Ben Parker Student Center, E160
1200 16th St
Golden, CO 80401 

Summer Walk-In Hours:
Monday through Friday
9am - 4pm

Toll-free: 1-888-446-9489

For scholarship questions, email

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Students Right to Know

More information:

For billing issues contact: Bursar's Office 303-273-3158

For health insurance waivers contact: Student Health Insurance 303-273-3388

For College Opportunity Fund contact: Registrar's Office 303-273-3200

For information on Veteran Affairs contact: Registrar's Office 303-273-3200