Edmit logo

What is “Percent Need Met” in Financial Aid?

Featured Stories

Filter By Categories

The price of attending a college or university is substantial, especially if you have to pay for school in full - meaning the full ticket price. The good news is that the majority of schools do not expect the majority of their students to pay for college without some financial assistance.


Some or all of that financial assistance can come through the college itself. They might meet a percent of your need.


Calculating Your Financial Need

The first step towards getting financial support for college is to submit the FAFSA. It doesn’t matter how much money your family makes or has; you should always submit this application. The application calculates how much your family is able to contribute to the cost of college through a detailed formula. It then subtracts this number from the official Cost of Attendance (COA) at whatever school you have applied. The result is your financial need.


Learn more about the FAFSA and how it works. You can also explore Edmit’s website for other information on filling out the FAFSA for specific needs like having a noncustodial parent, retirement plans and more.


Covering Your Financial Need

Once your school receives your demonstrated financial need information from the FAFSA, they will determine how much money they will give you to cover that need.


The amount that the school covers is your met need. This is a percent of your total need, from 0% to 100%. Whatever the school doesn’t cover is your unmet need. For example, if your financial need is $20,000, but your school says they will only cover $10,000 of that amount, your percent need met is 50%.


Some schools have a standard percent of need that they will meet for all students. In fact, there are quite a number of schools in the U.S. that guarantee 100% coverage of financial need for all of their incoming students. Check out the list of all of these schools.


Most schools can’t promise 100% coverage to all of their students, but many still guarantee to cover the majority of that need. Check out the public schools and private schools that cover the most. You can also poke around Edmit’s site for these schools by U.S. region, like the southwest for example.


You will find that plenty of schools don’t guarantee any coverage of student financial need at all, but this doesn’t mean that they don’t offer any aid. These colleges and universities probably can’t promise a lot of coverage to every student because of cost restrictions. Giving out money to students is expensive! Schools might offer more scholarship money to students they want to highly encourage to attend. So, just because your school doesn’t promise everyone aid money doesn’t mean that you won’t get some.


Furthermore, if they are a Title IV school, they likely offer at least some forms of federal financial aid. Students with any financial need - as determined by the FAFSA - will automatically be eligible for some grant money through the federal government.


Defining Your Met Need

Say a school guarantees 100% of your need met. This means that all of your financial need, as determined by the FAFSA, will be covered. But how?


This is not just a signed check for the amount of your financial need. It is a plan, devised by your college and outlined for you in your award letter. It is a financial aid package that will include some combination of scholarships, grants, loans, and work study participation. The scholarships and grants are free money that you will not have to pay back. The loans must be paid back with interest. Work study is paid during the school year through money earned working a college job. Learn more about the forms of financial aid.


If your school does not meet all of your need - perhaps only offering 60% of need met, you will be responsible for figuring out how to fill that unmet need.

Sign up for updates

Popular Tags

Financial Aid and Scholarships* paying for college financial aid Cost of College* grants and scholarships FAFSA Student Loans* Saving for College* federal student loans college tuition cost of attendance 529 plan college financial planning financial aid award expected family contribution private student loans taxes room and board college savings plan on-campus housing college applications application fees merit-based financial aid private universities public universities student loan assistance college expenses federal financial aid merit scholarships Salary and Career* budgeting for college edmit hidden gems tuition discount financial need parent PLUS loan southern colleges CSS profile college costs edmit team education expenses living expenses western colleges financial aid appeal income midwestern colleges off-campus housing affordable college college majors loan forgiveness northeast colleges application fee waivers degree programs edmit scholarship institutional aid loan repayment new england colleges choosing a major net price prepaid tuition plans work-study SAT career choosing a college in-state tuition international students need-based financial aid need-blind colleges private scholarships qualified higher education expenses repayment plans tuition guarantee 401k ACT UGMA UTMA budget college ranking systems discretionary income education savings accounts fees free tuition full ride scholarship grants great lakes region colleges health insurance options investment ivy league schools meal plans mid-east region colleges need-aware colleges plains region colleges rocky mountain schools southeastern colleges southwestern colleges student loan debt tuition payment plans 568 presidents group Inversant MEFA applying to college asset protection allowance best price campus life college advisor college deposit college search college spending concurrent enrollment cost by region cost by state crowdfunding educational expenses esports fee waivers financial literacy fraternities and sororities full tuition gap year home equity loan income share agreements internships liberal arts degree line of credit medical expenses military benefits out-of-state students out-of-state tuition percent need met private college consultant retirement savings saving school-based scholarships small business standardized testing state aid state schools student bank accounts student organizations title IV schools travel expenses tuition decreases tuition increases tuition reciprocity undocumented students