Paying for College

Using Our Student Aid Index (SAI) Calculator

Calculate your SAI by entering your state of residence, the number of people in your household, information about the finances of the student's parents, and financial information for the student.
Person using MEFA's SAI Calculator

In our continued efforts to help families make an informed plan to pay for college costs, MEFA provides a Student Aid Index (SAI) Calculator. The SAI Calculator allows you to type in information about your family's finances and receive an estimate of your SAI. The SAI is key to the financial aid process, as it's intended to represent your family's financial strength in regards to paying for college. It's simply an estimate, and doesn't actually represent what your family will pay for college. But it's used by financial aid offices to determine the amount of financial aid for which you are eligible. You can learn more about that process here.

Our SAI Calculator is anonymous, so you won't actually type in any identifying information like your name or address. And you can use it over and over, in case you anticipate changes in your financial information in the months or years to come. To begin, go to You'll see this:

SAI Calculator

Type in your state of residence and the number of people in your household.

Next you'll fill in information about the finances of the student's parents. The image on the right showcases the calculated parent contribution toward the SAI. And the different colors of green and gray distinguish the amount of the SAI calculated from income and the amount calculated from assets. You can see here that the SAI is heavily driven by income rather than assets.

SAI Calculator

Next you'll fill in financial information for the student.

SAI Calculator

And finally, the calculator will present you with your SAI.

SAI Calculator

You can play around with the calculator over and over, especially if you're considering a job change or a significant decrease in your assets. And remember, if you don't yet have a child going to college, your information might be different once it's time to send someone to campus. But this tool can give you an idea of what colleges might expect you to contribute toward college costs when that time comes. If you have questions about the calculator, or the financial aid process in general, we're happy to help. Call us at (800) 449-MEFA (6332) or email us at

Learn more about the SAI