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Institutional Methodology (IM)

Ensure that financial aid is awarded fairly

Each year colleges and universities deliver opportunity to thousands of qualified students by awarding billions of their own financial aid dollars. How do these institutions ensure limited financial aid funds are targeted to the most deserving students? With Institutional Methodology (IM), the College Board's robust need analysis system.

Institutional Methodology is central to our suite of powerful financial aid solutions. Nearly 400 colleges, universities, professional schools, and scholarship programs use IM to make critical aid decisions.  

Learn why IM is important to colleges and universities nationwide

Developed and maintained in partnership with practicing financial aid professionals and economists, IM provides a comprehensive evaluation of a family's ability to pay for the cost of higher education.  For decades, the College Board has been a leader and innovator in financial aid. 

Principles of Institutional Methodology include:

  • Equitable—families with similar financial resources are asked to make similar contributions to postsecondary education
  • Economically sound—calculations are developed with strong economic discipline, research and data based on the current economic experiences of families.
  • Comprehensive—Both income and assets contribute to the family’s financial strength.

By using IM, you can be assured that your financial aid awards are fair, valid, and defensible to families.