There is no hard set income limit for receiving federal financial aid. A student must have financial need to receive aid. Financial need is determined by the cost of attendance to the school minus the expected family contribution.
The EFC is the amount that the family should be able to pay towards college. This figure is determined with a formula devised by Congress. Income and assets, as well as the number of family members and how many of them are currently attending college, are used in the formula. If the COA is larger than the EFC, aid is usually awarded. However, this does not mean that the entire difference is given.