Understanding the relationship between Cost of Attendance and EFC – Applying for Financial Aid

In previous blogs, we covered completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and how it results with the Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

We also covered the components of the Cost of Attendance (COA). They include the following estimated values to derive a total COA.

  • Tuition & Fees Cost
  • Books & Supplies Cost
  • Room & Board Cost
  • Travel Cost
  • Personal Cost

Now, lets talk about the relationship of these 2 items (COA & EFC). Many Federal and State Governments use the difference of the COA and EFC to determine how much need a student may have to award them Federal and State grants. (note: check with your state about gift aid.)

Need is derived by subtracting COA by the EFC. For example,

$30000 COA – $0.00 EFC = $30000 Need

This student has a high level of Need and may qualify for a higher level of Federal and State need based gift aid. Gift Aid would be Grants, Scholarships and funds you do not have to pay back.


$30000 COA – $30000 EFC = $0 Need

This student has a low level of Need and more than likely will not qualify for Federal and State need based gift aid.

The second student may not qualify for Federal and State need based gift aid.

However,  both of the students qualify for low interest Federal Direct Loans.It is important that you understand that not getting need based gift aid does not mean you cannot go to a trade school, college or university. So, don’t get discouraged. You can accomplish your dreams! We are here to help.

Next time, we will begin to discuss the different kinds of financial aid categories and what they mean to you.

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Till the next blog, be safe and continue to follow through on thee steps on our previous published blogs to learn more.

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