A student’s Financial Need is calculated as the difference between the Cost of Attendance (COA), sometimes referred to as the student’s “budget”, and the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Once the student's financial need is established, the Financial Aid Office will determine a financial aid award. The objective of the Financial Aid Office is to meet the student's financial need with as many need-based funds (e.g. grants, Federal Work-Study, Federal Direct Subsidized Loan) available, in addition to other types of aid, to assist in meeting the student's budget. Most need-based aid is limited and awarded on a "first-come, first-served basis". Due to fund availability and/or the student's eligibility status; a student's financial aid award may not be sufficient to cover the student's tuition & fees or their full cost of attendance. Thus, students are strongly encouraged to apply early for financial aid and to also apply for other resources such as scholarships. By applying early and budgeting accordingly, this will help to reduce out-of-pocket expenses or the need to borrow additional loans.
In cases where the initial financial aid award offer is not sufficient to cover the cost of attendance, the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) can be replaced with non-need based loans such as the Parent (PLUS) Loan for Dependent Students or a private student loan. Student's are highly encouraged to borrow only what they need! Private student loans should be the last resort to assist a student with their cost of attendance.
Please refer to Types of Aid for additional information regarding the types of aid available, including the aforementioned loans.
How a student's financial need is determined
Cost of Attendance (COA)/Budget
- Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
- Resources (e.g. scholarships, stipends, waivers, etc.)
= FINANCIAL NEED