Financial Aid 101

  • What Is Financial Aid?

    Financial aid is any funds provided to students and their families to help pay for the cost of college. A college education is an investment in the future, and various forms of financial aid are available to help pay for it.

    Cost of Attendance (COA)

    The Cost of Attendance is an estimate of a student’s total education-related expenses for an enrollment period at a specific college. The COA generally includes tuition and fees, room and board, books, supplies, transportation costs and other school-related expenses.

    Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

    The Expected Family Contribution is the federal government’s measure of a family’s financial strength used to determine the types and amounts of financial aid. The EFC is not a bill, nor does it indicate the amount owed to the college of your choice.

    Categories of Financial Aid

    • Need-based aid is awarded on the basis of a student’s financial need.
    • Non-need-based aid is awarded on the basis of a student’s academic or athletic achievements, service to a local community, unique skills or special talents

    Types of Financial Aid

    • Scholarships – Financial assistance usually based on merit or ability which typically does not have to be repaid.  
    • Grants – Need-based aid that typically does not have to be repaid (often referred to as gift aid).  
    • Work-Study – Jobs available to students as a way to earn money toward their educational expenses.  Work-study jobs are awarded as part of your financial aid package.
    • Loans – Federal and private loans available to students and parents to help pay for educational expenses.