When I filled out my FAFSA application years ago for college, I honestly didn’t know how the whole process worked. I just knew that if I filled out the form I would  probably get money for college,  whether it was loans, grants or scholarships. I honestly completed the FAFSA application and just hoped for the most possible money to cover my college expenses. However, there is a process and method FAFSA uses in calculating financial aid.

EFC stands for expected family contribution. Plain and simple, it’s the amount of money the FAFSA expects your family to be able to pay for your college education. They gather this amount from the information you provide on your FAFSA application. To get your EFC amount, FAFSA takes into account income, family size, assets, number of college students per household and employment benefits. The lower your EFC amount, the greater your chances are of receiving more federal financial aid in the form of grants, scholarships and/or loans.

Furthermore, another way to help you receive more federal financial aid is by becoming an independent student. If you are a dependent student, you will have to give your parents financial information on the FAFSA. However, if you are on your own, it just may help you get more financially.

COA stands for cost of attendance. In a nutshell, it’s the cost of attending your college. That includes tuition, books and materials, room and board, travel, personal expenses, fees.FASFA determines how much financial aid you will receive by subtracting your expected family contribution from your cost of attendance.

For an easy visual, its:

COA – EFC= Financial Need.

If you are eager to figure out what you may receive financially for school, use a FAFSA calculator for an estimate. If you need further information or help, do not hesitate to contact one of our financial aid consultants.

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