COA, EFC, Need and Gap. Know these 1st!

Before we get into the details about what types of aid is available and how you apply for it, it’s important to understand a little bit about what you’re buying (education) and how the “powers that be” determine how much, and what kind of, financial aid you might qualify for.

That’s where COA, EFC, Need and Gap come in…

  • COA = Cost of Attendance.
    • Each school calculates its own COA
  • EFC = Expected Family Contribution.
    • Determined by the federal government per the FAFSA form you’ll submit.
  • Need = COA – EFC
    • The school’s COA minus your EFC.
  • Gap = Amount of $ you’ll have to come up. 
    • The balance of money you’ll be responsible for coming up with after the school decides how much financial aid to offer you. 

Those are obviously just the briefest of descriptions regarding what each of these terms mean. You need to check out the Topics below to get more detail which will most definitely help you as you successfully navigate your way through the financial aid process!

Doing the reading &/or work for each of the “Topics” listed in this “Lesson” (see Topics below) will help you to understand the decision making process behind how much financial aid you’ll be offered.