Financial NEED and GAP

Topic Progress:

Financial Need and Gap. What they are and why they matter.

Financial Need

Financial Need is just what it sounds like. It’s the amount of money that a school determines that you’ll need based on COA minus your EFC.

The school will then try to meet that financial need with offers of various types of financial aid that they have at their disposal; oftentimes they’re not able to cover all of a student’s financial NEED which is where you’ll hear the term GAP.


The “Gap” is the amount that’s left over after the school’s decided how much financial aid to offer you. If you end up choosing that school the Gap is what you’ll need to come up with now from other sources; savings, payment plan, scholarships you apply for, or private bank loans (if absolutely necessary).

The Gap’s a number that you should pay attention to in a big way because you need to decide if the cost of that school and educational experience is worth the price now, and the potential loan burden you might have after you graduate from a school or program.

Remember what we talked about earlier regarding COA? How the school doesn’t take into consideration the “Hidden” expenses that go along with attending that school?  Well, this is the time for you to consider those hidden costs and add them to the Gap because that’s what you’ll ACTUALLY be looking at and what you’ll need to come up with each year to attend that school. Just being realistic so you don’t get jammed up by going to a school that might not be a good financial fit for you right now.

But…. If you think the price is worth it to you then you should go for it; if you have any doubts, take a look at other schools to see if they might give you what you need at a more affordable price.