Understanding Financial Need

Expected Family Contribution (EFC) – EFC is the amount of out-of-pocket expense that you [and your parent(s)] are expected to provide toward your educational costs, either from income, savings, or a non-need based loan. The EFC is calculated from the information you [and your parent(s)] report on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the Texas Application for State Financial Aid (TASFA). The calculation of the EFC is established by law and is used to measure a family’s financial strength on the basis of the family’s income, assets, family size, and number of family members in post-secondary education. It is used to determine eligibility for most student aid programs.

Cost of Attendance (COA) – The cost of attendance (COA) is an estimate of what it costs the typical student to attend the university. It includes tuition and fees, room and board, and allowances for books, supplies, transportation, loan fees, and personal expenses.
Financial Need – Financial need is the basis for awarding most student aid programs. Financial need is determined by the following equation:
Cost of Attendance (COA)
– Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
= Financial Need

Your eligibility for need-based aid is determined by subtracting other outside financial assistance (scholarships) from the calculated financial need.


Financial Need
– Other outside Financial Assistance
Eligibility for need-based aid

(grants, subsidized student loans and work study)