Making Sense of Financial Aid
How is Cost of Attendance (COA) calculated?
The cost of attendance is the total cost to attend that institution. The total cost of attendance includes:
- Tuition and Fees
- Room and Board
- Cost of Computer
- Misc Expenses
Every college is required to have a Net Price Calculator (NPC) on its website. The Net Price Calculator provides an early approximation of what a new first- year undergraduate student can expect to pay to attend an institution that year.
Where do I begin?
Start by creating a FAFSA ID well before filing. Ensure your personal information is correct with the Social Security Administration. Correct any errors with the Social Security Administration before requesting your FAFSA ID.
What is a FAFSA ID? A FAFSA ID consists of a username and password that is used to log in to certain US Department of Education websites. Both the student and the parent must have an ID. Usernames do not expire but passwords will expire every 18 months.
What is an EFC?- Expected Family Contribution refers to the amount of money a family may reasonably be expected to contribute towards the cost of education for an academic year. Calculated every year based on data from the FAFSA form and a pre-set formula. The EFC makes no attempt to tell you how to pay.
What is a SAR?- A Student Aid Report is a summary of information based on what information was submitted in your FAFSA form and will indicate your Expected Family Contribution. (EFC) Choose your college carefully as not all colleges will meet 100% of need.
Which forms do I fill out?
FAFSA- (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) Go to: FAFSA. GOV to request your ID . You may apply online starting October 1st Part has to be done by the student and part by the parent. There is no fee associated with filing the FAFSA. There are many websites out there that will charge you to file the form. Make sure you go to the proper website. There will be a link to complete your state form.
CSS Profile- is required by only certain colleges- Check individual college websites and financial aid offices to find out if the Profile is required. There is a fee associated with filing the Profile form.
Institutional Forms- Some institutions may have additional forms that need to be filled out. Check with each institution about their filing requirements.
What types of Financial Aid are there?
Scholarships- Scholarships are generally merit based aid and does not need to be repaid
Grants- Grants are generally need based and do not need to be repaid
Loans- This is money that is expected to be repaid with interest.
Subsidized- Interest is not calculated until you graduate college.
Unsubsidized- Interest begins to accrue immediately upon disbursement.
Work-Study- Work study allows students to work on campus and a portion of their pay is issued directly to the institution.
The difference between the Cost of Attendance (COA) and Expected Family Contribution (EFC) equals how much need based funding is required for each year.
What other financial aid is available?
Check Naviance and do local web searches to determine what else you may be eligible for.
Financial Aid websites to assist you.
FAFSA online- www.fafsa.ed.gov
Financial Aid Guide- www.finaid.org
US Department of Education- www.college.gov
Federal Student Aid- https://studentaid.ed.gov
NJ HESAA- www.hesaa.org