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When a student completes the FAFSA application, the school receives the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) for the student. The EFC is subtracted from the Cost of Attendance (COA), as well as other sources of financial aid, to determine the remaining Financial Need. Students may receive Federal Financial Aid only up to the amount of Financial Need.

Cost of Attendance (COA)

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

Other Aid (e.g., Discounts, Scholarships)


 = FINANCIAL NEED (Pell Grants, Direct Loans)


There are two (2) things to keep in mind:

1. Your total need-based aid cannot exceed your financial need

2. Your total aid package (including non-need-based awards) cannot exceed the total Cost of Attendance.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is the amount of money you and your family (or spouse) is expected to contribute toward your cost of attendance for the academic year. The Central Processing System of the U.S. Department of Education analyzes the information you submitted on your FAFSA to determine this amount. The EFC determines the types and amounts of federal aid for which you qualify. .

Cost of Attendance (Full-Time Student)

Cost of attendance is the total amount it will cost a student to go to college each year. It reflects the maximum dollar amount of financial aid a student may receive for the entire academic year.


The COA includes tuition and fees, Books, Books, course materials, supplies and equipment, transportation, and miscellaneous personal expenses fees. It can also include study abroad expenses, cooperative education cost, dependent care, disability-related expenses, Federal student loan fees (may not include the cost associated with non-Federal loans) and professional licensure, certification, or a first professional credential.

Financial Aid

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Tuition and fees—An amount normally assessed a student carrying the same academic workload, as determined by the institution.

Books, course materials, supplies, and equipment—An allowance for books, course materials, and equipment, which must include all such costs required of all students in the same course of study, including a reasonable allowance for the rental or upfront purchase of a personal computer, as determined by the institution.

Transportation—An allowance, as determined by the institution, which may include transportation between campus, residences, and place of work.

Miscellaneous personal expenses—An allowance, as determined by the institution, for a student attending the institution on at least a half-time basis.

Living expenses—An allowance for food and housing costs, as determined by the institution, to be incurred by the student attending the institution on at least a half-time basis, including—

  • A standard food allowance that provides the equivalent of three meals each day, regardless of whether a student chooses institutionally owned or operated food services (i.e., board or meal plans). Institutions must provide an allowance for purchasing food off campus for a student that does not elect institutionally owned or operated food services.

  • Housing allowances for students residing in institutionally owned or operated housing with or without dependents must be based on the average or median amount assessed to such residents for housing charges, whichever is greater.

  • Housing allowances for students living off campus must include rent or other housing costs.

  • For dependent students living at home with parents, institutions must include a reasonable standard allowance for living expenses that is not zero.

  • For students living in housing on a military base or for which they receive a basic allowance under section 403(b) of title 37, United States Code, institutions must include a reasonable allowance for food on-campus or off-campus but cannot include housing costs.

  • For all other students, institutions must include a reasonable allowance based on expenses incurred by such students.

Study abroad expenses—An allowance for reasonable costs, as determined by the institution, for a student in a study abroad program approved for credit by the home institution.

Cooperative education costs—An allowance for reasonable costs, as determined by the institution, associated with such employment for a student engaged in a work experience under a cooperative education program.

Dependent care—An allowance based on the estimated actual expenses incurred for dependent care, based on the number and age of such dependents.

  • Such allowance must not exceed the reasonable cost in the community in which such student resides for the kind of care provided; and

  • The period for which dependent care is required includes, but is not limited to, class-time, study-time, field work, internships, and commuting time.

Disability-related expenses—An allowance, as determined by the institution, for expenses associated with a student’s disability, including special services, personal assistance, transportation, equipment, and supplies that are reasonably incurred and not provided for by other agencies.

Federal student loan fees—An allowance for the cost of any Federal student loan fee, origination fee, or insurance premium charged to the student or the parent of the student. The allowance—

  • May be actual or average costs, as appropriate; and

  • May not include the cost associated with non-Federal loans.

Professional licensure, certification, or a first professional credential—An allowance for the costs associated with obtaining a license, certification, or a first professional credential, for a student in a program that prepares them to enter a profession that requires such a qualification.

In compliance with federal regulations, the Financial Aid Office has determined a cost of attendance that includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, personal expenses and transportation. These components are costs that relate to the individual student and are educational in nature as specified by Section 472 of the Higher Education Act. A student’s total financial aid package, including scholarships, grants, other external resources, and federal student aid should not exceed the COA. Financial Aid Administrators are allowed to make adjustments to the established components in the COA but are not allowed to create additional or new categories.


Financial Aid Administrators have the authority to use professional judgment to make reasonable adjustments to allowable expenses for special circumstances on a case-by-case basis. Professional judgment is the discretion granted by law to make adjustments to costs within the COA components. However, nothing requires a financial aid administrator to exercise this authority nor is it unlimited. Institutions have the option not to use PJ in any circumstance. Budgeting is an exceedingly individual process and a significant part includes ones available resources, such as personal assets and financial assistance. As such, budget adjustments are intended for special and unusual expenses that differentiates a student from other students enrolled in the same program. In other words, PJ cannot be considered for a condition that exists for a whole class of students.

Contact Financial Aid Officer for more information at 714) 683-1413 or

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