Financial Glossary for College and Financial Aid Planning

Financial Glossary for College and Financial Aid Planning

FAFSA – Free Application for Federal Student Aid

The official form completed by prospective and current college students in the United States in order to assess financial aid eligibility.

CSS Profile – College Scholarship Service Profile

The official online application from College Board allowing students in the United States to apply for non-federal financial aid.

Base Income Assessment Year

The income year that is assessed at the time of filing financial aid forms. Income is assessed on a prior-prior year timeline.

COA – Cost of Attendance

This is determined by each school on an annual basis and is unique to each school. This includes tuition, room and board, books, supplies, transportation and student health insurance.

EFC – Expected Family Contribution

This is the amount a family is expected to contribute towards their student’s higher education costs. This number is comprised of both parent and student contributions and is used to determine financial aid eligibility.

Gift Aid

Financial aid in the form of grants and scholarships that will not require any repayment on the part of the student or parents.

Self-Help Aid

Financial aid in the form of loans that will require repayment on the part of the student or parents.

Out-of-Pocket Cost

The ‘out-of-pocket cost’ is the total cost of attending a given school minus all financial aid eligibility (this includes both gift aid and self-help aid).

True Cost

The ‘true cost’ is the total cost of attending a given school minus any gift aid received (financial aid that will not require repayment).

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