Financial aid is any grant, scholarship, loan or paid employment offered for the purpose of helping a student meet education-related expenses. Such aid is usually provided by or through federal and state agencies, foundations, and corporations, as well as the colleges and universities themselves.
- Grants and scholarships are regarded as "gift" assistance and need not be repaid, although they may carry certain provisions. Generally, a student must demonstrate need to be eligible for grants.
- Loans are borrowed money and must be repaid with interest. Repayment generally does not begin until six months after a student ceases to be enrolled at least half-time.
- Work Study grants are offered in the form of a job. The student is paid an hourly rate for work performed.
The amounts and types of financial aid that students receive are determined through federal, state and local guidelines, and are offered to students in combinations or "packages" designed to fit applicants' financial needs.
What is Financial Need?
Basically, it is the amount representing the difference between a family's expected family contribution, as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and a student's cost of attendance. Chesapeake College expects that the student and his or her parents will contribute to the fullest of their ability from income, assets and other resources in meeting college expenses.
Your college first determines whether you have financial need by using this simple formula:
Cost of Attendance (COA) — Expected Family Contribution (EFC) = Financial Need
|Calculating Your Financial Need
||Cost of Attendance (COA)
||Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
- Contributions from parents' income and assets
- Student's income and savings
- Veterans benefits
- Vocational Rehabilitation Grants, etc.
- State scholarships or grants
- Private scholarships – for example, local businesses, foundations and civic organizations.
What is Cost of Attendance (COA)?
Your COA is the amount it will cost you to go to school. Most two-year and four-year colleges will calculate your COA to show your total cost for the school year (for instance, for the fall semester plus the spring semester).
If you're attending at least half-time, your COA is the estimate of
- tuition and fees;
- the cost of room and board;
- the cost of books, supplies, transportation, and miscellaneous expenses
What is Expected Family Contribution (EFC)?
Your EFC is an index number that college financial aid staff members use to determine how much financial aid you would receive if you were to attend their school. The information you report on your FAFSA is used to calculate your EFC.
The EFC is calculated according to a formula established by law. Your family's taxed and untaxed income, assets, and benefits (such as unemployment or Social Security) all could be considered in the formula. Also considered are your family size and the number of family members who will attend college or career school during the year.
Your EFC is not the amount of money your family will have to pay for college, nor is it the amount of federal student aid you will receive. It is a number used by your school to calculate how much financial aid you are eligible to receive.