When you apply for federal student aid by completing the Free
Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the information that you
report (income, assets, number of family members, number in college,
etc.) is applied to a formula established by the U.S. Congress. The
formula calculates your family’s ability to pay for your educational
expenses, and produces a figure that is referred to as your Expected
Family Contribution (EFC).
The basic formula for determining
financial need is: Cost of Attendance (COA) - Expected Family
Contribution (EFC) = Financial Need. COA may also be referred to as a
student expense budget.