Each school has a COA (Cost Of Attendance) - you should be able to find it on the school web site somewhere. The COA is made up (generally) of average annual student expenses tuition and fees/books/room and board/travel/miscellaneous
The school takes your EFC away from their COA to find out your 'need' on which financial aid is based. So if your EFC is 6977 and their COA is 20,000 your 'need' is 13,023. Your financial aid package may consist of grants, loans and work study. Many schools do not meet full need so there may be a gap (ie your need is 13023 but you only get aid of 10,000 that would be a 'gap' of 3023). If you have any merit scholarships that reduces your need. So, for instance, if you have a $5000 merit scholarship your 'need' would be 8023. (20.000-6977-5000).
Last edited by swimcatsmom; 03-03-2008 at 02:29 PM.