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Financial Aid Expressions

Confused about how your EFC and COA affect your financial aid? Below is a guide to frequently used financial aid expressions.

What is priority funding and why is it important?

Many financial aid sources are limited, so funding is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.  You may not be considered for all financial aid programs if you miss the priority funding deadlines set by Eastern Washington University. 

Priority funding does not refer to Pell Grant or Direct Loan funding.

What is the Expected Family Contribution (EFC)?

The number that is used to determine your eligibility for Federal student financial aid and the amount of need-based aid (e.g. grants, work-study, and subsidized loans) that you may receive. This number results from the financial information you provided on the FAFSA.  Your EFC is not necessarily the amount you will be expected to pay as non-need based loans (unsubsidized Direct Loan, PLUS loan) may be used to replace the Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

What is Cost of Attendance (COA)?

Eastern Washington University establishes standard cost of attendance budgets that reflect the educational costs for EWU students during a nine month academic year. These budgets are intended to provide an adequate, but modest lifestyle. The budgets include the following components:

  • Tuition
  • Fees
  • Books
  • Room and Board
  • Transportation
  • Personal Expenses

The total budget varies based on enrollment status (full time, three-quarter time, half-time), number of terms of enrollment, living arrangements, degree standing (undergraduate or graduate), and state residency.

What is financial need and how is it determined?

Financial need is the difference between the cost of attendance (as defined by the school) and the amount you and your family are expected to contribute (EFC) according to the federal aid formulas established by Congress.

Cost of Attendance - Expected Family Contribution (EFC) = Financial Need

Your financial need determines the maximum amount of need-based financial aid (grants, Perkins Loan, subsidized Direct Loan) you can receive. Non-need based loans (unsubsidized Direct Loan, PLUS loan) may be used to replace the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). After your need has been calculated, your awards are determined and may include a combination of scholarships, grants, tuition waivers, work study, and/or loans.

What is Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)?

Satisfactory academic progress means that you are completing enough credits progress toward the goal of completing your degree program.  Federal regulations require that all students make satisfactory academic progress to receive aid. Please review EWU's Satisfactory Academic Progress policy for more details.

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