The Financial Aid Process
Perhaps the the most significant obstacle that stands between most students and the achievement of their educational goals is funding. The concern over financial aid is likely the most prominent determining factor in post-secondary decisions. We at the CCAC believe that future goals and aspirations should take precedence over financial concerns and obstacles.
The daunting truth about funding education is that it requires a great deal of calculation, an enormous amount of research, and diligent navigation through a tedious and confusing process. This process requires a tremendous amount of work for the student. Fortunately, The College & Career Access center is here to assist.
What Makes the Process so Difficult?
Simply stated, the CPS produces a SAR to collect information regarding your EFC (SAR should not be confused with a FAFSA). Once COA is calculated, EFC can be subtracted from COA. The difference between the COA and the EFC is a determining factor in your EFA.
In order to translate the above explanation, refer to the glossary below.
Glossary of Acronyms
COA: Cost of Attendance. This is the total of expenses required to attend college. Inclusive in this cost are: tuition, cost of texts and materials, cost of housing and transportation, cost of meal plans, and other education costs that are considered reasonable.
CPS: Central Processing System. This is the company contracted by the U.S. Department of Education to process the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
EFA: Estimated Financial Aid (or Assistance). This is the institution's estimation of the amount of assistance for which a student is eligible.
EFC: Estimated Family Contribution. This is the amount that is considered a reasonable expectation of what the student and family can provide towards the COA.
FAFSA: Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This is the form students must complete in order to apply for federal and state need-based assistance programs.
FSA: Federal Student Aid. Financial aid from the federal government to assist in the payment of education expenses. Grants, loans, and work-study are types of federal student aid.
SAR: Student Aid Report. This is a report produced by the Central Processing System and sent to the student. It shows the student's calculated EFC
Other Useful Acronyms and Terms
ACH: Automated Clearinghouse, may be used to streamline the electronic transfer of funds.
AGI: Adjusted Gross Income. This is the figure on federal tax returns that is used to perform a need-based analysis.
FWS: Federal Work-Study. This is a campus-based Title IV employment program.
PLUS: The PLUS Loan. This is a federal loan for parents of dependent undergraduate students and graduate/professional students.
GSL: Guaranteed Student Loan Program. This acronym is becoming more rare, as the GSL has been changed to the Federal Stafford Loan Program.
Factors in Calculating Federal Student Aid
The Following Loans:
With so many variables, complicated formulas, and an extraordinarily complex system of funding guidelines, it is easy to become overwhelmed. Our advisors understand the level of preparation required to make the transition to post-secondary education. We are more than happy to assist in any way we can!