Financial Aid Guidelines

Financial Aid Definitions


Financial Aid Definitions

Financial Policy: N/A
Related Policies:

Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008

Additional Forms: N/A

Things to Know:

  • Student:
    For the purposes of these guidelines and discussion of policies for giving funds to people, ‘student’ refers to a person seeking a degree or other educational credential at Indiana University. A student ceases to be a student when they graduate or otherwise separate from Indiana University.
  • Cost of Attendance (COA):
    The cost of attendance for a student is an estimate of educational expenses for the period of enrollment, and it provides an upper limit on financial resources. Expenses include tuition and fees, books and supplies, transportation, room and board, and personal expenses.
    Changes to estimated budgets are made automatically for students on IU Overseas Study programs administered through the Study Abroad Office (OVST). All study abroad costs for programs administered by the departments and schools must be approved by the OVST who will forward the information to the Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA).
    Other changes may be made based on an appeal by the student, with documentation of unusual expenses in excess of the estimates. Appeal approval or denial is solely at the discretion of the financial aid office.
    Questions from departments about reasonable costs may be directed to the OSFA email
    If the award is designed to offset additional educational costs, the department should contact the OSFA at in order to specify the costs to be considered as a part of the students’ COA.
  • Expected Family Contribution (EFC):
    The EFC is determined by federal formulas that are applied to student-supplied data on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Changes to the FAFSA data components may be made on appeal when the student and/or family’s financial circumstances change. Appeal approval or denial is solely at the discretion of the financial aid office.
  • Financial Need = COA – EFC:
    Need is defined as the difference between cost of attendance (COA) and the expected family contribution (EFC). A student with federal aid awarded on the basis of need cannot have total resources in excess of need. All resources count toward need with the exception of non-need-based federal and private student loans. Depending on the student’s individual situation, financial need may be affected by adjustments to COA or EFC. Unmet need is need not met by financial aid or other resources.
  • Resources:
    A “resource” is used to compute need and is part of the EFC. A resource can be “work income” —like non-need-based employment. “Financial aid” is used to meet need or meet COA (like unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans and Federal PLUS loans meet COA and replace all or part of the EFC). However, financial aid can also be “work income”—like Federal Work-Study or any other need-based employment.
  • Financial Aid Package:
    The combination of federal, state and institutional aid awarded to meet a student’s need or to cover the cost of attendance is referred to as the ‘financial aid package.’ Resources from any other source, e.g. scholarships from Rotary Club, departmental fee remission, etc., must be accommodated in the package within the restrictions that apply based on the student’s eligibility, need and types of federal aid awarded. Just like COA, a student’s financial aid package covers a specific period of enrollment.
  • Estimated Financial Assistance:
    Federal financial aid eligibility is restricted by the cost of attendance and any other financial assistance that must be counted as a resource available to meet financial need. Any educational benefits paid because of enrollment in college are considered to be part of the financial aid package. This includes scholarships and grants from any source, fee waivers, fellowships and assistantships and even private education loans. If new resources are awarded, eligibility for federal aid must be re-evaluated. When these resources can be anticipated early there is less disruption in the aid package and less confusion for the student.
  • Please contact the Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA), for questions.