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 Determining Need

Cost of Attendance Budgets:  An Explanation
Determination of Financial Need
Sample Calculation for Determination of Financial Need
Meeting Your Financial Need

Cost of Attendance Budgets:  An Explanation

To determine a student's eligibility for Federal and other need-based financial aid, UNCSA is required to establish a Cost of Attendance Budget.  This budget is based on the student's classification (high school, college or graduate school), residency (in-state or out-of-state) and their arts school.  The sum of this Cost of Attendance budget appears on the student's Financial Aid Award Notification as “Total Expense Budget.”  The Cost of Attendance budget is calculated so that, if funding permits, financial aid can be used to meet these expenses.  It includes actual tuition, mandatory fees, a room and board allowance, and allowances for necessities such as books, transportation and personal living expenses.  

There are two types of costs included in the totals shown in the Cost of Attendance Budget, direct costs and indirect costs.  These costs are explained as follows:

Direct costs are charges for which the student will be billed directly by UNCSA.  Direct costs included in the Cost of Attendance budget are an estimate of the tuition and fees for the coming academic year.  (UNCSA is a state-supported educational institution, and tuition and fees are set by the State Legislature and Board of Governors, respectively.   These costs are not established until after July 1 for the upcoming academic year.)  In addition, if the student lives on campus, an allowance for room and board is included in the budget, based on a double-room charge and the full-meal plan.

Indirect costs are other estimated educational expenses the student may incur such as books and supplies, personal expenses, an allowance for transportation to and from school, and an estimate for room and board if the student lives off campus.  Indirect costs are included under “books,” “miscellaneous” (and “room” and “board” for off-campus students).  Actual indirect costs may vary according to each student’s needs. 

The Cost of Attendance Budget is based on the full academic year and is intended as an estimate of the “average” student’s expenses.  An actual school bill will be sent from the UNCSA Student Accounts Office before each term.  The charges on the bill are due before the student can begin classes each term and should include direct charges for the upcoming term.

You may view the actual budgets at “UNCSA Cost of Attendance Budgets for Financial Aid Purposes, 2015-2016” (College) and (High School).

Determination of Financial Need

Once your FAFSA and any supporting information are received, your financial situation will be analyzed.

  • First, the results of your Student Aid Report (SAR) and your "Expected Family Contribution" or “EFC” (the amount you and your family are expected to be able to contribute to the cost of your education according to the standard Federal formula) are reviewed.
  • Second, your classification, residency, and arts school are factors used to determine a "Cost of Attendance" budget.  This budget reflects the average costs of attending UNCSA for an academic year, based on your program of study. 
  • Third, your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is subtracted from your Cost of Attendance Budget and the difference of the two is your demonstrated financial need.  Your EFC and demonstrated financial need determines whether or not you are eligible for need-based financial aid.
Sample Calculation for Determination of Financial Need

Sample Calculation for Determination of Financial Need

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

$21,575 COA for an In-State (On-Off Campus) Undergraduate Student
(-) $ 3,000 EFC
(=)$18,575 Financial Need

Meeting Your Financial Need

When your financial need has been determined, the UNCSA Office of Student Financial Aid will provide you with an offer of financial aid to assist in meeting your need, to the extent that funding allows.