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My Palmetto College

Determination of Aid Eligibility

Financial aid programs were created with the idea that the primary responsibility for paying college costs rests with the student and family. Your aid eligibility depends on your family’s financial circumstances and resources. 

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

A student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is an index number used to determine his or her eligibility for federal student financial aid. This number results from the information the student provides on their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. 

The EFC is calculated according to a formula established by law and considers the family’s taxed and untaxed income, assets, and benefits (such as, unemployment or Social Security). Schools use the EFC to determine federal aid eligibility. 

Cost of Attendance (COA)

Prior to being offered financial aid, students are assigned a Cost of Attendance (or budget), which is estimated based on full-time enrollment and the student’s residency status. After the drop and add period each semester, the cost of attendance will be reduced if the student is enrolled in a less than full-time status.

The Cost of Attendance includes the following components:

  • Tuition and technology fee 
  • An estimated allowance for books and supplies 
  • Average cost for food and housing 
  • Estimated transportation costs 
  • Estimated personal or miscellaneous expenses 

We use standard student expenses to efficiently process a large number of applications and to ensure equitable treatment. If you believe that you have costs that are significantly different than those allowed, you may visit the Financial Aid Office and speak with a financial aid counselor who can help evaluate your circumstances. 

Determining Need

Financial need is the difference between the cost of attendance (COA) and a student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC). It is used to determine how much need-based aid (such as grants, Federal Work-Study, or Subsidized Direct Loans) a student is eligible to receive. To determine a student’s financial need, the total expected family contribution (EFC) is subtracted from the student cost of attendance (COA). The remaining figure represents your maximum eligibility for need‐based financial assistance and scholarships.

Cost of Attendance (COA) - Expected Family Contribution (EFC) = Eligibility for Need-Based Aid 

While this number represents the amount of aid a student may beeligible to receive based on costs and his or her resources, the amount of aid that a student will actually receive depends on the amount of funds available during any given year. 

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