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Parent Information - Financial Aid Basics

Financial Assistance Office

Financial aid consists of funds provided to your child and family to help pay for post-secondary educational expenses. These funds include scholarships, grants, loans and workstudy student employment. Even if you don't believe that your child will qualify for aid, we encourage you to apply. There are numerous needs-based programs available, and you don't want to miss a possible opportunity for assistance.

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Application for Aid

Financial aid is awarded as a result of information gained through the application process. You and your child's first step in applying for financial aid is to complete the yearly Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The FAFSA is a standard form that collects demographic and financial information about your child and family. It can be filed electronically or by using a paper form. It is available in both English and Spanish. The FAFSA may be filed at any time during an academic year, but no earlier than the January 1st prior to the academic year for which your child requests aid. The information provided on the FAFSA will be used to calculate your child's "Expected Family Contribution" (EFC). EFC is an important figure in determining your child's financial need.

Visit the official FAFSA Web site to learn more about FAFSA application procedures and requirements.

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Cost of Attendance

"Cost of Attendance" (COA) is an official term used in the financial aid process to define the allowable expenses your child will incur by attending college. COA can vary widely between certain categories of students within an institution and even between institutions. Based on the initial information provided on the FAFSA, your child will be placed in a particular COA bracket. For example, if your child is a dependent, undergraduate student paying Kansas residency fees, they will be assigned a different COA than if they were an independent, graduate student paying non-resident fees. While there are differences, there are more similarities. The following list outlines the standard COA items allowed for all students:

  • Tuition and Fees
  • Books and Supplies
  • Room and Board
  • Loan Origination Fees
  • Travel Expenses
  • Parking Fees
  • Personal/Misc. Expenses

If your child has dependents (e.g. children) they will be allowed additional expenses for child care while they attend classes.

Keep in mind that expenses associated with attending college cannot be tailored to individual needs, but must reflect allowable expenses associated with a defined category of students.

The COA figure is used in calculating your child's financial need. You can get an estimate of your child's COA at FHSU by visiting our "Forms" page and selecting the "Cost of Attendance Worksheet" for the specific year your child will be attending.

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Expected Family Contribution

"Expected Family Contribution" (EFC) is an official term used in the financial aid process to express the dollar amount that your family can reasonably be expected to contribute to your child's education. This figure is calculated using data from the information you report on the FAFSA and a federal formula. For dependent students, EFC includes two components: parent contribution and student contribution. The EFC figure stays the same regardless of which college your child plans to attend.

The EFC figure is used in calculating your child's financial need. You can only get an official EFC calculated through the FAFSA application (which is not available until October 1 of each year). However, you can get an estimated EFC calculated by using FAFSA4caster.

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Financial Need

Colleges award financial aid based on a child's financial need. Financial need is the gap between the cost of going to a certain college (Cost of Attendance) and what your family is expected to pay (Expected Family Contribution). It is calculated as follows:

Cost of Attendance (COA) MINUS Expected Family Contribution (EFC) EQUALS Financial Need

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