Glossary of Financial Terms

Cost of Attendance (COA)

An estimate of the costs of being enrolled at Allen College. Included are the per semester cost of attendance budgets. The estimated cost of attendance is used to determine financial aid eligibility.

  • Direct Costs: Expenses the student pays directly to the school for classes (tuition and fees).
  • Indirect Costs:  Expenses such as housing, books and supplies, transportation and miscellaneous expenses. These costs may vary depending upon each students' lifestyle, situation and choices and are not billed by the school.  

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

The financial amount used by Allen College to calculate how much financial aid the student is eligible to receive. This number is generated from the student's Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) based on information the student provided. This is not the amount of money due to Allen College and is not the amount the student will be awarded in financial aid. The EFC will be changing to the Student Aid Index (SAI) for 2024-2025 but will still be used in a similar fashion.

Financial Aid Award

A comprehensive list produced by the Allen College financial aid team of the financial aid the student qualifies for using the results from the FAFSA. Students can determine whether or not to accept financial aid on the award.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

The FAFSA is used to apply for federal student aid, which includes grants, loans, work-study and more. The application gives basic financial information which is used to determine eligibility for federal financial aid. The student can review and correct the information. 


Funding to students that doesn't have to be paid back. Grants come from a variety of sources such as the Federal and State governments and organizations and agencies. These awards are often based upon financial need.


Loans are a form of financial aid that must be repaid with interest. Interest rates vary. A promissory note is required when accepting an educational loan. Some loans are need-based and some are non-need-based. Some types of loans have maximum limits. Students are advised to only take out loans that are absolutely necessary to further their education. 


Eligibility is based upon EFC (financial need) as determined by the FAFSA.


Eligibility is not based upon EFC (financial need) as determined by the FAFSA.

Out-of-Pocket Cost

The difference between the cost of attendance and all gift aid (aid that doesn't have to be paid back such as grants and scholarships). The out-of-pocket cost can be paid with a variety of sources such as student loans, savings, employment income, etc. 

Promissory Note

A note that the borrower signs upon taking out a loan indicating an understanding and intent to repay the loan according to the terms.

Student Aid Report (SAR)

A document that summarizes the information the student reported on the FAFSA. It includes the EFC, estimated eligibility for federal student loans and Pell grants and whether the student is selected for verification.


Some student FAFSA's are selected for verification by Federal Student Aid, and this may require submitting additional documentation.