When applying for the FAFSA, you are inevitably going to come across a barrage of acronyms that might be a pain to translate.
Here is a brief list of some of the more common FAFSA acronyms you are going to have to deal with:
Cost of Attendance: the total amount it will cost to go to school which includes tuition and fees; on-campus room and board (or a housing and food allowance for off-campus students); and allowances for books, supplies, transportation, loan fees, as well as miscellaneous and personal expenses.
Total Income: the sum of the gross income generated by the immediate family of the FAFSA applicant.
Total Parents’ Contribution: the amount of money parents are able to contribute to the education of their child. TPC is set by a federal formula based on income, assets, age, number of family dependents and the need for retirement income.
Total Student’s Contribution: the amount a student can contribute to his or her own contribution. TSC is based on a percentage of the student’s savings and earnings.
Expected Family Contribution: involves the amount of money a family is expected to help a student out in his or her education. EFC is the sum of TPC and TSC but is also affected by savings, net assets, family earnings, family size and the total number of college students in the family.
Contribution from Available Income: is used to represent the available income of independent students, meaning students who take the FAFSA without the financial support of other individuals.
Education Savings and Asset Protection Allowance: the amount of money that will not be held against a FAFSA applicant. The total amount varies depending on the number of parents supporting the child’s education as well as the age of the older parent.
Income Protection Allowance: a factor in calculating FAFSA eligibility that allows for basic needs (food, clothing, shelter, car maintenance, basic medical care and basic insurance) to be exempted from contribution calculations.
Discretionary Net Worth: the financial capabilities of an individual after essential payments (i.e. food, bills etc.) have been deducted from total income.
Student Aid Report: summarizes all the information student provided on the FAFSA which usually indicates the Expected Family Contribution (EPC)1 – the number used to determine student’s eligibility for federal student aid.
These are but a handful of acronyms you will find for the FAFSA. If you are not sure about the FAFSA process itself, this guide might be a good place to start.
- If there’s an asterisk (*) next to the EFC figure on the SAR, it means your FAFSA has been selected for verification. [↩]