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What is the definition of 'need'?

"Need" can only be determined by the FAFSA financial aid application and is defined as the difference between the students COA (cost of attendance) and the students EFC (estimated family contribution). The EFC number is a direct output of the FAFSA and can only be obtained via the FAFSA.

Need formula

Gross need: The need derived from the initial need calculation of COA – EFC. This is the total need of the student before any aid has been awarded.

Need: Often used to refer to gross need.

Unmet need: Any need that remains after aid has been awarded. This refers to need that is not met by financial aid. Unless a student's full need has been met (or exceeded) there will be some amount of unmet need.

Remaining need: Often used to refer to unmet need.

For example:

 COA20,290
EFC13,290
=Need7,000
Aid5,000
=Unmet Need2,000