The COA should be used as a planning tool until "real costs" are set by Harrisburg.
"Need" will vary from school to school because costs will vary from school to school.
Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
The EFC (Expected Family Contribution) is calculated from information on the FAFSA, including student and parental income (taxable and un-taxable), net assets, the number of family members in the household, and the number enrolled in college.
Your EFC is not the amount of money your family will have to pay for college.
Your EFC is not the amount of federal student aid you will receive.
The Financial Aid office imports records from the Department of Education on a weekly basis.
The EFC is a number used by your school to calculate how much financial aid you are eligible to receive.
The Calculation of "Need"
Cost of Attendance (COA) minus the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) equals "Need."
Need will vary from school to school because costs will differ.