Determining Financial Need

Most financial aid awards are based on demonstrated financial need, which is the difference between the Cost of Attendance (COA) and the Expected Family Contribution (EFC).  EFC is the amount that the government believes you and your family can be reasonably expected to contribute toward your college costs this year and is based on your FAFSA information (or California Dream Act Application for AB 540 students).

Cost of Attendance (COA) – Expected Family Contribution (EFC) = Financial Need.

What does the term EFC stand for?


What is Cost of Attendance?

In order to treat all students equally, standardized budgets (COA) are established and applied to all applicants.  This means all students with similar circumstances will receive the same allowance for tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, personal expenses, and transportation.

Other expenses may include, but are not limited to: dependent care, vocational/technical, and disability related expenses.  Exceptions may be made to the budget in cases where need can be shown and documented.


Living at Home Living Away from Home
9 Months 12 Months 9 Months 12 Months
Fees $1,220 $1,827 $1,220 $1,827
Books & Supplies $1,917 $2,876 $1,917 $2,876
Room & Board $5,418 $7,224 $13,779 $18,372
Transportation $1,107 $1,476 $1,251 $1,668
Personal Expenses $3,258 $4,344 $2,997 $3,996
Total $12,920 $17,747 $21,164 $28,739
 Non-Resident Tuition is added to fees based on the student’s residency
*Subject to change



Once the student’s financial aid eligibility is established, a “package” of aid is provided which may be a combination of grants, work-study, and loan funds.

Grant eligibility is based on the number of units a student is enrolled in at the time of disbursement.  Full-time is considered 12 or more units per semester; three quarter time is considered 9-11 ½ units per semester; half-time is considered 6-8 ½ units per semester; less than half-time is 1-5 ½ units per semester.

Federal Pell Grants are scheduled for payments twice a semester.  FSEOG and Cal Grants are scheduled for payment once per semester for students enrolled in six (6) or more approved units.  Federal Work-Study is paid twice a month.  Loans are disbursed twice per loan period.


What is an Award Letter?

The campus processing the student’s aid produces an Award Letter and Award Guide.  These are made available online.  The Award Letter lists the COA, the EFC, Total Awards, Resources, and Unmet Need amounts applicable to the academic year.  Students may receive revised versions of the original Award Letter throughout the academic year.  The revisions may reflect additional fees or allowances added to the cost of attendance, educational resources which must be accounted for, semesters of enrollment (partial year vs. full year and vice versa) changes, and addition or deletion of specific awards.  Award letters can be viewed online through the LACCD Student Information System (


My family's financial situation is different than the income information I reported on my FAFSA. What can I do?

In certain cases, a family’s financial situation can change because of:

  • Death in the family
  • Separation or divorce
  • Loss of employment or other income
  • Loss of non-taxable income or benefits

In such cases, the student should contact the Financial Aid Office.


What is the Net Price Calculator?