If you are eligible for financial aid through Oregon State University, you will receive a financial aid award letter. This award will outline your different financial aid options available to help finance your education. The aid offered to you is based on your expected family contribution(EFC), your cost of attendance(COA), and the availability of funding. The following explains common terms you will hear in the explanation of your financial aid award.


Expected Family Contribution(EFC) – When you submit your FAFSA application, you provide financial information that is used to determine your ability to pay for a college education. A federal formula calculates an Expected Family Contribution (EFC). This is an estimate of how much a student and their family can contribute toward educational expenses. This is not an actual dollar amount that you are expected to pay, but rather a number used to determine eligibility for need based aid programs.

  • Parent contribution – The amount the parent is estimated to be able to provide for their students education, as determined by information provided on the FAFSA, you are not required to pay this amount.
  • Student contribution - The amount the student is estimated to be able to provide for their education, as determined by information provided on the FAFSA, you are not required to pay this amount.


Cost of Attendance (COA) – This is an estimate of the total cost to attend OSU. This estimate includes tuition and fees, books and supplies as well as living costs such as housing, food, personal and miscellaneous expenses. Award amounts offered reflect a three-term, full-time cost of attendance. (These are estimated costs only and subject to change based on factors such as dining plan chosen, actual credits taken, etc.) The actual charges you can expect to see billed to the student account by OSU will only be tuition and fees and room and board (if applicable) on a per term basis.

  • Direct Costs – These costs refer to tuition and fees. Charges are posted to your Student Account after you enroll for courses. Payments for these charges are made directly to the university.
  • Indirect Costs – These are additional expenses that are determined as necessary to attend a university. They include books and supplies, room and board, miscellaneous/personal expenses, and direct loan fees. These expenses may vary with the student. The room and board estimate is the same for on or off-campus housing. Of these, only room and board will actually be applied to the student account by OSU if applicable.


Total Need - Need is determined by subtracting EFC from the cost of attendance. The remainder is considered "gross need". If no need remains then the student eligibility will consist of non-need based aid such as unsubsidized loans and Parent PLUS loans.


Your Aid Offer - You will accept, reject, or revise your financial aid offer based on the types of financial aid you were offered. It will show your financial aid as divided up over the three term academic year. While loans are offered, they require your acceptance and your responsibility for them does not begin until you accept them and complete the necessary steps.

  • Accept, Reject, Revise - You can accept, reject, or revise most parts of your financial aid award. Grants do not require your acceptance, and PLUS loans require a separate application process.