Helpful Terms for the Financially Savvy Student

Cost of attendance (COA)

The total amount it will cost you to attend school—usually stated as a yearly figure.

Direct costs

Expenses that the student or student's family pays to the college or university.

Gift aid

Funds awarded to you that do not have to be repaid, unless you fail to meet certain terms that are specified as a condition of the aid (such as a service requirement). Gift aid includes awards with titles such as grants, scholarships, remissions, waivers, etc. Gift aid can be awarded based on many factors including, but not limited to, financial need; academic excellence; athletic, musical and theatrical talent; affiliation with various groups; or career aspirations.

Indirect costs

Expenses the student or student's family may pay to a third party (merchant, landlord, etc.) other than the college or university.

Net costs

Amount of direct and indirect costs remaining after all gift aid (scholarships, grants, etc.) is subtracted.

Out-of-pocket costs

Difference between the cost of attendance and all gift aid. Out-of pocket costs can be covered through a variety of sources such as savings, income and educational loans.