In determining a student's eligibility for federal aid a school takes the Aid Budget minus the EFC to establish a student's documented need.

 Aid Budget
 -          EFC

Most federal aid is need based and eligibility is based on whether a student can document need.


Aid Budget

The aid budget is an estimate of what it costs for a student to attend for the nine month academic year and includes allowances for:

  • Tuition and Fees
  • Room & Board (housing & meals)
  • Books & Supplies
  • Transportation
  • Miscellaneous expenses (e.g. laundry, personal hygiene)

With very few exceptions the aid budget is the maximum amount of aid that a student can receive while attending Buffalo State.  The Cost of Attendance pages show the actual aid budgets being used for undergraduate and graduate students.



The Student Aid Report that the student receives after submitting the FAFSA will have the letters EFC on the first page followed by some numbers.  EFC stands for Expected Family Contribution and is an estimate of what the family can contribute toward the student's education that academic year.

An EFC of 5000 literally means that the federal government thinks the family can provide $5000 toward the cost of attending college that year.  In actuality, the EFC is just a number used to determine aid eligibility and does not reflect how much a family will or will not pay towards educational expenses that year.


Documenting Need

The EFC is subtracted from the aid budget to establish a student's documented need.  Since the EFC is the same regardless of which school a student chooses to attend a student's need varies based on the cost of the school.

For instance, a student with an EFC of 9800 is considering three schools.  This is how the student's need would be documented at the three schools:

Community College State University Private University












The amount of documented need is then used to determine eligibility for need based grants, loans and work-study.

Scholarships and other aid reduce a student's need, even if the scholarship or other aid is non-need based. Pell Grants and TAP Grants are considered entitlements in that they are not reduced by other aid that a student receives.