The Financial Aid Shopping Sheet is a tool that can be used to simplify the information that prospective students receive about costs and financial aid. It contains standardized information that can help students easily compare institutions and make informed decisions about where to attend school.
The Shopping Sheet is available once the student has completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and has been awarded a financial aid package. Please note that information in the Shopping Sheet is estimated. Final costs and awards may differ slightly.
The Shopping Sheet may not include all of the student’s awards or resources. For example, it does not include any Veterans Affairs education benefits including Montgomery GI Bill, Post 9/11 GI Bill, Yellow Ribbon Program, and Federal Tuition Assistance.
To view the Shopping Sheet, click here, log in to your TopNet account, select the Financial Aid tab, and then select the Federal Shopping Sheet link.
Cost of Attendance (COA): The estimated amount (not including grants and scholarships) that it will cost the student to go to school during a specific academic year.
COA includes tuition and fees; housing and meals; and allowances for books, supplies, transportation, loan fees, and dependent care. It also includes miscellaneous and personal expenses, such as an allowance for the rental or purchase of a personal computer; costs related to a disability; and reasonable costs for eligible study-abroad programs. For students attending less than half-time, the COA includes tuition and fees; an allowance for books, supplies, and transportation; and dependent care expenses.
Total Grants and Scholarships: Student aid funds that do not have to be repaid. Grants are often need-based, while scholarships are usually merit-based. Occasionally you might have to pay back part or all of a grant if, for example, you withdraw from school before finishing a semester.
Net Costs: An estimate of the actual costs that the student will need to pay during a specific academic year to cover education expenses at a particular school. Net costs are determined by taking the institution's cost of attendance and subtracting the student’s grants and scholarships.
Work-Study: A federal student aid program that provides part-time employment to help pay education expenses while the student is enrolled in school.
Loans: Borrowed money that must be repaid with interest. Loans from the federal government typically have a lower interest rate than loans from private lenders. Federal loans, listed from most advantageous to least advantageous, are called Federal Perkins Loans, Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, and Direct PLUS Loans. More information about federal loans is available at StudentAid.gov.
Family Contribution (also referred to as Expected Family Contribution): A number used by a school to calculate how much financial aid the student is eligible to receive, if any. It is based on the financial information provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It is not the amount of money the family will have to pay for college, nor is it the amount of federal aid the student will receive. The family contribution is reported to the student on the Student Aid Report, also known as the SAR.
Graduation Rate: The percentage of students who graduate from an institution. This shows students who began their studies as first-time, full-time degree or certificate seeking students and completed their degree or certificate within 150 percent of "normal time." For example, for a four-year school, the graduation rate would be the percentage of students who completed that program within six years or less.
Loan Default Rate: The percentage of student borrowers (undergraduate and graduate) who have failed to repay their federal loans within three years of leaving a particular school. A low loan default rate could mean that the institution’s students are earning enough income after leaving school to successfully repay their loans.
Median Borrowing: The amount in federal loans the typical undergraduate student takes out at a particular institution. It also indicates the monthly payments that an average student would pay on that amount using a 10-year repayment plan.