Financial Aid Dictionary

New to the financial aid process?

Below, we define some terms frequently used by colleges and universities.  

Cost of Attendance

Our estimate of each year’s total college costs includes tuition and fees, room and meals, books and supplies, personal expenses, and transportation. View Notre Dame's Cost of Attendance.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

The total amount students and their families are expected to pay toward college costs from their income and assets for one academic year is the Expected Family Contribution. This amount is calculated on an individual basis using information reported on the financial aid applications. This information includes the size of your family, number attending college, income and assets, and other personal circumstances. More on Expected Family Contribution at Notre Dame

Demonstrated Need

This is the Cost of Attendance for Notre Dame minus your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Notre Dame is one of less than 60 schools in the nation that meet 100 percent of a family’s financial need primarily with grant assistance, but also through modest self-help which may include student loans and student employment.

Financial Aid

Money given, loaned, or made available to help cover college costs. Financial aid can come in the form of gift (scholarships and grants) and self-help (loan and work). At Notre Dame, 69 percent of undergraduates who apply received some type of aid in the forms of institutional and private grants/scholarships, loans, and/or student employment.

Merit-based Financial Aid

Money offered to students who show exceptional accomplishment, leadership, commitment to service, and intellectual ability. Notre Dame offers a limited number of merit scholarships to first-time incoming students.

Need-based Financial Aid

Money offered to students whose families need assistance with the full cost of paying for college. Notre Dame offers need-based scholarships, loans, and work to meet your need. 

Need-blind Admission

Students are admitted to Notre Dame on the basis of their academic and personal records of achievement; a student’s ability to pay is never considered when making an admission decision.

Net Price

The amount that the family pays for one year of college. This is calculated by subtracting the total amount of grants and scholarships from the Cost of Attendance.