Financial Aid 101: Definitions

New to the financial aid process? Below, we define some terms frequently used by colleges and universities.  

  • Demonstrated need – This is the cost of attending Notre Dame minus your Family Share (EFC). Notre Dame is one of less than 60 schools in the nation that meet 100 percent of a family’s financial need.
  • Need-blind admission – Students are admitted to Notre Dame on the basis of their academic and personal records of achievement; we never consider a student’s ability to pay when making an admission decision.
  • Financial aid – Money given or loaned to help pay for college. Financial aid can come in the form of gift (scholarships and grants) and self-help (loan and work). At Notre Dame, 68 percent of undergraduates who apply received some type of aid.
  • Need-based financial aid – Money given 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. Forty-eight percent of this year’s first-year students received an average need-based scholarship of $42,600 (excluding loan and work).
  • 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 Notre Dame students.
  • Cost or price of attendance – Our estimate of each year’s total cost of college includes tuition and fees, room and meals, books and supplies, personal expenses, and transportation. 
  • Expected Family Contribution (EFC) or Family Share –The total amount students and their families are expected to pay toward college costs from their income and assets for one academic year. This amount is determined on an individual basis using information you report on the financial aid applications. The information includes the size of your family, number attending college, income and assets, and other personal circumstances.
  • Net Price – The amount of money that the family pays for one year of college. This is calculated as the price of attendance minus grants and scholarships from all sources.

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