How Awards are Determined

Towson University offers a variety of merit-based and need-based aid programs.

Merit-based scholarship recipients are selected based on a competitive evaluation of their academic qualifications.  For more information, see Scholarships.

Eligibility for need-based aid is based on the formula outlined below.  Because our funding is limited, we direct our need-based grants to toward students with higher financial need.

Financial Need Formula

We base need-based aid offers on the following federal eligibility formula:

Estimated Cost of Attendance Budget
- Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
= Financial Need

The financial aid process strives to provide students with enough aid to meet their calculated financial need, but this is often not possible because of limited federal, state, and institutional funds. When we award need-based aid, we also consider your other scholarships, grants, and educational benefits.

Cost of Attendance (COA) Budget

Your Cost of Attendance (COA) Budget is an estimate of your educational and living expenses for one academic year (Fall & Spring Terms). It includes estimates of Direct Costs and Indirect Expenses.

  • Direct Costs:  Tuition, fees, on-campus room and board charges
  • Indirect Expenses:  Books and supplies, personal and transportation expenses, and off campus room and board costs
  • Your total aid cannot exceed your COA budget.
  • Your actual TU bill will be much less than your COA budget because TU will only bill you for Direct Costs.
  • For more information, see our Cost of Attendance Budgets.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

The U.S. Department of Education calculates your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) by applying a congressional formula to the data on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). To review your EFC or FAFSA data, visit

If you have questions about the EFC formula, call the Federal Student Aid Hotline at 1-800-4-FEDAID (1-800-433-3243).