Most students know that they must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to find out their Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is a relative measurement of the student's ability to pay for school, and this number is often used to determine the amount of federal and state assistance available. This is a good start, but the true Cost of Attendance (COA) is often different than the sticker price. Most students have expenses beyond tuition, including room and board, books, and other costs. Before turning to student loans, students with financial need can look for scholarships to help close the gap between their EFC and COA. Our Scholarship Directory for need-based scholarships is a great place to start.