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California State University, Long Beach

How Your Awards Are Determined

Financial aid programs were created with the idea that the primary responsibility for paying college costs rests with the student and his or her family. The amount of aid for which you are eligible depends on your family’s financial circumstances and resources.

Factors impacting the amount and type of financial aid you are offered include:

  • Your estimated Cost of Attendance (COA)
  • Your expected Family Contribution (EFC)
  • Your Financial Need (COA minus EFC)
  • Timing of your application
  • Your willingness to accept various types of financial aid
  • The availability of funds

Cost of Attendance (COA)

Your Cost of Attendance, also known as the student budget, is based on a number of components:

Direct University-Related charges

  • Tuition and mandatory fees
  • On-Campus Room & Board

Estimated Indirect Expenses

  • Transportation
  • Books and Supplies
  • Micellaneous Personal Expenses
  • Off Campus Room and Board

Your COA, or budget, will vary depending on where you live, your California state residency status, and your educational program (whether you are an undergraduate, graduate, or credential student).

Details on the CSU Long Beach COA budgets can be found on our Costs page.  Please note that we use averages in determining the amounts; your actual costs may be more or less than the figures listed on that page.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

When you complete financial aid application (FAFSA or Dream Act Application), the processing agency uses the information you supply to assess your family's financial situation and calculate an estimated/expected family contribution (EFC) for you.

Your EFC is an estimate of the amount that you and your parents might be expected to contribute toward the costs of your education. Your EFC is provided to you on your Student Aid Report (which you can view on the application website after your FAFSA or California Dream Act Application has been processed). NOTE: The EFC is NOT the amount you owe to your college or university.

Financial Need

Once your EFC has been determined, the amount of federal, state, and institutional need-based aid you are eligible to receive is calculated using the following equation:

   Cost of Attendance (COA)
Expected Family Contribution (EFC) 
Other Financial Resources (private scholarships, fee waivers, etc.)
= Financial Need 

The result is your “financial need,” which provides us with your eligibility for need-based aid. While this number represents the amount of aid you are eligible to receive based on your costs and your financial resources, the amount of aid that you will actually be awarded depends on the financial aid funds available in any given year.

The awards in your financial aid offer from CSU Long Beach are determined by the Financial Need formula above, and will consist of the maximum amount of subsidized and unsubsidized aid for which you qualify.

NOTE: Federal and California State Student Aid regulations require that your total financial aid cannot exceed your total Cost of Attendance.

If you are receiving additional funding from other sources, such as scholarships, we are required by the Federal and California State Student Aid Regulations to consider these resources when determining your awards. If all sources of funding do not show on your award offer, you must notify our office in writing of the amount and source of the award..

Viewing Your EFC, COA, and Financial Need

All information used in determining your financial aid award offer can be viewed on MyCSULB.

  • FAFSA Filers:  You can view your EFC, COA budget, and Financial Need by accessing your Financial Aid Shopping Sheet from the Award Summary Page.
  • Dream Act Filers: You can view your EFC, COA budget, and Financial Need used in determining your award package on by accessing the relevant screens on MyCSULB – refer to the View My Financial Aid & Scholarships guide for instructions.