Financial Aid Terms || Oakwood University

Financial Aid Terms

Financial aid can be complex!
These terms are some you are likely to come across in the process of determining your financial aid award. Understanding what they mean will help you through the process. If there is ever anything you don’t understand, just let us know.

Merit-based Aid
Merit-based aid is based on merit or achievement in a specific area, including academics, leadership, performance, and athletics. The Resources page lists scholarship websites to help you find sources of merit-based aid.

Need-based Aid
Aid that is based on your family’s finances is called need-based aid. Most often, your eligibility for need-based aid will be based on your FAFSA results.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
The FAFSA uses family income information to determine eligibility for need-based grants and loans. Fill out your FAFSA at

Student Aid Report (SAR)
The SAR is actually not a report of the aid you are eligible for, so don’t be surprised if you don’t see a big award package! Instead, the SAR summarizes a student’s information from the FAFSA and provides you with your Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
The government uses your FAFSA data to calculate your EFC, which is an approximation of what your family could pay for college (note, this is not necessarily what you will end up paying). The EFC helps Oakwood University calculate your financial need.

Financial Need
Oakwood University subtracts your EFC from the cost of attendance to find your financial need. This is the maximum in scholarships, grants, and Federal loans that OU can offer you.

Verification Process
Oakwood University may ask for additional documents to verify your FAFSA results. Until they are received by the Student Financial Aid office, we cannot send a complete financial aid package. Once verification is complete, your aid may adjust. Missing documents may be seen at MyOakwood – they do not show until several days after their receipt as we must manually post them.

Financial Aid Package
The documents in your package list all federal, state, and college assistance offered. OU will send you your financial aid package electronically (also at MyOakwood) after we receive all required paperwork (including the FAFSA).