Financial Aid

College Financing Plan

The University of Cincinnati is providing you a college financing plan (sometimes referred to as the shopping sheet) as another way to review your awarded aid. The college financing plan is not meant to replace the award offer that UC or any other school provides. Instead, it is a tool whereby prospective undergraduate students are provided a clear, direct comparison between schools as they make a college choice.

The plan can help all students review aid and compare financial offers from multiple schools. It is also required as part of the Principles of Excellence, a presidential directive for the U.S. Departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs, and Education to establish a set of principles to enhance consumer protection for service members, veterans, and other military personnel and their families regarding the use of veteran and military education benefits.

Your College Financing Plan is both year-specific and student-specific and is linked with your financial aid award offer in Catalyst or the Bearcat Portal.

Information Blocks

The college financing plan divides and displays item including costs and aid in some rather unique ways. It is important to understand the breakdown of the information in order to make the plan as helpful as possible.

  • Expected Family Contribution or Student Aid Index – The Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) was used through 2023-24 and was replaced by the Student Aid Index (SAI) beginning in 2024-25. It is the indexed aid-eligibility number determined by your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA looks at income (and in limited fashion at assets) to put everyone on a similar playing field. It is used to gage your financial aid eligibility at UC and other schools. It is not what you pay for your education nor is it the amount of federal student aid you will receive. Your unique circumstances and financial aid eligibility will affect the actual amount you contribute toward your education. UC uses the FAFSA-determined calculation for all students. We do not calculate a separate EFC or SAI for institutional purposes.
  • Total Cost of Attendance – These figures are your estimated budgeted UC costs for an academic year that include both tuition and non-tution costs. It can also be presented as estimated amounts for direct/billed (tuition and fees, on-campus housing) and in-direct/non-billed (off-campus rent, books, etc.) items. While some cost areas may be more or less expensive based on your personal choices, amounts are an estimation of your costs.
  • Scholarship and Grants Options – These blocks break down your merit and need-based aid sources that are not repayable and fall into the various categories noted. While it would be great if we could offer scholarship and grant assistance to all students, some students are not eligible for these funds. Additionally, if you have scholarships outside of UC not noted (particularly as "other scholarships," it is important to share that information with UC as other aid sources could be impacted by such awards.
  • College Costs You Will Be Required to Pay – This amount is an estimate and only takes the total estimated cost of attendance (including many non-billed expenses) and subtracts grants and scholarships. The form requires your to be given this comparison. However, net costs are more often calculated as out-of-pocket expenses by looking at your billed expenses minus all other aid resources (including loans and other resources). Including non-billed expenses (such as known housing, meal, book, and other costs) will help shape your overall budgeting process.
  • Loan and Work Options to Pay the Net Costs to You – The amounts listed show what you are eligible to take in loans and what you are eligible to earn through work-study. These are not requirements for you to borrow or work. UC cannot recommend an amount to borrow as we do not know your total resources (to include family gifts or assistance, employment assistance programs, veteran's education benefits, etc.). With planning, students can accept a reduced loan amount. We recommend borrowing the lowest loan amount you can in order to make post-college life easier. Examine your expenses as well as all resources when creating your budget to determine how much (if any) loan funding you elect to pursue.
    • Loans will carry an interest rate even if 0% is indicated. Many loans vary from student-to-student or loan-to-loan based on the terms of the loan and the credit history of the borrower. The default of 0% for private and institutional loans indicates that, as a borrower, you should refer to your loan documents to be aware of your interest rate as we have not been informed of your specific rate.
    • When offered work-study, the earning potential is listed. What you actually earn will be based on your hourly salary and hours worked in your job.
    • "Hours per week" and "other campus job" will be for your determination.
    • Work-study is awarded via the financial aid award offer. Other work options exit as well.
    • Co-op, an employment program required within many UC programs, is not listed on the college financing plan but often helps students meet college costs throughout their education.

Next Steps

Accepting aid occurs within Catalyst, the UC student information system. Students should log in to act on aid sources. When additional steps are needed to receive accepted aid or complete aid processes, items will often be added to the Catalyst "To Do" items unique to each student.

Additionally, students need to be enrolled (usually at least half-time) to receive aid during a term. Students enrolled part-time and on co-op could see adjustments to their awarded aid.

Available Assistance

The college financing plan can be helpful as a direct comparison tool between schools. However, as stated, it does not replace your understanding of awarded aid, eligibility requirements, and overall costs you will encounter.

We encourage you to use the information and many resources within the financial aid Website as you prepare for the expense of college.

Enrollment Services

Students can seek out assistance at Enrollment Services to get assistance on matters related to aid, billing, and class registration:  the ABCs of being a student.

Enrollment Services

Campus Locations:
Clifton/Uptown Campus - 220 University Pavilion
UC Blue Ash Campus - 150 Muntz Hall
UC Clermont Campus - 100 Student Services Bldg

You are not alone in the aid process. Please seek out assistance so that you can have a more planful approach to each semester ahead.

Veteran Programs & Services

Key to understanding some of the funding available to military veterans is working with UC's Office of Veterans Programs and Services (230 University Pavilion; 513-556-6811;

Located next to Enrollment Services on the Uptown Campus, the Veterans Programs and Services staff can assist with the certification of veteran educational benefits, work with you on the transfer of military credits, and provide key direction when a student is deployed during enrollment or is returning from an active military deployment.