Financial Aid Offer Guide

Congratulations on your acceptance to Mizzou! We’re excited to welcome you to the Tiger family.

Use this guide as a reference when reading your financial aid offer notification from Mizzou.

What to do if you’re worried about the amount of aid you’ve been offered

When you receive your financial aid offer notification, it’s normal to experience some stress. We understand, and we’re here to help you understand how to maximize your financial aid and make informed decisions about funding your education.

If you’re worried that your initial aid offer doesn’t cover enough of your expenses, check out the “Maximizing Your Aid” and “Managing Your Costs” sections below.


The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is a form you submit each year at that the government and universities use to calculate your eligibility for grants, scholarships and student loans. Submit your FAFSA by our Jan. 7 priority deadline to maximize your aid. Learn more at

Cost of Attendance (COA)

An estimated amount of education expenses (tuition, books and supplies, housing and dining, personal expenses, transportation expenses). This number can change year to year. This estimate includes both direct costs and indirect costs, defined below. Learn more in our Costs of Mizzou tab.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

A number, based on your FAFSA information, that schools use to evaluate your eligibility to receive federal, state, and institutional financial aid. It is not the amount of money your family will have to pay for college. Learn more about EFC.

Financial Need

Financial need is the difference between the cost of attendance (COA) and your expected family contribution (EFC).

Direct Costs

Includes your tuition, fees, and on-campus housing and dining costs. You can choose to make adjustments to some of these costs, as outlined in the “Managing Your Costs” section below.

Indirect Costs

Extra costs associated with going to school, including textbooks, class supplies, off-campus housing and commute costs. These costs are more variable depending on your personal situation, so the amount listed in your COA is a rough estimate. See the “Managing Your Costs” section below for more information.

Additional Authorized Access

To give a parent, family member, or other trusted person access to your billing and payment information (for example, so a family member can make payments on your account), you’ll need to grant them permission in myZou and set up authorized users in the TouchNet payment system. More info here.

Federal Work-Study

This program provides eligible students opportunities for part-time work to help fund their education. Learn more here.


If you’re from out of state, becoming a Missouri resident makes you eligible for in-state tuition rates. The process takes one year and could save you more than $20,000. An important note, though: becoming a Missouri resident will change your eligibility for certain scholarships, so make sure you read all the available information to make sure this is the right path for you. Learn more on the Registrar’s website.

Renewal Criteria

To remain eligible for scholarships each year, you’ll need to make sure you meet certain academic and credit hour criteria. Find renewal criteria for each of your scholarships in our Types of Aid tab.

Note: the graphic below is just an example. Your individual aid offer will have different amounts listed!

Image shows a chart with a sample financial aid offer. Explanations for each section of the chart are listed below this image.
1-Estimated Cost of Attendance

Each student’s individual COA will be different. We use averages to give you a general idea of your costs. The costs are broken up into direct costs and indirect costs (see “Terms to Know” above). Some indirect costs may appear on your Mizzou bill, but most won’t.

2-Estimated Financial Aid Offer(s)

This section shows estimates for the types of financial aid you qualify for from Mizzou. These estimated amounts are subject to change based on factors like how many credit hours you take and what other forms of aid you accept from outside the university. These types of aid don’t need to be repaid. Many are renewable but have specific criteria you’ll need to meet each time you renew to maintain eligibility.

3-Estimated Student Loan Option(s)

The loans listed here are federal loans offered by the US Department of Education. Some loans are subsidized, and others are unsubsidized. Subsidized loans don’t accrue interest while you’re in school. Unsubsidized loans do. You’ll have to complete a Master Promissory Note and loan entrance counselling, both on, if you accept any amount of student loans.

4-Additional Funding Options to Consider

This section is only applicable in certain circumstances. It includes federal work-study and the Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS). Learn more about parent loans.

Visit the Types of Aid tab to find information about aid sources listed on your financial aid offer.

If your financial aid offer from Mizzou does not cover enough of your estimated COA, here are some sources of additional aid.

Here are some ideas to lower your costs at Mizzou.

  • Choose a different meal plan. If you prefer to make some of your own meals, you can opt for a reduced meal plan.
  • Lower your indirect costs by buying used textbooks or borrowing them from a student who has already taken the course. Other class materials may be available used, too.
  • Instead of bringing a car to campus, consider a bike or the campus and city.
  • Out-of-state students can save upwards of $20,000 in tuition over time by establishing Missouri residency. The process takes one year. Learn more about residency.

Important Dates

Dec. 1 - Scholarship deadline for first-time college students

Jan. 7 - Scholarship deadline for current & transfer students

Feb. 1 - FAFSA priority deadline