Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

"Expected Family Contribution (EFC)" submitted by SchoolGrantsfor Editorial Team and last updated on Monday 9th January 2012

The amount of money that the family is expected to be able to contribute to the student's education, as determined by the Federal Methodology need analysis formula approved by Congress. The EFC includes the parent contribution and the student contribution, and depends on the student's dependency status, family size, number of family members in school, taxable and nontaxable income, and assets. The difference between the COA and the EFC is the student's financial need, and is used in determining the student's eligibility for need-based financial aid. If you have unusual financial circumstances (such as high medical expenses, loss of employment or death of a parent) that may affect your ability to pay for your education, tell your financial aid administrator (FAA). He or she can adjust the COA or EFC to compensate.

For FAFSA, EFC is a preliminary estimate that measures your family´s financial strength. It is subtracted from the Cost of Attendance at the school(s) you plan to attend to determine your eligibility for federal student aid. They will send you a report, called a Student Aid Report (SAR) by e-mail or by postal mail depending on the addresses that they have on file for you. The SAR lists the information you reported on your FAFSA. At the upper right of the front page of the SAR, you will find a number called the EFC.

Your cost of attendance minus (-) Your expected family contribution = Your demonstrated financial need

The amount of money that the family is expected to be able to contribute to the student's education, as determined by the Federal Methodology need analysis formula approved by Congress. The EFC includes the parent contribution and the student contribution, and depends on the student's dependency status, family size, number of family members in school, taxable and nontaxable income, and assets. The difference between the COA and the EFC is the student's financial need, and is used in determining the student's eligibility for need-based financial aid. If you have unusual financial circumstances (such as high medical expenses, loss of employment or death of a parent) that may affect your ability to pay for your education, tell your financial aid administrator (FAA). He or she can adjust the COA or EFC to compensate.

Schools use your EFC to prepare a financial aid package (grants, loans, and/or work-study) to help you meet your financial need. Financial need is the difference between your EFC and your school´s cost of attendance (which can include living expenses).

Your EFC will stay the same no matter which college you attend. However, you may be eligible for different types and amounts of aid at different colleges, since each college has its own COA and financial aid funds.

Keep in mind that your EFC may or may not be the actual amount you end up paying for college. For example, your college’s COA includes actual costs for tuition and fees, but reflects average costs for housing, food, transportation and personal expenses. You may spend less or more than these costs. If your college is unable to meet all of your financial need, your actual contribution may be more than your calculated EFC. Your EXPECTED FAMILY CONTRIBUTION (EFC) will determine the types and amounts of federal and state aid you qualify for.

If you’re a dependent student, your EFC will be based on:

If you’re an independent student, your EFC will take into account:

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