The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is a measure of your family’s financial strength and is calculated according to a formula established by law. Your family’s taxed and untaxed income, assets, and benefits (such as unemployment or Social Security) are all considered in the formula. Also considered are your family size and the number of family members who will attend college during the year. The information you report on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or your FAFSA4caster is used to calculate your EFC. Schools use the EFC to determine your federal student aid eligibility and financial aid award.
- Your EFC is not the amount of money your family will have to pay for college nor is it the amount of federal student aid you will receive. It is a number used by your school to calculate the amount of federal student aid you are eligible to receive.
- Students and their families are expected to contribute to the cost of college to the extent that they’re able.
- Your EFC ultimately plays a pivotal role in determining how much financial aid you can get from the federal government.
- Your Expected Family Contribution is used by schools to estimate how much need-based aid (such as grants, loans, and work-study) you can collect. Conversely, your EFC is not used to determine how much other financing options (such as Unsubsidized Direct or Parent PLUS Loans) you can claim.
- A low EFC means you may be eligible for a larger financial aid package. A higher EFC means you may have to rely on unsubsidized loans to fill your tuition shortfall.
- When it’s put on paper, your estimated Expected Family Contribution is a simple dollar figure. For some borrowers, it will be as little as $0. For others, as much as the full cost of attendance.
- Funding Your Education: The Guide to Federal Student Aid
- EFC Calculator
- Why the ‘Expected Family Contribution’ Is Key to Your Financial Aid Award (Article)