Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is a number schools use to calculate your financial aid award.
Typically, the lower your EFC, the more financial aid you will receive. Factors such as family size, number of family members in college, family savings, and current earnings (information you provide on the FAFSA) are used to calculate this figure.
Where can you find your EFC?
Once your FAFSA is processed, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) with your official EFC figure.
How is your EFC used?
You’re not the only one who receives your EFC information. The same information is also sent to the schools you listed on the FAFSA. The financial aid office will use your EFC to determine your financial need.
Need is defined as the difference between the cost of attending college and your EFC:
Cost of attendance (COA) – EFC = Financial need
Based on this difference, the financial aid office will prepare a financial aid package and craft a financial award letter.
Your EFC does not differ from school to school
While cost of attendance varies from school to school, your EFC does not change based on the school you attend.
Federal EFC methodology
- Based on a formula established by the federal government.
- Takes into account family income, assets, household size, and the number of family members attending college.
- Determines eligibility for federally sponsored financial aid such as Pell Grants, Perkins and Stafford loans, and Federal Work-Study programs.
Institutional EFC methodology
- Used by institutions and organizations to determine a student's eligibility for institutionally based, private aid programs.
- May vary from college to college.
- Additional factors in a family's financial situation are occasionally considered to determine a student's eligibility for institutional need-based aid.
- May be used instead of, or in addition to, the federal EFC to determine eligibility to receive financial aid from college or private funds administered by the college.
The EFC is the Expected Family Contribution, not just your parents' contribution. Since you and your parents share the responsibility for paying for college, your financial contributions will be considered as well.