|Cliché:||As I expected.|
|POCS Reality:||The federal government calculates the student’s expected family contribution to college costs.|
Do you know what your EFC is? Without it, colleges can’t determine eligibility for many financial aid programs.
What is EFC
EFC stands for Expected Family Contribution. That’s the number the federal government calculates by applying a formula to the data submitted by a student on his FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).
A student’s EFC is a measure of his family’s financial strength. The higher the number, the more the family can afford to contribute to college costs.
Why EFC is important
Colleges use the EFC to determine financial aid awards based on financial need. EFC is subtracted from the college’s cost of attendance (COA). The resulting number is the student’s financial need. As college costs rise, COA and EFC concern families at all income levels.
Many colleges do not meet 100% of student need. Colleges may include all forms of financial aid as meeting need. That means student loans that must be paid back or a job from the Federal Work-Study program may be awarded along with free money grants that do not have to be paid back. Out-of-pocket costs are increased when 100% of need is not met or is met by aid that must be paid back or earned. The more free money students receive, the better the financial aid award.
Some colleges use other formulas based on other financial aid forms to determine eligibility for institutional aid. States also have different formulas for their state financial aid programs. To maximize eligibility, file all forms the college requires and answer any requests for additional info as early as possible and before deadlines.
POCSmom’s College Prep DIY Insight: Find out your college’s financial aid polices for meeting student need. When admitted, compare financial aid awards carefully to calculate your out-of-pocket costs. Use POCSmom’s charts that also include costs of borrowing. Students can appeal financial aid awards and demonstrate why they are inadequate, given their special financial circumstances that may not be reflected by their EFC.