EFC for FAFSA: What it is and how to calculate it
Jan 31, · The EFC is the number that results from filling out your FAFSA. (Get info on FAFSA here.) According to the FAFSA official site, “The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is a measure of your family’s financial strength, and is calculated according to a formula established by law” The EFC will be expressed as number equivalent to a dollar amount. For example, is $12,Estimated Reading Time: 6 mins. The EFC is determined by a formula designed by Congress, and is an estimate of how much you and your family are able to contribute toward your education expenses, based on information from the FAFSA. It is the maximum expected contribution, not necessarily what you actually must or will wooustoday.comted Reading Time: 4 mins.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is an application that families or individuals complete to apply for federal grants, loans or work-study funds for college tuition and fees. The application process is free, and it is managed though the U. Department of Education. The U. Your eligibility for assistance, and how much assistance you qualify for, is determined by your Expected Family Contribution.
Eligibility will always depend on your current financial status, and your current financial needs based on the information you submit during the application process. Applicants may either be eligible for student grants, which do not have to be paid qn, or student loans, which do require repayment. In order to be eligible for student aid, you must first determine your EFC. Your EFC is an index score and will be used what elements make up glass determine your level of financial need.
The EFC will then determine how much financial aid you are eligible for. This may include social security or unemployment aan. Once calculated, the EFC will essentially mean whether wha not you are eligible for federal student aid. Eligible applicants may receive Pell Grants or subsidized student loans, but ineligible efv may apply for scholarships or non-subsidized loans.
If you are eligible, the EFC will determine exactly how much financial aid you can get. The EFC is used to determine your eligibility for federal student aid. There is a set of specific calculations used to determine your eligibility. This total number is then subtracted from the total cost of attendance.
You may be wondering what is a good EFC score. What is the volume of the nile river it comes to EFC, the lower the better.
The more income and assets the student and parents have, obviously the less aid the student will be eligible for. Generally, the lower your EFC score, the more aid you are eligible for. Additionally, students with a zero EFC score will also be eligible for different types of aid, specifically grants that do not need to be paid back. In this case, students may need to seek out additional sources of funding. It is possible mezn improve your EFC score. Improving or lowering your EFC will increase your eligibility for financial aid.
Consider improving your EFC score by paying off large debts. Always delay big ticket purchases such as a car until after you have completed the FAFSA application process. Melanie Forstall has a doctorate in education and has worked in the field of education for over 20 years. She has been a teacher, grant writer, program director, and higher education instructor.
She is a freelance writer specializing in education, and education related content. Additionally, she has co-authored book chapters specializing what can you do with apple tv providing services for students with disabilities.
How Your EFC Affects Federal Aid
The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is a number that determines students’ eligibility for certain types of federal student aid. This number is calculated with the EFC formulas, which use. Jan 20, · EFC or Expected Family Contribution is the amount of money that a college estimates that your family can afford. This is calculated as part of your financial aid application process through the FAFSA, CSS Profile, or other financial aid forms. You can think about your EFC as the “baseline” for your financial aid wooustoday.comted Reading Time: 5 mins. Your Expected Family Contribution (“EFC”) is the “major driving factor” in determining financial aid eligibility and the structure of the financial aid award. Other factors which are involved are; Your Year in College. Your Enrollment Status. Cost of wooustoday.comted Reading Time: 3 mins.
While colleges do tend to use your EFC to help determine institutional scholarships and loans, determining how your EFC might affect your federal options is easy because the Department of Education has clear and uniform guidelines on how much money you can receive based on your EFC. Federal aid programs, such as the Pell Grant, are fairly predictable. Keep in mind that a student's enrollment status, such as half-time or full-time, changes the Pell amount for which the student is eligible.
Going to school half-time gets half the amount of Pell grant money. In the federal government's Direct Loan Program , students can receive loans at amounts preset by the government. There are two kinds of Direct Loans: subsidized and unsubsidized. It's important to note:. Institutions use a student's EFC as a barometer for a student's financial need. Within the COA , schools calculate:. Institutions that offer grants sometimes use the Pell grant chart or they use a similar EFC chart system to determine eligibility for school-specific grants, but these factors vary at each school.
A common practice, however, is to award a flat amount for each student who has enough financial need to qualify for their need-based grant. The following are a few examples of how a school might use your EFC to determine your total financial aid award.
It's important to note that your EFC code generally does not affect merit awards. Merit awards are given based on talent in the arts, athletics or academics. However, merit awards may be factored into a student's financial aid package. In addition, depending on the merit awards available, a school may forego a need-based grant in favor of a higher merit-based scholarship.
However, this typically won't affect the bottom line, it's just a matter of the school pulling money from different resources. The following examples below show how a school may look at your EFC to complete your financial aid package.
These examples assume that the student is a dependent and going to school full time. The following examples assume the students are dependents who are first-year students going to school full time. They also assume that the formula the school uses to determine institution-based grants is similar to the Pell grant chart and that anyone who qualifies for need will get it.
While tuition at this school is not high, the school has few resources to give students merit or school-based grants. The following examples are how a school might use a student's EFC Code. For example, this student is eligible for:.
Note: These numbers are arbitrary to give you an idea of how a college might award financial aid. They may do this out-of-pocket many colleges have payment plans , using outside scholarships or by taking out a loan. A student with an EFC at the same college is still eligible for some financial aid from the federal government:. The school gives a flat need-based grant to everyone who is eligible for federal financial aid.
In addition, the school adds merit aid to the student's package. While this school has a more expensive sticker price, some families may find that it's actually cheaper than going to a school that doesn't necessarily have the resources to help students out financially.
A school with moderate resources may be able to give more in merit aid or need-based grants. What happens when a student's EFC is too high to get a Pell grant? While families can expect to pay more out-of-pocket, a school with moderate resources may still be able to offset some of the cost of attendance.
For example, this student's financial aid package could look like this:. This is the amount her family might have to pay out of pocket. Note: as the EFC gets higher, the first aid type to disappear is the Pell Grant, followed by the Subsidized Loan, followed by any need-based grant or loan offered by the school.
This is a common pattern, though every financial aid award will vary. In this scenario, the school has the budget to award a large need-based grant, loan and a large merit-based scholarship. In addition, they have funds to attract top students in various fields to help round out the campus.
Consequently, they consider more than just the EFC while deciding on awards, and make a point to offer generous merit-based grants to worthy students. Consequently, the school adds:. Many times, students and families believe that they cannot apply to a school that is anywhere outside of their budget because they do not qualify for need.
However, schools with large endowments often have the resources to help fund an entire education. This merit student didn't qualify for any need-based loans or grants. With that said, she has won a national competition, is active in the community in volunteering, and holds leadership positions in two clubs at school.
Her financial aid might look like this:. The key to understanding need-based financial aid is simple: the difference between your EFC and the total Cost of Attendance associated with your educational plans will determine your financial need.
It's important to note that a school's Cost of Attendance includes tuition, required student fees, student housing, board, textbooks, necessary supplies and transportation to and from school. Just because a school is expensive, don't write them off. If the school has large financial resources, you might end up paying less out-of-pocket at that expensive school compared to a cheaper school that has fewer resources for financial aid.
Some schools offer institutional need-based financial aid programs separate from federal student aid. An EFC code is used to determine eligibility for these types of programs as well, but the number is calculated a little differently. You'll need to complete a FAFSA and any additional financial aid paperwork required by your school to find out what your institutional EFC is, and what it means for your ability to secure private or institutional funding.
These school-specific programs are often designed to help students who are not eligible for much, or any, federal aid, but still need help paying for school. Your EFC is not the only factor that determines how much aid or what types of aid you are qualified to receive. Other factors may affect the amount of aid you receive, including:. While it's not possible to get an exact figure for your EFC code on your own, the College Board provides an online EFC calculator that you can use to produce an estimate.
And be sure to specify whether you want to see a federal or institutional calculation. Even if you think you will have a low EFC and plenty of financial aid eligibility, do not delay in filling out the FAFSA and any other financial aid forms your school requires to complete an initial financial aid package for you.
Some federal and institutional programs are first come, first serve, so you want to apply while funds are still available. Ideally, you should fill out your FAFSA in January, using estimated tax information if necessary which you can correct later with the school once the household has finalized its taxes , and then fill out any school-specific financial aid forms.
Federal Direct Loans In the federal government's Direct Loan Program , students can receive loans at amounts preset by the government. This is why Unsubsidized Loans have the same amounts across the board in the examples above.
Not all students, however, will qualify for the Subsidized Direct Loan. Determining Eligibility Institutions that offer grants sometimes use the Pell grant chart or they use a similar EFC chart system to determine eligibility for school-specific grants, but these factors vary at each school. Financial Aid Package Examples The following examples below show how a school may look at your EFC to complete your financial aid package.
Student With EFC of Student With EFC of A school with moderate resources may be able to give more in merit aid or need-based grants. Merit Student With EFC of Many times, students and families believe that they cannot apply to a school that is anywhere outside of their budget because they do not qualify for need. How the EFC Code Is Created The key to understanding need-based financial aid is simple: the difference between your EFC and the total Cost of Attendance associated with your educational plans will determine your financial need.
So how is the EFC code created? This number is based on a variety of factors, including household income, assets of both students and parents, the size of your family and the number of family members enrolled in college at the same time.
If you are considered a dependent student, information specific to your parents' financial situation will be used. If you are independent, your own financial details will be used. If you have a high EFC code, this doesn't mean you can't get any help to go to school. It just means that any federal aid you receive is likely to come in the form of Direct Unsubsidized Loans. Understanding Institutional EFC Codes Some schools offer institutional need-based financial aid programs separate from federal student aid.
Other factors may affect the amount of aid you receive, including: Whether you plan to attend school full-time or part-time The base cost of tuition at your educational institution The mix of products in your aid package. Do Not Procrastinate Even if you think you will have a low EFC and plenty of financial aid eligibility, do not delay in filling out the FAFSA and any other financial aid forms your school requires to complete an initial financial aid package for you.
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