What Is Expected Family Contribution (EFC)?

If you are a parent getting ready to send one or more kids to college, it’s important that you know your expected family contribution (EFC). EFC is an index number that determines how much financial aid you are eligible to receive for college.

Put simply, when you submit the required FAFSA for financial aid for your student, the government calculates how much they think the student’s family can afford to put towards a year of college education. The number they arrive at is your Expected Family Contribution or EFC.

How to Calculate Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

You can calculate your Expected Family Contribution for free by using our EFC calculator and filling out the form on this page. We will ask you a series of questions based on our knowledge of the federal and institutional formulas to help give you an idea of what you can expect your EFC to be.

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Why Is Expected Family Contribution Important?

The Expected Family Contribution is very important because it is a major determining factor in how much need-based student aid a student can expect to receive. If your EFC is $15,000, and a year of the college your student wants to attend costs $40,000, the government will determine your financial aid based on a need of $25,000.

This does not necessarily mean you will receive $25,000 of aid, but that is the goal the colleges and universities are trying to help you work towards. The higher your EFC, the lower need-based financial aid award you can expect to receive. Note this is only for need-based aid — it has no effect on scholarships or private grants and is not necessarily a factor if you are seeking private loans.

What Is Included in the Expected Family Contribution?

The EFC calculation can be based on both a federal formula and/or an institutional formula that includes factors like your income — both taxed and untaxed — assets, including any equity in your home, as well as the size of your family and how many children you have attending college. The federal and institutional formulas are slightly different, for example, the federal formula does not count most untaxed assets or home equity, however, the institutional formula may include these items.

What to Do Once You Have Your EFC Calculated

Once you have your EFC, you will know where you stand with respect to your child’s potential educational costs. The first thing you will need to establish is: Do you have enough money to cover the EFC? Then you will want to figure out what you need to do to make sure you get the maximum possible need-based award to cover the difference between the EFC and your child’s tuition.

Ecliptic Financial Advisors can help. We offer strategies for paying for college without getting stuck paying student loans for the rest of your life. Once you have your EFC, contact us to reserve a spot in one of our free workshops or to schedule a free one-on-one consultation. We can help guide you through the financial aid process, taking the mystery out of it so that you can do what’s best for your child and your family’s finances.

Do you know how much you’ll be paying at your child’s top choice school? How about available scholarships? Financial aid? Find out all this and more for free by using our EFC calculator or contact us to speak with an advisor for a free consultation.