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Do You Know What “Expected Family Contribution” Means?

09.30.2014, by Susan Conolly
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09/30/2014 Published by: Suzanne

If you’ve not had a child head off to college, chances are you don’t know what “Expected Family Contribution” (EFC) stands for.  Yet with the rising costs associated with earning a college degree, it’s important that you understand both what it means, and how it’s calculated.  Below we provide some resources for calculating yours, so that you have a better feel for the true “out-of-pocket” cost for your student’s college education.

The Office of Federal Student Aid of the U.S. Department of Education defines EFC as “an index number that college financial aid staff use to determine how much financial aid you would receive if you were to attend their school. The information you report on your FAFSA* is used to calculate your EFC.  The EFC 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) all could be considered in the formula.  Also considered are your family size and the number of family members who will attend college or career school during the year.”

The College Board has an EFC Calculator to help you determine a general estimate of your family’s EFC.  If you know of a specific school or list of schools that your student is interested in attending, you can use each school’s “Net Price Calculator” (usually available on the school’s website) to get a more accurate estimate of the true cost to your family for your student to attend that particular institution.

More information on and resources for transitioning your student to college are available in the SchoolQuest Resource Library!

*Learn what “FAFSA” stands for by reading our blog entry “FAFSA Facts – Things you need to know!”

**Help us get the word out about SchoolQuest.org™ by liking us on Facebook!  SchoolQuest.org™ is an initiative of the Military Child Education Coalition® (MCEC®). Follow us on the MCEC® Twitter feed . . . for the sake of the child!