What is an EFC Number on a FAFSA Application? | FAFSA Series Part III
With all the acronyms that are associated with the FAFSA application, it’s relatively easy to get confused and overwhelmed. More times than not, parents and students ask the question: “What is an EFC number on a FAFSA application”? In this third installment in our FAFSA Application Series, we’re going to clear up a little confusion that you may have regarding FAFSA and your EFC.
What is an EFC Number on a FAFSA Application?
Now that you’ve finished filling out the fafsa application and submitted it for review, you should be receiving a Student Aid Report (SAR) which contains a figue that’s known as your Expected Family Contribution, or EFC. This figure is the amount of money that the Federal Government expects you to be able to pay, per year, for college expenses and tuition.
This dollar amount will be different for each family. The Federal Government takes many different factors into consideration to arrive at your EFC, including:
- Current family income
- Family Savings, College Funds and Investments
- Number of family members enrolled in college
- Family size
- Cost of the school you plan on attending
How is EFC Calculated?
Now that we’ve gotten the basics out of the way as to what is an EFC number on a FAFSA application, let’s explain the next question you’ll have: How is EFC calculated?
In an attempt to not confuse you any more than you already are, here is the simple explanation. FAFSA and your school of choice are both involved in how they arrive at your specific EFC. Every college costs a different amount when it comes to tuition, so it makes sense to involve the college or university so that you are given the best chance financially, to attend a number of schools. Your EFC is given to the college so that they are able to put together a financial aid package that fits you best, and in turn, helps you determine if you are able to attend that specific school or not.
From there, your Financial Need will be computed to come up with what the college considers a Financial Award Letter. Here is a basic look at how they determine your Financial Need:
Cost of Attendance (at each specific college)
- Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
= Your Financial Need
So based on that figure, you will get a Financial Award Letter that tells you exactly what you getting (in Grant Money, Loans etc), and what you are expected to pay for out of pocket.
A Few Things to Consider
Federal Student Aid can help you realize your dream to attend college. But in most cases, they will not give you the full amount to cover all of your costs in college. There will be a percentage of the costs that you and your parents will have to figure out on your own. If you cannot afford it out-of-pocket, you will have to look into Private Student Loans.
Also, when you apply via FAFSA, you are automatically considered for Pell Grant and Work Study Program so there is no separate application or process you need to finish. Generally speaking, the lower your EFC, the larger the amount of aid you will receive.
So in plain language: What is an EFC number on a FAFSA application? It’s the amount of money you need to pay for college that the Federal Government won’t cover.
Other FAFSA Related Articles:
- FAFSA EFC Explained – How is EFC Calculated?
- FAFSA Parent Plus Loan – Should You Take One?
- Types of FAFSA Loans - What Are Your Options?