Expected Family Contribution
Expected Family Contribution (or EFC) is a term used in the college financial aid process in the United States to determine an applicant's eligibility for federal student aid. It is located on the Student Aid Report and Institutional Student Information Record received after completing the FAFSA. It is an estimate of the parents' and/or student's ability to contribute to post-secondary education expenses. Generally speaking, the lower the EFC the higher the financial aid award from the college may be. Zero is the lowest EFC number, and 99,999 is the highest. Dependent students qualify for an automatic zero EFC if their family’s income is below $23,000 dollars for the 2012 -2013 year and they either received funding from any of the Federal Benefits programs (SSI, Food Stamps, WIC, or Free and Reduced Lunch) or filed 1040A, 1040EZ11, or were not required to fill out a tax return, or parent is a dislocated worker.
The EFC is calculated based on a student's responses to questions in the FAFSA if the FAFSA was completed without significant errors. Some colleges and universities may use the CSS Profile to calculate EFC (or have their own form). A major difference between the FAFSA and the CSS Profile is that the CSS Profile takes home equity (value of your house) into account when determining ability to pay, while the FAFSA does not.
The EFC is usually subtracted from the cost of attendance (COA) of the college or university to determine a student's financial need. If COA > EFC, then a student has financial need.
Eligibility for a number of federal, state, local, and institutional aid programs is based on a student's EFC.
Items that will lower a student's EFC:
- Additional family members supported by the head of the household (e.g., siblings or grandparents who are living at home)
- Additional siblings in college
- Lower income (especially student income)
- Fewer assets (especially student assets)
Additionally, some colleges or universities will lower your EFC if you file an appeal for special circumstances such as:
- Loss of Employment
- Loss of Child Support, Alimony, etc.
- Separation or Divorce
- Death of Parent or Spouse
- Medical and Dental Expenses not covered by insurance
- Income was increased the applicable year because of a one-time lump sum that will most likely not occur again
For the 2010–2011 school year the maximum EFC for a student to be eligible for a Pell Grant is $5273.
- Unofficial EFC Calculator
- College Board EFC Calculator
- Federal Student Aid
- What's the Expected Family Contribution (EFC)?
- Know Your Expected Family Contribution
- U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid. Introduction to Federal Student Aid Course. Retrieved from: http://www2.ed.gov/offices/OSFAP/training/fundamentals/module.htm#m-1001-0