FAFSA EFC (Expected Family Contribution)

What’s the FAFSA EFC number on my Student Aid Report (SAR)?

Once you complete your FAFSA form, your EFC (Expected Family Contribution) will be provided to you on your Student Aid Report.

This number is the amount of money your family is expected to contribute towards your college expenses each school year.

The Lower, The Better

As a rule of thumb, the lower your FAFSA EFC, the better. Students who have low EFC’s, typically receive the most amount of financial aid. There are various factors that play into your EFC – size of your family, number of family members, current earnings, family savings, etc.

The information that you included on your FAFSA form is used to calculate your FAFSA EFC. Your official EFC number can be found on your Student Aid Report (SAR). You should expect to receive this report about 2-3 weeks after you complete the FAFSA form (if you completed the online version).

Who else uses my FAFSA EFC?

You’re not the only one who receives your office FAFSA EFC information; it is also sent to all of the colleges and universities that you listed on your FAFSA form. The financial aid office will use this information to determine your financial need.

How Can They Determine How Much Money I Need?

In financial aid terms, “financial need” is defined as the school’s cost of attendance (COA) minus your expected family contribution (EFC).

In other words, FINANCIAL NEED = COA – EFC

Cost of Attendance (COA) typically includes the following:

1. Tuition and Fees

2. Room and Board

3. Books and Supplies

4. Travel Expenses

5. Personal and Incidental Expenses

What if my FAFSA EFC is really high?

It’s not unusual for students to have high FAFSA EFC’s. This typically happens because the need analysis performed by the FAFSA formula is heavily weighted toward current income.

The FAFSA formula focuses more on parent’s (assuming the student is a mine) and student’s income and assets without taking consumer debt into account – like credit cards and car loans. Your FAFSA EFC may also be high if you (the student) earned a significant income or owned valuable assets.

Review Your SAR…It’s Important

You should also be sure to review all of the information on your SAR to make sure it’s right. If you find errors, call the college’s financial aid department to ask how you can make corrections.

Still have more FAFSA EFC Questions?

If you still have more FAFSA form questions, visit the FAFSA.ed.gov site directly.

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Lauren Anderson is a certified school counselor who's passionate about helping students all over the world successfully transition from high school to college! After spending 6 years as a business professional, she obtained her Master’s degree in School Counseling and now spends her spare time helping students.

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