What Is the FAFSA EFC?

In the world of financial aid, EFC stands for Expected Family Contribution. When your eligibility for financial aid is being determined, the EFC is the amount your family is expected to contribute toward your education.

First, you will need to complete the FAFSA at www.fafsa.ed.gov. This online form is used by the Department of Education to determine eligibility for financial aid. Tax information is needed, and most students will need the help of a parent to complete the form.

About a month after you submit your FAFSA, you will receive your Student Aid Report (SAR). Your SAR will include your EFC and will be used by the schools you wish to attend to determine a financial aid package. Each school that accepts you will send you an Award Letter that outlines all of the financial aid you are eligible to receive.

The aid you are offered will normally include a mix of scholarships, grants, and student loans. You may choose to accept some, none, or all of the financial aid being offered.

It is important to remember that the lower your EFC is, the more financial aid you will potentially be offered by each school. And the higher your EFC is, the more you and your family will be expected to pay out of pocket.

If you have a parent with high annual income, you may discover that your EFC is very high and difficult to pay. If this is the case and your family cannot afford to pay your EFC, contact the financial aid office at your school. The financial aid office may be able to recommend ways to considerably lower your EFC.

It is also important to carefully review all of the information on your SAR. Errors on your SAR may affect your EFC. If anything on the SAR is incorrect, call your financial aid administrator and find out how to make corrections.

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