Do You Know Your E.F.C.?

Written by Lisa Bleich

The Expected Family Contribution or E.F.C. as it’s known in college financial aid circles, determines how much your family is expected to pay for college.  Steve Cohen’s March 21st article in The New York Times, A Quick Way To Cut College Costs does an excellent job describing why the E.F.C. needs to be readjusted to reflect what families can truly pay. Part of why the E.F.C. often seems out of whack with a family’s financial reality is that many colleges look at what a family can absorb in terms of debt over time, not just out-of-pocket expenditures in the next four years. 

But most people do not find out their E.F.C. until after they have applied and gotten into college and by then it is too late to do anything about it.  For families earlier in the process, it’s a great idea to determine your E.F.C. as early as possible to help identify a list of schools that will match your financial needs.

You can get an estimate of your E.F.C. by looking at a college’s Net Price Calculator.  A perfect time to do this is after you get your tax return, as all the numbers are available on it. If you know early on that you will not qualify for financial aid, you can target schools that offer merit aid.

So find out your E.F. C. today!

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