Financial aid professionals often use financial aid terms that may seem confusing. One of those terms is "Estimated Family Contribution," or, "EFC."
What is it and how does the government determine it? Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is determined by your FAFSA information. EFC is the amount of resources that a family should be able to contribute toward a student's education. EFC is an index based on your family's income, the size of your family, the age of your parents, the number of family members in college at the same time, and other factors. EFC is very different for every family as it considers much more than income.
Below are two examples demonstrating how two students with the same family income have significantly different EFCs due to some of the other family information which is used in the EFC calculation:
Two parents, three children
Two in college
Older parent is 50
Two wage-earners, making $75K
EFC is $4,443 annually
Two parents, one child
One in college
Older parent is 40
One wage-earner, making $75K
EFC is $13,201 annually
Every family is different and we encourage all students to apply for financial aid through the FAFSA, even if they believe they are not eligible for any aid. Some colleges require a FAFSA even for merit-based aid programs, so it is to your benefit to file it even if you believe your family's income is too high.
Another common term you will hear with EFC is "need." This is a short version of "financial need," which is determined by subtracting your EFC from the cost of attendance (see glossary). Your EFC is the same for every school but your need will be different because the cost of attendance at each school is different.
Private universities, including College of Saint Mary, do as much as they can to fill your need, based upon their costs and your EFC.