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Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

What Is an EFC?

Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is a number that is created by the Department of Education after you submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

They take the information from your FAFSA and use a formula that includes various factors like income, assets, family size, where you live, and the number of children in college. This formula creates your EFC. If you need something to compare it to, it is similar to how there is a formula that determines how much you need to pay in income taxes each year. And - just like with income taxes - your EFC can change each year. That is one of the reasons it is important to submit a FAFSA every aid year.

Despite the name, your EFC is NOT what you are expected to contribute financially to your education. Depending on a lot of different factors - including things like how much merit-based aid you have earned - your out-of-pocket expenses for your education could be more or less than your EFC.

What your EFC really does is helps financial aid professionals determine how much financial need-based aid you are eligible to receive. Financial aid that is based on financial need may include - but is not limited to - things like grants, Federal Work-Study, or subsidized loans. Please note that some merit-based aid may also require students to have financial need, depending on criteria set by the provider of the aid.

Where Can You Find Your EFC?

Your EFC can be found on your Student Aid Report (SAR), which is sent to you by Federal Student Aid after you submit your FAFSA for the aid year. No clue where your SAR email is? Students can access a copy online! To find your EFC:

  1. Go to the Federal Student Aid website
  2. Click the Log In button
  3. Click the "I am the student" option
  4. Enter your Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID) to log in
  5. Accept the terms of usage (if it prompts you to do so)
  6. Make sure the tab you are on is for the correct aid year
  7. Scroll down to the "You can also" section
  8. Click on the link to "View or Print your Student Aid Report (SAR)" (if you submitted or made corrections to your FAFSA within the past 72 hours, this may not be available yet)
  9. Your EFC will show on the top right of your SAR