If you plan to send your kid to college, your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is THE most important financial number in your life. In order to be eligible for any student aid, scholarships or government grants, you must complete and file a FAFSA (Free Application For Student Aid) It's very important to know what your EFC is and you must complete the form correctly and accurately before you apply for colleges.
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Colleges use the financial information that you give them on the FAFSA® (financial aid application) to calculate your EFC to determine how much tuition you can afford to pay before they offer any grants and scholarships.
Many colleges even use your EFC to qualify your student for admissions and merit scholarships. Your EFC can literally be the difference between getting accepted, put on a wait list, or outright rejected.
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What is College Funding?
College financial aid, or college funding as it is more commonly referred, is defined as all monies that are provided to the student outside of the family and make up the difference between the college’s advertised cost of attendance and the amount the family pays from their own resources. Although some funding (Federal PELL and SEOG grants, for example) is geared towards lower income families, college funding as a whole is not a charitable operation but rather a strategic tool used by colleges and universities to attract the students they would most like to enroll.
Types of Funding
Gift Aid - This can include scholarships, endowment awards, tuition waivers, tuition discounts, and grants. As the name implies, gift aid does not have to be paid back. The colleges use many names for the gift aid they offer to students, but they are really all just a discount off of the school’s sticker price. A very simple, but powerful way to explain this to a prospective client is that there are two ways to pay for college; with your money or with someone else’s.
Self-Help Aid - This includes monies that the student either has to work for or is borrowed and must be paid back. Student loans, parent loans, campus employment, and Federal Work Study Programs are all considered self-help aid.
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NEVER, NEVER, NEVER complete the FAFSA® (financial aid application) before you know what your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) number is.
Do you have questions that need answers? Not sure what to do? Give us a call and we'll set up your free consultation to educate you, determine your current situation and get you moving in the right direction to reach your goals.
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