Financial need calculation


Most federal financial aid is based on financial need. Using the data collected on the FAFSA, your financial need will be calculated as:

  Cost of Attendance
- Expected Family Contribution
  Financial Need

Cost of Attendance

Cost of Attendance includes tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, transportation and other personal expenses.

Expected Family Contribution

The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is a measure of a student’s and his or her family’s financial strength and resources that should be available to help pay for the student’s education. The EFC is calculated from the information you report on the FAFSA and a formula established by law. Your family’s income and assets are considered in determining your EFC. Your EFC will appear on the Student Aid Report (SAR) you receive after you apply for the FAFSA.

Estimating your financial aid

If you want an estimate of your financial aid award, use the FAFSA4caster.

Colleges must include all funding resources as part of a student’s financial aid package. Resources include federal and state grants, scholarships, waivers, fellowships, assistantships, certain Veterans benefits, AmeriCorps, Federal Work Study, loan, and any other educational benefits paid to cover expenses because of enrollment.

If it is determined that you do not have financial need, you can still apply for an unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan or scholarships based on merit. In addition, parents can apply for PLUS loans.

The Federal Student Aid website offers an overview of the financial aid process.

What does the term EFC stand for?