When applying for financial aid for college, one of the factors that determines how much aid you will receive is your estimated family contribution (EFC). The EFC is calculated based on your family’s income and assets, and it represents the amount of money that your family is expected to contribute towards your education. However, some families may find that their EFC is much higher than they anticipated. In this article, we will explore some of the reasons why your estimated family contribution may be high.
One of the main factors that contributes to a high EFC is a high family income. When calculating the EFC, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) takes into account your family’s income from the previous year. If your family had a high income during that year, your EFC may be higher as a result. Additionally, if your family’s income has increased since the previous year, your EFC may be even higher than expected.
Another factor that can lead to a high EFC is a high level of assets. When calculating the EFC, the FAFSA takes into account your family’s assets, such as savings accounts, investments, and property. If your family has a significant amount of assets, your EFC may be higher as a result. This can be especially true if your family’s assets are not exempt from consideration, such as equity in a family home or business.
Number of Dependents
The number of dependents in your family can also affect your EFC. If your family has multiple dependents in college at the same time, your EFC may be lower because it is divided among more students. On the other hand, if you are an only child or the only one in your family attending college, your EFC may be higher because your family’s resources are not being divided among multiple students.
Type of College
The type of college you plan to attend can also affect your EFC. For example, if you plan to attend a private college with a higher cost of attendance, your EFC may be higher because the expected family contribution is based on a percentage of the total cost of attendance. Additionally, some colleges may have their own institutional methodology for calculating financial aid, which may result in a higher EFC for some students.
Your estimated family contribution is an important factor in determining how much financial aid you will receive for college. While a high EFC may seem discouraging, it is important to remember that there are many factors that can contribute to a high EFC, and that financial aid packages can vary greatly from college to college. If you believe that your EFC is not a fair representation of your family’s ability to pay for college, it may be worth reaching out to the financial aid office at your college to discuss your options. Additionally, there may be other sources of financial aid available, such as scholarships or grants, that can help offset the cost of attendance.