The expected family contribution, or EFC, is the amount of money that a family is expected to contribute toward the price of the student's education from its income and assets. There is a different need analysis formula for each of three student groups:
The EFC consists of two parts: the parent contribution and the student contribution. Generally, "family contribution" refers to both of these combined. For independent students, there is no parent contribution.
Assets usually are excluded from the EFC calculation for those with an adjusted gross income below $50,000. When assets are taken into account, the EFC formula provides an asset protection allowance according to age and marital status. The typical family receives an asset protection allowance of $17,400. This amount is subtracted from the parents' total net worth of assets and, of the remainder, only 12 percent is considered available assets for education expenses. Independent students with children receive the asset protection allowance, but the assessment rate is now 7 percent.
Example: Treatment of Parental Assets
In comparison, dependent students and independent students with no dependents are expected to contribute 20 percent of their total assets, since it is assumed that these students have saved their money for the purpose of paying for their education.
Assets used to calculate the EFC include:
The following assets are not included:
To determine the amount of income available for educational purposes, both parents and students are given "offsets" against income. Offset include taxes (federal, state, local, FICA), employment expenses, and an income protection allowance. For parents and independent students with dependents, the income protection allowance can range from approximately $17,000 to $53,000, based on family size and number of family members enrolled in college.
After subtracting the offsets from total income, the remaining income is called available income. For parents and independent students with dependents, the available assets are added to the available income to arrive at the adjusted available income (AAI). A portion of this amount is multiplied by 22 to 47 percent (plus a additional predetermined assessment) to arrive at the total contribution. The higher the income, the higher the percentage used.
Example: Parents or Independent Student with Dependents
If more than one child attends college, the total contribution is divided by the number in college:
Dependent students and independent students without dependents are expected to contribute 50 percent of their available income and receive a more limited income protection allowance:
Income used to calculate the EFC includes:
The following income is not included:
The greater the financial need, the greater the student's financial aid eligibility.
A family's EFC remains the same even when the price of the school increases:
In this way, financial aid allows families to consider schools that would otherwise be out of reach. Estimate your financial aid eligibility for the Federal Pell Grant, Minnesota State Grant, and federal education tax benefits.