The FAFSA and Estimated Family Contribution (EFC)

Did you know that the Department of Education has its own way of calculating how much you can afford to pay for college?

And their rules are followed by almost every college in the country –  particularly the most expensive ones? 

Yup. Just fill out the FAFSA, hit the “submit” button and Presto! Out spits your Estimated Family Contribution, otherwise known as EFC.

That number is the amount of money that the government, in all of its wisdom, thinks you can afford to pay for one year of higher education.

Wondering what your EFC is?  I’ll tell you how to estimate it – in a minute.

WARNING – you will probably be very angry, or shocked, at your EFC.  It’s highly unusual to meet anyone who thinks this number is fair when they see it the first time. 

Why?  The average EFC for a family earning $120,000 in adjusted gross income is roughly $25,000-30,000.

Yes, you read that correctly – a family earning that income – before paying income taxes, property taxes, the mortgage and all of the other expenses associated with modern families – is expected to be able to pay $25,000-30,000 per year toward college!  I don’t make these rules – don’t shoot the messenger!

The good news is that you can control your EFC with a little planning.

After you calculate your EFC, you are probably going to be very interested in learning how to get that number lower!  This book is chock full of legal methods of lowering your EFC and, therefore, qualifying for more financial aid.

Here’s a link provided by the Department of Education to help you estimate your EFC:

Caution – you may not like your result.  But remember, many families can legally and ethically lower their EFC with planning.  My book covers this in great detail.