Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is in theory a measure of a family’s ability to contribute towards a student’s cost of attendance (COA), calculated according to a formula established by law. It is more realistically a rationing tool that compares the relative financial strengths of all families applying for aid. It is one component of the need formula: COA – EFC = Need. The EFC formula, which is defined in law by Congress, considers a family's taxed and untaxed income, assets, size and the number of family members who will attend college during the year.

Related topics in this Index: Need Analysis; Cost of Attendance; Professional Judgment