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.
The law prohibits ED from regulating any aspect of need analysis, including expected family contribution. See Subtopics for other related regulations.
Related terms: Need Analysis; Cost of Attendance; Professional Judgment
See also Subtopics for more specific references.
Examining Zero Expected Family Contribution as a New Criterion for “Low Income”: Comparing the Impact on Student Persistence at Two- and Four-Year Institutions (Community College Journal of Research and Practice)
Federal Pell Grant Eligibility and Receipt: Explaining Nonreceipt and Changes to EFC Using National and Institutional Data (Journal of Student Financial Aid)
Federal Student Aid: Need Analysis Formulas and Expected Family Contribution (Congressional Research Service)
Financial Need and Aid Volatility Among Students with Zero Expected Family Contribution (Journal of Student Financial Aid)
Need Analysis AskRegs Knowledgebase Q&As (National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators)
Need Analysis Self-Study Guide (National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators)
Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education: A Status Report (American Council on Education)
The Distributional and Cost Implications of Negative Expected Family Contributions (Journal of Student Financial Aid)
The Insurance Value of Financial Aid (National Bureau of Economic Research)
The Impact of Pell Grant Eligibility on Community College Students' Financial Aid Packages, Labor Supply, and Academic Outcomes (Journal of Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, AERA)