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Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

Last updated 29th Nov 2022


The Expected Family Contribution, or EFC, is the amount of money a student and their family is expected to contribute towards the student's education expenses. The Expected Family Contribution is based on the student's family size, dependency status, income level, assets, and monthly expenses.


The expected family contribution is the third step in the financial aid process:

  1. Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA): application for student aid
  2. Student Aid Report: validation of information appearing on the FAFSA
  3. Expected Family Contribution: quantification of the student's share of college expenses
  4. Award Letter: offer of student aid from the financial aid office of the educational institution

When a student completes a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, the information reported is used to calculate an Expected Family Contribution. The financial aid officer at the school the student plans to attend will look at the student's demonstrated financial need, determine whether or not any other aid will be received, and then prepare a financial package in the form of an Award Letter.

Related Terms

Free Application for Federal Student Aid, Student Aid Report, Award Letter

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