It is important for everyone to know the amount of financial aid they are able to receive from the school of their choice. After filling out the FAFSA, you will be sent a Student Aid Report (SAR) that indicates your EFC (Expected Family Contribution), which is determined based on the information you provided on the FAFSA itself. Many people may find themselves cringing at the thought of this number, which can be staggeringly high. However, don't forget that the FAFSA EFC is not the amount you are expected to pay for that particular school. The FAFSA EFC is used by each school to determine the amount of federal student financial aid that you can receive.The FAFSA EFC takes into consideration your family's income, personal assets and any benefits that you receive (like Social Security, for example). Family size and the number of people in your family that attend college or will be attending college are also considered. A lot is focused on current income and assets, which often contributes to the number being relatively high. Your financial need is calculated by subtracting the FAFSA EFC amount from the Total Cost of Attendance (TCOA).
The lower your FAFSA EFC is the more financial aid you will be eligible to receive. Schools will usually present you with a financial aid package to try to meet your needs based on the FAFSA EFC that is calculated, drawing together aid from federal, state and school sources, as well as various private sources.Remember that you do not have to wait until filling out the FAFSA in order to calculate your FAFSA EFC. FAFSA Calculators are available online that enable you to figure out your EFC number on your own, letting you know a roundabout figure of the amount of federal student aid you are be eligible to receive. It is never too early to figure out such information, as it can help you plan the steps you will take in order to obtain this financial aid through scholarships, loans, student employment, etc.