Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is a measure of your family's financial strength that is determined by the FAFSA. Based on your family's income, assets, household size, and more, the FAFSA estimates how much your family should be able to pay each year for you to attend college.
Your EFC is calculated using a formula established by the U.S. Congress. The EFC is used to determine if you are eligible for many financial aid programs, including the Federal Pell Grant, the ISAC MAP (state tuition) grant, Federal Work-Study, and Federal Perkins Loan.
If you are a dependent student, meaning your parent(s) or guardian(s) provide most of your support, your EFC is based on your income and assets combined with your parents' income and assets. In general, the higher the family income, the higher your EFC. Students are expected to contribute a higher percentage of their income and assets to pay for their education than their parents. The FAFSA takes into consideration that parents likely have other financial obligations.
If you are an independent student, your income and assets and your spouse's (if you are married) will determine your EFC. Please note, your FAFSA dependent/independent status is different from your IRS tax status. You are only considered independent for FAFSA purposes if you meet at least one of the following conditions:
you are at least 24 years old the day you file your FAFSA;
at the beginning of the school year, you will be enrolled in a master’s or doctoral degree program (such as M.A., M.B.A., M.D., J.D., Ph.D., Ed.D., or graduate certificate, etc.);
you are married as of the date of the application (answer “Yes” if you are separated but not divorced);
you have children or other dependents (not spouse) who receive more than half of their support from you;
you are (or were until the age of 18) a ward/dependent of the court or both of your parents are deceased;
you are homeless or at risk of homelessness as determined by the director of a HUD approved homeless shelter, transitional program, or high school liaison;
you are currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces, or are a National Guard or Reserves enlistee called into federal active duty for other than training purposes; or
you are a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces.