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FAFSA EFC vs. CSS EFC

mikep3mikep3 Posts: 214Registered User Junior Member
Is there a difference? I basically got a heart attack when I saw my EFC from FAFSA (19k when my family makes 70k a year... is this normal?) But can I expected schools to calculate higher EFCs based on CSS (I'm applying to mostly private colleges). Thanks!
Post edited by mikep3 on

Replies to: FAFSA EFC vs. CSS EFC

  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 62,413Registered User Senior Member
    That EFC is normal. Many families have EFCs of between 1/3 to 1/4 of their incomes.

    Your CSS EFC can be higher depending on various factors that FAFSA doesn't consider.


    What are your financial safeties (schools that you can afford to go)?

    HOw much have your parents said that they can pay each year? If you don't know, then you need to ask.
    If they can't pay $19k per year, how will you cover that?

    Do the schools that you're applying to meet 100% of need with small or no loans? If not, you could end up with FA packages with big loans and need more loans to cover EFC. :(
  • kelsmomkelsmom Posts: 12,526Super Moderator Senior Member
    Actually, that seems a little high. Are you sure you entered things correctly? It's usually 20-25%, especially with a $70K income. Do you earn a lot? High student earnings can raise the EFC beyond what might be considered "usual," as can savings in the student's name.

    Our Profile EFC does not seem to be appreciably different from our FAFSA EFC (based on D's financial aid packages). That's probably because we don't have much beyond our incomes & some modest savings; our home isn't worth a fortune. It all depends on your situation.

    You should absolutely include schools that you know you can afford with the EFC you computed. You never know how the aid will be - be sure to cover your bases & understand that if you can't afford it, you can't go.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 62,413Registered User Senior Member
    (oops .....above I meant to write 1/5 - 1/4 of income.)

    His EFC is 27% of income, but we don't know what his family's assets are.
  • swimcatsmomswimcatsmom Posts: 14,996Registered User Senior Member
    Agree with kelsmom - 19,000 EFC does seem very high for a $70k (pretax) income unless there are some assets and/or the student also has income and assets. Student income and assets have a bigger impact than parent income and assets.
  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Posts: 33,210Registered User Senior Member
    I think it is maybe a little high but is close to what ours is with similar income. Don't forget that pretax retirement dollars that are earned that year are added back to available for college EFC. We also saw our EFC go way up with our 2nd child ,even though income was same because we didn't have that child deduction any more and she was the only one still living at home.
    But we also didn't see any difference between FAFSA and PROFILE EFC, despite having some home equity.
  • mikep3mikep3 Posts: 214Registered User Junior Member
    Well, I have no income nor assets, and my family doesn't have a lot of savings nor assets (we have been borrowing and are in debt so we are constantly paying back money), so seeing that high EFC really made me scared. But I guess that's expected. So does the value in "cash, savings, and checking account" make a big difference in calculating the EFC?
  • kelsmomkelsmom Posts: 12,526Super Moderator Senior Member
    Only if you have quite a bit saved. The asset protection allowance for parents is higher than it is for students, so a lot saved in your name affects EFC more than the same amount saved in your parents' names.
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