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Filed FAFSA as independent.. EFC is almost 1/5 of my claimed income??

jessieshanjessieshan 0 replies1 threads New Member
I recently filed my FAFSA for the first time since becoming "independent" aka turning 24. I have been financially independent since I was 18. I am figuring/hoping that I made an error in my application because my income for 2018 was about $22,000. My estimated EFC was a little over $4,000 which would be almost 1/5 of my claimed income..

For reference, when I filed as a senior in HS and dependent under my mom who made ~$35,000 our EFC was like $1200..

Does this seem right? I am waiting to receive the final official determination but I just couldn't believe the EFC when I first saw it. I live in MA and am now making $35k a year and barely get by.
12 replies
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Replies to: Filed FAFSA as independent.. EFC is almost 1/5 of my claimed income??

  • BelknapPointBelknapPoint 5020 replies20 threads Senior Member
    If you want to know for sure whether or not your FAFSA EFC is correct, plug your numbers into the actual FAFSA formula. It will take a few minutes of work, but you'll have a definitive answer to your question.

    https://ifap.ed.gov/sites/default/files/attachments/2019-10/2021EFCFormulaGuideOct2019UpdateAttach.pdf
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  • kelsmomkelsmom 16296 replies99 threads Senior Member
    Yes, it’s correct. Independent students who have no dependents other than a spouse are expected to contribute more of their income/assets toward their education than the parents of a dependent student. Whether or not it seems fair, that’s how the formula works.
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  • cshell2cshell2 1134 replies12 threads Senior Member
    You can look at it this way, if you were still a dependent, 50% of your income would go towards your EFC in addition to the percentage of your parents income and assets.

    I question more that the $1200 in the past was accurate if you were also working and making enough to be financially independent pre-age 24.
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  • thumper1thumper1 78810 replies3556 threads Senior Member
    @cshell2 when this student was a dependent student, maybe they qualified for the simplified needs test?

    @kelsmom for simplified needs, does the student income get included?
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  • JazzyTXMomJazzyTXMom 416 replies6 threads Member
    Isn't household size a factor--two when student was a dependent v. one as independent.?
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  • kelsmomkelsmom 16296 replies99 threads Senior Member
    edited September 17
    @thumper1 , the student contribution would be higher for a dependent student (the protection is lower), so the student portion of the EFC would be higher for an independent student. The parent contribution from income can be negative, though, and in this case, the parent’s negative Adjusted Available Income is used in the formula as an allowance against student income.
    edited September 17
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  • kelsmomkelsmom 16296 replies99 threads Senior Member
    Sorry ... I mistyped ... the student portion of the EFC would be higher for a DEPENDENT student. But as noted, it could be decreased due to parent information in some circumstances.
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  • cshell2cshell2 1134 replies12 threads Senior Member
    edited September 17
    thumper1 wrote: »
    @cshell2 when this student was a dependent student, maybe they qualified for the simplified needs test?

    Simplified needs test just excludes student and parent assets not income. Auto Zero does, but if they qualified for Auto Zero the EFC would have been 0, not 1200.
    edited September 17
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  • mommdcmommdc 11910 replies31 threads Senior Member
    Our FAFSA EFC is almost 1/5 of our income as well.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 25255 replies20 threads Senior Member
    When I had 2 kids in college (but a high income year), their combined EFCs was about 33% of my gross income, and about 50% of my take home.
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  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 6801 replies2 threads Senior Member
    Perhaps I am being a bit slow, but how would an independent student continue to earn their full income if they also became a full time student? It would seem to me that one's work hours would need to be cut back a lot to leave enough time to study.

    "live in MA and am now making $35k a year and barely get by."

    $35k a year does indeed seem like "barely get by" money to me.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 30614 replies59 threads Senior Member
    My oldest went back to school in his 30s. He lost his job and as a displaced worker got a zero EFC which gave him PELL and subsidized loans. Moved back home while he went to school. Did not qualify state grants because NY state keeps a student a dependent until age 35. He used his savings to prepay us for his expenses so he was self sufficient that year.

    It’s extremely difficult for a person just getting by to go back to school full time. Usually someone is helping out. Though our son did pay his expenses, we had the resources such as a house where he could live and use of whatever we had to help him get by while he was going to school. Most young people in his situation would have to work full time and go to school very part time, struggling to pay the tuition My son could have done it as he had enough saved to pay state college tuition, but it would have taken much longer to complete his degree requirements.
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