EFC Levels

<p>I apologize if this has been posted before, but I can't seem to find it anywhere (my search-fu is not strong), so I'll just ask and hope I'm not redundant.</p>

<p>I recently finished my FAFSA, and received my EFC. Great. However, the EFC is just a number on an index...is there anywhere that will show what your FAFSA score corresponds to for Aid?</p>

<p>Say I apply to Haverford, and am accepted. It's need-blind, and will meet 100% of my demonstrated need. If I have a score of 5000, or of 9000 on the EFC, what should I expect to pay if I were given the best aid package possible? </p>

<p>And what are these Levels that I'm hearing about? </p>

<p>sincerely,
a very confused prospective college student</p>

<p>Your FAFSA EFC is the amount computed by the FAFSA as a minimum dollar amount that your family will be required to pay for college. If your EFC is $9000, then minimally you will be paying $9000 for college.</p>

<p>Haverford also requires the completion of the Profile another financial aid application form. The school uses the information on the Profile to award institutional need based monies. Without knowing your particular situation, it's hard to say whether the family contribution computed by Haverford using Profile info will be similar to that on the FAFSA.</p>

<p>The FAFSA EFC is used ONLY to determine eligibility for federally funded need based aid. If your EFC is $5000 you will get a smidgeon of a Pell grant. (a couple hundred dollars), stafford loan and possibly work study. </p>

<p>What you really are hoping for is institutional need based aid based on the Profile. Things the Profile asks that are not asked on the FAFSA....info from non-custodial parents (at most schools....so if your parents are divorced, your non-custodial parent will have to provide info as will their spouse), info about home equity in your primary residence. Some Profile schools have supplemental questions that ask about balances in retirement accounts and info about your cars (age/make/model)..although it is unclear how the schools actually use this information.</p>

<p>Also, Haverford has a student contribution.</p>

<p>Fair enough. (I just used Haverford as an example, I'm not actually applying there.) I filled out the FAFSA figuring it would give me a rough estimate of how much I would have to pay. Is it safe to say that if my family does not have any significant assets outside of what the FAFSA asks, a school that meets all demonstrated need will not ask more than 150% of my EFC? </p>

<p>That is, if I had a score of 9000, would any school that meets all demonstrated need ask for more than $13,500?</p>

<p>
[quote]
Is it safe to say that if my family does not have any significant assets outside of what the FAFSA asks, a school that meets all demonstrated need will not ask more than 150% of my EFC? </p>

<p>That is, if I had a score of 9000, would any school that meets all demonstrated need ask for more than $13,500?

[/quote]
</p>

<p>For schools that meet full need, you will need to file the Profile in most cases. That being said...if your EFC is $9000, your guestimate of not paying more than $13K sounds reasonable to me...maybe even on the high side...it all depends on how the SCHOOL computes your need.</p>

<p>Your EFC is not a SCORE...it is a dollar amount. EFC of 9000 is an EFC of $9000.</p>

<p>^ the big gotcha without a lot of assets with the profile would be if your parents are divorced and the custodial parent is the one with the lower salary ... in divorced families the FAFSA calculation only considers the custodial parent ... schools that use a CSS profile typically include the non-custodial parent (which can change things a lot if the non-custodial parent makes a lot). If your parents are still married this concern is moot.</p>

<p>I seem to be particularly dim today. </p>

<p>"search-fu" - what does that mean?</p>

<p>
[quote]
Is it safe to say that if my family does not have any significant assets outside of what the FAFSA asks, a school that meets all demonstrated need will not ask more than 150% of my EFC?

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Be careful about "meets all demonstrated need". While a school that says that will not actually ask you for more than the EFC that they use (whether federal or institutional), they might (and by "might", I mean "probably will") include loans as part of your financial aid package.</p>

<p>
[quote]
"search-fu" - what does that mean?

[/quote]
</p>

<p>It might be a colloquialism to refer to the skill of using the website's search function to find information.</p>

<p>Sort of like how some people here use "kiddo" when they mean "children" or DD, DS, SS, SOS, DH, DW when they really mean, "Person who lives in my basement and eats all my food."</p>

<p>LOL to the living in the basement remark.</p>

<p>Yes I googled search fu after I asked the question and it means that. </p>

<p>Never heard it before. 2nd time I've said that today - and I'm usually such a know it all ;)</p>

<p>Thanks Thumper. Everywhere I looked things kept saying "The EFC is not a dollar amount" so I guess they were just being sly? I don't know. And no use worrying about the loans bit, the only schools I'm applying to are state schools or ones that have eliminated loans as part of their packages. Also, my parents are married, so that's a plus. </p>

<p>Thanks for all your help guys and gals!</p>

<p>The EFC which is the number generated by FAFSA tells you if you are eligible for certain federal funds. A very low EFC, below ~$5K. means you can get some PELL grant money. A zero EFC means about $5500 in PELL money. Those are for families with very low incomes. The other thing that completing a FAFSA does is give you the option of getting STAFFORD loan money in your own name, something most kids have difficulty getting without a co signer and/or a good credit history. A freshman can borrow up to $5500 in Stafford loans if the cost of college supports that amount of money.</p>

<p>Almost all colleges require the FAFSA to determine your eligibility for financial aid. When colleges start looking to put together a financial aid package, they usually start with the PELL and Staffords (if the school includes loans, which most do, in their aid packages). If the school uses the FAFSA only, it will then try to meet as much of your need as possible using whatever funds and giving additonal loans that they have available. MOst schools do not meet need for most of their students. The chances are high that you will get gapped. </p>

<p>There are some schools that do guarantee to meet 100% of need. Those schools tend to define their own need through use of PROFILE which asks even more questions. Schools have different things they examine on PROFILE. Some schools will include the value of your primary home which FAFSA does not include. If your parents are divorced, the custodial parent's financials need to be taken into account, which is not the case with FAFSA. PROFILE may ask what cars your family owns, what money your siblings have socked away, and may also take into account siblings' private k-12 schools and other things that FAFSA will not. Because there is not one consistent PROFILE, you can't tell if the numbers will be the same from one calculator to another. If you are in any category that is different, you can be hit with a big difference.</p>

<p>I don't know of any state schools that meet need without loans.</p>

<p>I doubt that there are any state schools that guarantees or even consistently meet need without loans, but most every state school that I know does have some kind of merit/need award that will pay full freight or full tuition. Those awards are given to those students the school most wants and who meet the need criteria. Getting such an award is not easy. You need to do a lot of research and pick those schools where you stand a good chance of getting the awards. Momfromtexas has a thread about full ride scholarships. Some of them may have a need component as well. I know that UB has some very generous merit/need awards for those who have financial need as well as pure merit money. If you get one of those awards, you may not need to take out any loans.</p>

<p>I meant state schools in my home state, which have a low enough tuition so that I can probably afford them without too much financial aid.</p>

<p>indieprince, I found a wide variance (15K swing) in the 100% need met/no loan schools D applied to. Cast your net wide as each institution seems to use a different formula. Plus, I don't know, but I suspect that some schools, in particular those with big endowments, are more free to give better financial aid to desired applicants. It's not merit, but financial aid numbers can be interpreted differently.</p>

<p>Indieprince...sorry to chastise a bit, but you are missing a potentially huge opportunity here!! ...and you are apparently NOT reading the posters comments carefully! We don't know you're whole situation either so I am speculating here....</p>

<p>IF your EFC was $9000 and you went to Haverford, you could go to a school with a sticker price of $50K+ for $15K or less!! Haverford is a private school that meets 100% of demonstrated need with essentially all free money...you will more than likely get offered $5500 in Stafford loans and a work study job for pocket money....</p>

<p>This versus the "sticker price" state schools you apparently are limiting your choices to. At $9K EFC, you will not be eligible for federal free money and more than likely no state free money based on need (not sure which state you are in)...further, unless you are not one of the top 5% of the freshman applicant pool at the state schools you apply to, probably no school free money!!</p>

<p>Are your parents willing to pay full freight at a state school including living on campus (for example, in NJ, that would be almost $30K this year!!!)???</p>

<p>To me, your BIG opportunity is to explore private schools with lots of need-based aid, ideally schools like Haverford, and go for potentially less than the cost of a public school...</p>

<p>I am a big fan of keeping your doors open and exploring options/opportunities before limiting your choices upfront....</p>

<p>We are all here to help you if interested....</p>