EFC question

<p>To all the parents who have freshmen or sophomores:</p>

<p>Sorry if this should be posted in Financial Aid forum, but it's basically addressed to parents, so:</p>

<p>I just submitted the FAFSA online to Dept. of Ed. and got our expected family contribution (EFC). (Was not expecting an instant response and am happy to see that we are not expected to pay full freight at a private school, at least Dept. of Ed doesn't think so.) </p>

<p>My question is, how close to reality is that EFC figure to what you actually pay at the private college/univ. your child is enrolled at? I've heard that what the colleges offer can vary by a lot.</p>

<p>Were there any surprises in your financial aid packages? (like colleges ignoring the EFC and asking you to pay full freight? or vice versa, giving you more generous aid than EFC led you to believe?)</p>

<p>Just curious.</p>

<p>The FAFSA simply calculates your Expected Family Contribution. Not all colleges will meet your full need beyond that, and that includes many private and expensive colleges and universities. AND even if the school meets your need, it could be with a huge package of loans. Colleges don't "ignore" the EFC, they are simply not bound to give you the aid and many "gap" students....meaning they offer aid, but not the full amount of the difference between the EFC and cost of attendance. Even the schools that meet full need have variation in the amount of aid they offer because they also use the CSS Profile and/or their own financial aid application which helps determine need.</p>