The EFC (expected family contribution) is pretty much a meaningless number at a school like Rowan. There is no huge endowment being used to fund needy or sort of needy students at many schools but for the super well funded Ivies.
The amount you would be eligible for in aid such as a Federal Pell Grant is not likely to be much. That typically is for students whose total family income is $50,000 a year or less, but most Pell grant money goes to students with a total family income below $20,000. I believe the NJ TAG grant program is gone, or will be at the end of this school year. If it continues, expect the income limit to be around $65,000 for a family of four.
Let’s talk loans. Your student is eligible for a $5,500 loan as a freshman. This loan is for the entire YEAR, not per semester. The loan amount goes up to $6,500 for the sophomore year, and $7,500 for junior and senior years. If the student isn’t finished in 4 years, the loan eligibility starts to run out. I think the total amount allowed is $31,000 over the entire Bachelor’s degree. This does not prevent the student or family from securing outside loans, which is how kids wind up seriously screwed up.
The cost of education (COA) for each family is an estimate that includes not only set fees such as tuition, fees, room and board, but also variable expenses such as books, entertainment, travel. Last year was my daughter’s first year, and we kept close track. Her COA at Rowan was $30,055. This included stuff like $85 on laundry, $375 on her dorm room etc.
She was awarded a merit award of $11,500 from Rowan. This was deducted, and our EFC was higher than yours.
We made up the difference in numerous ways.
- She got a job in her junior year of high school. She saved 80% for her college expenses.
- She applied to many scholarships and rec’d around $8,500 in outside money (total, not per year)
- She got two jobs on campus as soon as she arrived. One was per hour for pocket money. The other gave her money off her board bill.
- She won a small ($1,000) college scholarship.
- She enrolled in the Degree in Three Years program, saving a full year of expenses.
Notice that all these things were HER work for HER education. We contribute our share, but so does she.
She will graduate with zero debt, we will also have no debt for her education.