What is included as 'family contribution'

<p>Kind of a basic question....</p>

<p>If, for example, I have an EFC of $2000.00, and my child gets a federal loan (of whatever type) as part of their package, does that fulfill the $2,000 EFC? Or is that separate and the EFC would assume loans PLUS an additional $2,000 from a private source (the parents, the students summer earnings, whatever).</p>

<p>I know the EFC is just a guideline for federal programs, but I'm not quite sure what EFC actually MEANS. Or is that the point? To be so vague that it makes my head explode...</p>

<p>The Estimated Family Contribution is a number that goes into determining how much $ the college should offer you to make it possible for you to attend as well as a number used in awarding federal aid. </p>

<p>Once you have the final financial aid offer from the college, though, the EFC is no longer relevant to you; what is important to you is the total of grants and loans and work study in your FA package versus the total cost of attending the college. A federal loan is likely to already be part of your package. </p>

<p>A wealthy college that costs $49,000 might look at your EFC and give you $47,000 in grants (yay!) but a poor college might look at your EFC and give you a package $35,000 in grants (including federal Pell grant) 3500 in federal loan, 2500 in work study and then you need to come up with the remaining $9,000 some other way. </p>

<p>There probably should be an acronym for whatever your actual expected out of pocket costs are.</p>

<p>Your expected family contribution (EFC) is what your family is minimally expected to contribute. Financial aid you receive (grants, scholarships, loans, etc) do not typically reduce your EFC. The exception to this is the more competitive merit scholarships (full ride or close) that some schools offer that do not take any financial need into consideration. In other words, someone getting the McNair Scholarship at U of South Carolina (full ride plus computer) gets this irrespective of their EFC.</p>

<p>For regular need based financial aid awards, you would take the cost of attendance and subtract your EFC. That would determine your need. But as posted above...the bottom line is not what your need is, but HOW the school meets that need.</p>

<p>I understand the difference between EFC and what the school actually offers, my question is whether or not the loans count towards 'meeting' the EFC. </p>

<p>So when Muffy says it is a number that is used to determine how much money the college is offering you, is the loan considered 'money the college is offering you', since it's not gift aid, it's a loan.</p>

<p>And Thumper, it looks like you are saying that the loans are NOT part of the EFC, is that correct?</p>

<p>you pay the EFC in addition to any loans that your student or you have as part of the FA package</p>

<p>ok, thank you. I'm assuming that excludes PLUS loans and only includes the federally subsidized loans?</p>

<p>Sorry to be so dense about this, it's really the one part of the financial aid package that I just don't 'get'.</p>

<p>The Perkins and Stafford loans are part of your "aid," and do not count as your EFC.</p>

<p>Many schools include a "PLUS" loan in the package for families who may not be able to pay the EFC out of income and savings. PLUS loans are available to nearly all parents regardless of whether the school lists it in the package and are not really "aid."</p>

<p>In other words, need-based aid will not cover your EFC - you and your child will have to pay that out of earnings, savings, or non-need based loans such as the PLUS loans.</p>

<p>Financial aid in the name of the child, including Stafford, and Perkins loans does not reduce the EFC. </p>

<p>Loans taken out by the family can be used to pay for anything. Many families take out loans to meet costs for college that are unmet by financial aid provided.</p>