When is the EFC typically billed?

My son just started first year of University of WA. Neither of us has yet received any word of any bill for the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). When does that bill typically arrive? They’ve told us the amount it should be already. I’m guessing it might be nice to pay it down before filling out FAFSA.

Just to clarify: we’ve seen the amount of it in his FA statements, but we’ve never received any formal bill for it. Am I misunderstanding how the EFC works?

Yes, you are misinterpreting EFC. EFC is a number used in awarding aid. It has nothing to do with how much you will owe a given school.

Has your S started school for fall semester? If so, he should have received a bill in advance. It’s typically due right around the start of classes at a state school.

Please ask your S to check his student portal for his bill.

My kids school does not send out bills but posts the amounts due in the student account. Our student had to give us access to go in and pay the bill and once we were set up they send us emails whenever charges are added. There is also a schedule on the schools website that says when charges are posted and when they are due. If your son has already started classes there is probably a bill sitting somewhere in his student account.

Great Question! Unfortunately, the FAFSA Application/Confirmation Email doesn’t do a great job at explaining the EFC.

To add on to the previous response, the EFC is basically the FAFSA’s people’s guess at how much you can contribute to paying for school based on the information provided in the FAFSA. It is a way to determine “need based” financial aid, such as the Federal Pell Grant.

You don’t pay that specific number. Your student’s cost of attendance is determined by the university he chooses to attend and how much scholarships, grants, etc. versus how much is tuition, student and course fees, and his meal plans or on-campus housing (if applicable).

Hope that helps!

Thanks for explaining. I think I get the picture now. I guess the EFC is just an estimation/allowance of how much the family puts into the deal (over the course of a year) on top of financial aid. I was thinking that it would be an actual billed amount. I admitted it, I’m a newbie! Nice thing is that I don’t have any dreaded bill coming.

In answer to other’s questions and comments: his billing portal has both credited him and billed him for amounts much smaller than the EFC. That makes sense to me now. We don’t have the “parent bill forwarding” set up, but that sounds like a decent idea. Thanks all!

Just make sure your balance owed for the term is now $0.

Thanks. He just paid off a small housing-related charge. It’s zero now.

Call the Bursars office—actually, have your son call. To have the money sitting in your bank account or your son’s (particularly your son’s) on the day you file FAFSA could raise that EFC.


Why are you asking about money in parent or student bank account? Was that a question on this thread or was the response placed in the wrong thread?

@thumper See last sentence in first post: the OP wanted to pay any remaining amount due to get the cash out of the bank account before filing FAFSA for the next school year.

@Madison85 ah! That’s not how I interpreted that. I just thought the OP wanted to pay ‘this years bills before doing fafsa.

Forget about the term “EFC.” He/you just get a bill for tuition, room, and board each semester. You said you were notified about his financial aid award. That should say what your net price is. Is your son paying for college himself? Sounds like he paid his college bill.

Most of his expenses have thus far been covered by “disbursed aid” in his billing statement. (He forwarded a screenshot of it to me.) They are sending all the bills and aid disbursements to him. So far he’s just communicated this info to me and paid himself for the modest outstanding billed amounts out of his own account. Now that I understand better the concept of EFC I’m comfortable with how it works.

A lot of times, it’s hard to understand the workings of accounts and accounting until you go through the process. I’m getting less mystified daily!

In fact, he is paying for college mostly himself due to scholarships that he got and FA we qualified for as a family. If and when he needs more, I can help him. We have 529 savings for him that we could possibly use too.