Is your EFC too high?
Your EFC can provide a decent idea of what a college will assume you could pay for one year of college. If you aren’t sure what an EFC is, here are some of my previous college blog posts on the subject:
There usually is a reason why a family’s EFC is high even if initially it seems puzzling.
I was talking to a mom from Northern California last week, for instance, who is a massage therapist and her husband makes an average salary. They owe more on their home than it’s worth and they don’t have lots of money in the bank.
Knowing all this, it seemed bizarre that the family’s EFC was in the $40,000’s. The EFC, however, made sense when the mom mentioned that she and her husband own a rental property that’s got $500,000 in equity.
Up until now the family’s high EFC didn’t hurt because their son, who attends St. John’s University, has received athletic and merit scholarships from the school. The mom, however, is now stressing because their daughter is a high school senior and they can’t afford to pay full price for their daughter, who would love to attend a college outside California.
The Good News
I told the mom that her EFC would drop with two children in school simultaneously. If both children attended schools that just use the FAFSA, The EFC for each child would drop by half. So if the previous EFC was $48,000 for her son, with two in school the EFC for each child would be $24,000.
With that sort of EFC, the family could qualify for need-based aid for their daughter from expensive private colleges. Mostly likely, the parents would have to pay $24,000, but they could end up with $25,000 or more in need-based aid from expensive private colleges.
When the son graduates, however, the family’s EFC will rise again so it makes sense for the girl to look for schools that would also give her merit aid, which she can hold onto no matter what her EFC is.
More on EFCS
In my next post, I’m going to keep writing about Expected Family Contributions.
Lynn O’Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution, an Amazon bestseller and a workbook, Shrinking the Cost of College: 152 Ways to Cut the Cost of a Bachelor’s Degree. Follow her on Twitter.