Funding college is not a one size fits all proposition. Families need to know how their unique family situation fits into the financial aid process. The EFC Calculator takes each family’s unique family situation in account to generate a specialized strategy for reducing college costs. Proven effective, families have used these strategies for over twenty years to be pro-active when making financial plans for college. The EFC Calculator is designed to help families understand how to best pay for their child's college education by identifying families as being in one of three categories. Specialized strategies for each category are provided to families, giving them an opportunity to plan and maximize college options.
Families fit in one of three categories based on their calculated EFC. Each category is described to allow families to better understand where they stand in terms of college affordability.
EFC Calculator Definition
The EFC Calculator strategies are key to tailoring affordability to each family’s situation. EFC categories help families or advisor focus on strategies that will be most effective to maximize your college funding potential.
EFC Calculator Resources
The EFC Calculator is more than just a calculator - it is also a strategy finder. Users enter financial information to help solve and better understand how families can afford college. There are two primary calculations: the Federal Methodology (FM) and the Institutional Methodology (IM). The FM is based on the FAFSA and estimates a student’s eligibility for financial aid awarded by the federal and state government. The IM determines eligibility for private and institutional aid, which comes from sources other than state and federal governments. The IM considers more factors in the EFC calculation, and as a result is typically higher than the FM. Completing both calculations allows for a more precise assessment of a family’s financial situation.
To get a quick calculation, go through the survey and answer all required questions. Additional questions are included because they prompt knowledgeable conversations and prompt further analysis with your advisors. Additional tables are provided to help families understand how their income and assets are contributing to the funding of college expenses.
The EFC Calculator is calculating EFCs only for dependent students. Questions about independent students are included to help provide a complete financial picture.
Note: If a student already knows their family EFC, they can enter that into the student profile without having to take the survey.
EFC Calculator Categories
Families fit in one of three categories based on their calculated EFC. Each category is detailed to allow families to better understand where they stand in terms of college affordability.
What methodology is used in the EFC Calculator?
We use a proprietary version of the Institutional Methodology. It is designed to take into account factors in the Institutional Methodology (IM) that distinguish it from the Federal Methodology (FM)
The calculations for the Institutional EFC are intended to be ballpark figures, illustrating how a families situation will be assessed using the Institutional Methodology. It is not customized according to each college's IM.
An example of some of the factors using in calculating the IM are:
- home equity
- business equity
- different allowances for family situations. For example- having more than one student in college is treated as a percentage in IM. In the FM, the family contribution is distributed evenly between all students in the family in college
- students have a mandated contribution
- health costs or k-12 tuition are taken into consideration in IM
The actual IM EFC will vary college to college, depending on the way they apply IM. Some schools cap asset contributions from the home, others do not. The IM in our EFC Calculator gives you an opportunity to illustrate how their family situation can be viewed very differently by schools using FM versus IM.
Where is the EFC used within GuidedPath
Besides the EFC survey itself, the EFC FM (Federal Methodology) results can be used in GuidedSearch, Net Price Estimates and Cost Comparisons