If you've filled out a FAFSA before, you might recall seeing an EFC number when your FAFSA was completed. When you submit your FAFSA online or in the FA Office, you will see an EFC. You will also see your EFC when your Student Aid Report gets mailed or emailed to you.
EFC stands for Expected Family Contribution, and this is what you are expected to contribute to your education. The most important thing for you to remember about the EFC is that depending on what your EFC is will determine how much Pell Grant you will receive. The lower the EFC, the more Pell you qualify for; and the higher your EFC, the less Pell Grant you will receive. Each year, the EFC's relation to the amount of Pell Grant changes, so even though your EFC doesn't change from year to year, the amount of Pell you qualify for may change.
Your EFC is also used in determining your need-based loans. Your need-based loans are figured using your Cost of Attendance and subtracting your EFC and any other FA. The resulting amount is the amount of need-based loans you can qualify for.
In case you're curious, your EFC is calculated based on several factors from your FAFSA: AGI, taxes, earned income, untaxed income, tax credits, exemptions, number in household, number attending college, etc. If you are an independent student, you and your spouse's information is used. If you are a dependent student, then your parent's information is used along with yours.
So, as you can see, the EFC is more than just a number!