Mapping Your Future: Your EFC number - what it is and what it isn't

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Your EFC number - what it is and what it isn't

By Catherine Mueller

June 25, 2020

It isn't a magic number, but your EFC is an important number when it comes to determining the amount of financial aid you are eligible to receive at the school you plan to attend after high school.

You get your EFC when you complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the EFC is the Expected Family Contribution. However, even though it is called the expected family contribution, the EFC is not the amount of money your family will have to pay for college, nor is it the amount of federal student aid you will receive.

Your EFC is an index number that college financial aid staff use to determine how much financial aid you would receive if you were to attend their school. The information you report on your FAFSA is used to calculate your EFC.

The EFC is calculated according to a formula established by law. Your family's taxed and untaxed income, assets, and benefits (such as unemployment or Social Security) all could be considered in the formula. Also considered are your family size and the number of family members who will attend college or career school during the year.

If you have questions about your EFC or about completing the FAFSA, contact Mapping Your Future at 800-374-4072 or