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The U.S. Department of Education will determine the financial need for all students who file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which uses a formula approved by Congress. Once the FAFSA is processed the government determines your Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
This is the amount of money that you or your family is expected to contribute to the cost of financing college. The elements used to determine your EFC include your parent's income and assets (if you are dependent), your own income and assets (if independent), and the number of family members other than parents who are also attending college. The more family members you have in college, the more likely you are to get financial aid.
Your EFC will be the sum of a percentage of net income and a percentage of net assets. Once this is determined, one of two things will happen. Either you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) or your prospective school will receive an Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR). These documents will have your final EFC listed. From there it will be determined what type of financial aid, and how much, you'll receive.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|