EFC stands for expected family contribution. When a student is applying for financial aid or grants, a specific EFC is assigned. EFC calculates the amount of money the student's family is expected to contribute toward the cost of a student's education.
The EFC uses a specific formula that is created and mandated by the U.S Department of Education. Students provide the required information on their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) worksheet when applying for financial aid. Colleges may also incorporate their own EFC formula which could alter the amount of aid given to the student.
Calculating an EFC can vary based on the type of financial aid a student is applying for. The federal methodology uses a standard formula that uses a wide variety of information which is mandated by the government, while the institutional method uses specific information that is geared toward individual institutions.
Financial aid forms use information that focus on the student's needs based on past and current financial data. An EFC is determined by many different factors, which can include parents' tax record, age of the student, marital status and military status.