Student Financial Aid

Expected Family Contribution

All college students are expected to contribute towards their education costs. How much you and your family will be expected to contribute depends on your financial situation — and is what’s called your Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

Your EFC is a number that is used to determine the amount of financial aid that you are eligible for. 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 are considered in the formula. Also considered are your family size and the number of family members who will attend college during the year.

Your 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.

Determine Dependency

First, answer these questions to determine your dependency status.

  1. Were you born before January 1, 1996?
    Yes
    No
  2. At the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year, will you be working on a master’s or doctorate program (such as an MA, MBA, MD, JD, PhD, EdD, graduate certificate, etc.)?
    Yes
    No
  3. As of the date you will be submitting the FAFSA, are you married? (Answer “Yes” if you are separated but not divorced.)
    Yes
    No
  4. Do you now have or will you have children who will receive more than half of their support from you, or do you have dependents1 (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and receive more than half of their support from you, now and through June 30, 2020?
    Yes
    No
  5. At any time since you turned age 13, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care, or were you a dependent or ward of the court?
    Yes
    No
  6. Are you a veteran2 of the U.S. Armed Forces?
    Yes
    No
  7. Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training?
    Yes
    No
  8. As determined by a court in your state of legal residence, are you or were you an emancipated minor?
    Yes
    No
  9. Does someone other than your parent or stepparent have legal guardianship of you, as determined by a court in your state of legal residence?
    Yes
    No
  10. At any time on or after July 1, 2018, did your high school or school district homeless liaison determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?
    Yes
    No
  11. At any time on or after July 1, 2018, did the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?
    Yes
    No
  12. At any time on or after July 1, 2018, did the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?
    Yes
    No


1A dependent child does not have to live with you, so long as the child receives more than half of his/her support from you. The child may include a biological or adopted child, or a child for whom you are the legal guardian. Note that generally speaking, if the child meets the 50% support test, the child should be claimed as an exemption on your income tax return.

2A veteran is a student who participated in active service in the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard and was released under a condition other than dishonorable. This includes a student who attended a US military academy but withdrew in good standing, as well as a student who is not a veteran now, but will be a veteran by June 30, 2020. If you are currently serving on active duty in the Armed Forces for other than training purposes, you also qualify as an independent student.