When determining ability, families need to start at the federal and institutional level. These two groups determine ability, and subsequently, eligibility for financial assistance. The federal methodology is the starting point for determining the family's ability to pay for college. In addition, each college has different factors that will be involved in the calculation of the family's demonstrated ability to pay.
Federal methodology is a calculation that determines the amount of money the family will be expected to contribute. Most federal, state, and local aid is awarded based upon the eligibility as determined by the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) derived through the federal methodology calculation. The Expected Family contribution can be defined as, "the amount of money expected from the family to contribute to the college education." Each college will establish a cost of attendance figure that is then used in determining the student's financial need. The following equation for determining financial need is:
Cost of Attendance (set by college)
- Expected Family Contribution (determined by FAFSA)
= Financial Need
Calculation of the EFC will include information regarding parents' income and assets and the student's income and assets. Other facts such as total number of household members and total number of household members in college will also have an impact in determining the EFC.
The U.S. Department of Education's financial aid estimator, FAFSA4caster, will calculate your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) – the indicator used by colleges to estimate your family's ability to contribute towards the cost of your education. It will provide an early estimate of your eligibility to receive federal student aid. You can easily transition from FAFSA4caster to FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) when you are ready to file in January of your senior year.
See College Programs and Activities for financial aid programs offered by Glenbrook North.