The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is a number schools use to calculate how much financial aid you may be eligible to receive from that particular school. It is not the amount you will have to pay for college.

The EFC is calculated from the information you provide on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®). The calculation is based on a formula established by law. The formula considers many factors including, but not limited to, a family's income and assets, household size and the number of family members attending college.

Your financial need is calculated by subtracting the EFC from the college's Cost of Attendance (COA). The COA is determined by the school and is typically listed on the school's website.

COA - EFC = Need

The school will prepare a financial aid award letter outlining your eligible financial aid. You can expect to receive an award letter as early as February, and you should have all of them by April. Award Letter templates can vary, so carefully review each letter as you compare financial aid packages.

FAFSA is a registered service mark of the U.S. Department of Education and is not affiliated with Discover Student Loans.

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