It’s not shocking that many students turn to financial assistance to help get them through without the savings to afford American colleges and universities. You ought to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to get financial support to pay your tuition expenses, or you apply for scholarships or have to settle for federal loans.
The EFC–or Estimated Family Contribution is a major component of FAFSA. This is the sum of money a family would spend for its child’s education out of the wallet. (Note: it is an estimation that your family won’t actually have to pay a definite number). The FAFSA would give the student a certain amount of aid or credit according to the measured EFC.
Earlier, the automatic $0 EFC benefit standard had been $26,000. In other words, if a family received income below $26,000, they were not required to pay anything out of pocket and would be liable for further financial assistance.
The FAFSA has raised this level to $27,000 in the 2021–2022 academic year.
What is the Estimated Family Contribution (EFC)? How is it helpful for Graduate Students?
The Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) is an amount that specifies the eligibility of applicants for certain forms of federal student aid. This number is determined using the calculations of the EFC, which use the details given by students on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Financial aid administrators (FAAs) remove the EFC from student enrollment to assess a need for the following federal student financial assistance provided by the U.S. Department of Education:
- Federal Pell Grants,
- Subsidized Loans through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program,
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), and
- Federal Work-Study (FWS). The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant (TEACH Grant) is a non-need-based federal program for which a student must also use the FAFSA to apply.
Do Graduate Students qualify for an Automatic Zero EFC Calculation?
A zero EFC is automatically eligible for certain students. The criteria for obtaining the automatic zero EFC are the same as those for the simplified measurement of the EFC, except for the following differences:
- For parents of dependent students and for single students and their families, the income threshold is $27,000(2021 – 2022) or less (for an automatic zero EFC) instead of $49,999 or less (for the simpler EFC calculation), and
- The automatic zero EFC is available for independent students with dependents other than a wife if the annual income of an independent student and the independent (if married) student’s wife is less than or equivalent to $27,000 (2021-2022) and satisfies the exact same conditions needed for a simpler requirements evaluation.
- Independent students without dependents other than the spouse are not eligible for an automatic zero EFC.
What do Graduate Schools do with the EFC?
When the EFC has been determined, the schools you have applied to take the amount and deduct it from the cost of attendance (COA), which includes:
- Tuition and fees
- Room and board costs
- Books and supplies
- Personal expenses
- Transportation costs
Some schools may also take the following into consideration for the COA:
- Cost of a personal computer, software and internet access
- Dependent care and elder care
- Loan fees
- Disability-related costs
- Costs for approved study-abroad programs
- Costs for obtaining a professional license or certification
Whatever is leftover is known to be your “need.” You can’t get more need-based aid than the sum of your calculated financial need. So, if your COA is $28,000 and your EFC is $16,000, then $12,000 is your financial requirement. You are therefore not eligible for need-based assistance worth more than $12,000.
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