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.
First, answer these questions to determine your dependency status.
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, 2016. If you are currently serving on active duty in the Armed Forces for other than training purposes, you also qualify as an independent student.