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Why Your EFC Should be how you Start Your College Search

getting started game piecesWhat is EFC? To start your college search, you need to be able to answer this question. If you’re like most parents starting the college search process, you don’t have a clue what EFC means. In fact, most parents don’t understand until they are well into the college application process which is not a good thing.

So what is EFC? EFC stands for “Expected Family Contribution” and is the term used by the Federal Government and colleges to state how much parents are expected to pay for their child’s college education. (EFC is being renamed the “Student Aid Index” for the 24-25 award year but it will still function the same as EFC.)

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5 Financial Aid Strategies Parents of Sophomores Need to Know Before the Spring Semester

parents considering financial aid strategiesParents of sophomores need to know that their students’ college financial aid awards will be calculated on the base year that starts January 1 of the student’s sophomore year. This means that the fall semester of the student’s sophomore year will be the last chance parents have to implement some financial aid strategies that could significantly increase their student’s eligibility for need-based financial aid. Furthermore, there will be some major changes of the FAFSA starting with the 2024-25 school year that parents need to be aware of.

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The EFC Chart: Understand How Much You’ll Pay for College

stack of money for college representing the EFC ChartTroy Onink used to provide a Federal FAFSA EFC Chart until he passed away in 2018. His chart is still probably one of the most commonly found on the internet even though it’s from 2017-18. It’s still useful for its shock value. Most parents have little sense of what college is going to cost and the EFC chart is a wake-up call. Hopefully, parents who see it today will be motivated to use an EFC calculator to get an estimate for their own situation. In any case, since the table is outdated, I’ve created my own EFC chart.

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Parents: Don’t Ignore These 5 Numbers when Comparing Colleges

stacks of coins representing numbers to use when comparing collegesBefore parents sit back and let their kids drive the college application process, there are some numbers they need to understand when comparing colleges. Because while it’s true that it’s the student who is going to attend college, the colleges are pretty clear that they are going to turn to the parents to pay the bill. And anyone expected to write a check to cover the cost of college, needs to have some meaningful numbers to evaluate the value of what their buying. However, not all numbers are created equal. For example, the acceleration speed of a car and its sticker price are both numbers, but one probably will have priority over the other for most people making a car purchase. Understanding these five numbers will provide you with some basic references for comparing colleges to decide if you’re willing to pay the college’s asking price.

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