When people think about EFC (Expected Family Contribution), they usually believe that it equals the amount of money a family would have to pay for college, this is a common misconception. EFC is actually a measurement of a family’s strength financially. The information which is provided on the FAFSA (a form used by the U.S. Department of Education to determine how to distribute federal financial aid) is what generates this measurement. Many families do not realize that the EFC is simply an estimation of the contribution, but the amount required can actually be much higher or lower that the number supplied.
Kathy Ruby, a director of College Finance for Bright Horizons Education and College Advising, jokingly calls the EFC the magic number, however she goes on to say that the expected family contribution is just the starting point for a family. Bright Horizons is an international child care and educational advising company, that has its headquarters in Massachusetts.