The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is an estimated amount that you and, if you are a dependent student, your parents can theoretically contribute to your college expenses for an academic year. The EFC is not an amount for which you will be billed by the University and the University does not require that parents provide their student with that amount of support. The EFC is an index number used for determining eligibility for the various need-based financial aid programs.
The EFC is calculated by the federal processor each year, not by the University of Iowa Office of Student Financial Aid. It is based on the U. S. Department of Education's Federal Methodology Calculation using the information that was supplied on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Therefore, you must file the FAFSA each year that you wish to apply for financial aid. This federal methodology assumes that the income, asset, family size, and other information you supplied on your FAFSA are good predictors of determining your family's ability to contribute to your college education.
To obtain an estimate of your EFC prior to filing the FAFSA, use the College Board's EFC Calculator. To see your EFC after filing the FAFSA, log in to your FAFSA and select “View or Print your Student Aid Report (SAR).
If your EFC appears unmanageable for your family, it is possible to obtain non-need-based loans to replace the EFC. These loans will be offered to you or your parents on your financial aid offer.