Blog

Browse All Blog Topics

Great Expectations: Bloated College Family Contribution Estimates

Sep 21, 2007

by Scholarships.com Staff

Filling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is kind of like filling out a super complicated Christmas wish list. You write it, you hand it over and you cross your fingers when the time to open approaches. A lot of times you’re disappointed with the results.  Students should never dismiss the prospect of government aid. Even if they are not eligible to receive need-based grants, they will still have unsubsidized Stafford and PLUS Loans options. Receiving award letters with little or no aid options is frustrating, and it’s all because of that stupid Expected Family Contribution (EFC) formula.

How much government aid a student receives is largely dependent on how much the government thinks a family can contribute to the education of their child. This is what is known as the Expected Family Contribution. Based on the income and asset information students provide on their FAFSA, the government determines a student’s EFC number. The number is then sent to the student’s school of choice which subtracts it from their estimated Cost of Attendance (COA). What’s left over is used to determine if a student is eligible to receive federal or nonfederal aid.

The problem with the EFC is that it often overestimates how much a family is really able to contribute to a child’s education. Although factors such as a (dependent) student family size and the number of family members attending college are considered, the expectations can still seem high.  According to a 2004 Department of Education report, a family making between $45,000-49,000 per year was expected to contribute $6,000 to their child’s education. One making between $50,000-54,000 was expected to contribute $7,000 and one that made between $95,000-99,000 was expected to contribute $18,900. It is doubtful that the average family can afford to contribute that much after paying all bills. Those with particular need, families with an EFC lower than $4,110, are eligible for free Pell Grant money this year, but only up to $4,310. That is not the average grant aid a student receives.

Recently released government data shows that, based on the average cost of an education at a public college, a family who sends one student to school is expected to contribute about 25% of their median household income. Those families who send their child to a private school are expected to contribute about 57% of their median household income.  Even if students receive the maximum Pell Grant award, $4,310, the family may be nowhere near meeting the costs associated with a college education. If students are lucky, the new Congress-approved Pell Grant increase outlined in the College Cost Reduction and Access Act will be signed by President Bush. Based on White House reports, the president is expected to sign the legislation, but some doubts are still present.

Students who have been offered little or no financial assistance from the government can always look to scholarships and grants for financial assistance. Conducting a free scholarship search will allow students to find myriad awards they are eligible to receive. By using Scholarships.com’s resources, students can find the scholarship and financial aid information they need to fund their education.

And don't forget, you should pay for your college education with as much free money as possible! Find as many scholarships and grants as you can before turning to student loans. Visit the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today where you'll get matched with countless scholarships and grants for which you qualify, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

Posted Under : College Costs , College News , FAFSA

Discuss

Share your thoughts and perhaps thousands of students will benefit from your unique insight on the subject!



If you can read this, don't touch the following fields


 

Most Shared Articles

Prospective Rhode Island college students may score two years of free college with Governor Gina M. Raimondo's $30 million plan, Rhode Island's Promise. Beginning with the class of 2017, the plan would foot full tuition bills and mandatory fees, according to Inside Higher Ed.

In an effort to "knock down the financial barriers to obtaining a college degree," Gov. Raimondo's proposed [...]

0 months ago 0 comments Read More

College is supposed to be the best four years of your life. Or as one sociology professor claims: "a big four-year orgy." Was college always this fun? History may indicate otherwise, and Lisa Wade highlights a "demographic shift" 300 years ago that changed the college campus landscape and made colleges bastions of sex, booze, and entitlement.

U.S. colleges during the colonial era [...]

0 months ago 2 comments Read More

While you can always increase your chances at landing a scholarship - increasing your community service and extracurricular involvement, having good grades and writing strong essays - winning one isn't always guaranteed...or can it be? According to TIME Money, one way to secure a scholarship is to apply to, and attend a college that guarantees its incoming class free college money. Here [...]

0 months ago 5 comments Read More

A burglar who targeted college apartments in Cobb County is now in jail after Kayla Mesar, a freshman university wrestler threatened and scared him off campus property.

The identified suspect, Amir Williams had allegedly broken into several other college apartments near Life University before entering Mesar's unit through a back unit where her mother had stood. Mesar, who was around [...]

0 months ago 2 comments Read More

In hopes of boosting the local economy, Tennessee state education officials spent roughly $1 million this past year in advertising enticing college dropouts to finish what they started.

The state's partnership with Tennessee Reconnect is just one of several comeback programs established to combat the "nearly 37 million working adolescents nationwide [that] have some college credits [...]

1 months ago 1 comments Read More

College can be expensive, and while some may rely on scholarships, grants, loans or their parents to foot the bill, one Jacksonville woman got creative and sold her urine and positive pregnancy tests on Craigslist for a little extra cash.

Why would anyone ever purchase positive pregnancy tests or urine? The three-months pregnant woman, who chose to remain anonymous, didn't really [...]

1 months ago 4 comments Read More

Teenagers aren't using drugs, alcohol, and tobacco as much as they used to, according to a new national study. Substance use rates have declined significantly and are at their lowest since the 1990s. Despite this trend, researchers caution that there is still high use of marijuana for a certain age group.

The Monitoring the Future study, conducted by U-M's Institute for Social [...]

1 months ago 7 comments Read More

Rather than basically give you 23 birds for the first 7 of the 12 days of Christmas, we've compiled a holiday list of scholarships yule adore...with a head start too! Check out these scholarships that'll last a few days after you enjoy the holidays:

NATA Business Scholarship

[...]

1 months ago 3 comments Read More

The mantle of "College President" is one that includes a lot of responsibility and scrutiny, but for some in the higher ranks, the lucrative pay makes it worth it. According to data released by The Chronicle of Higher Education, some private-college presidents have made over $5.4 million in a single year.

The average annual salary for full-time college/university presidents in 2014 [...]

1 months ago 2 comments Read More