The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is how much you'll be expected to contribute to college costs, and it helps determine how much financial need you have. From a federal perspective, the cost of attendance (COA) – EFC = financial need. Your EFC is determined by the information you supply on the FAFSA.
An EFC calculator can help you estimate what your Expected Family Contribution may be, and assist you in planning for how to pay for college.
The official Federal Student Aid Web site provides a FAFSA4caster tool (similar to an EFC calculator) that helps you get a head start on the financial aid process, including getting an early estimate of your eligibility for federal aid. The tool will also allow you to transfer the information provided into the actual FAFSA form when you are ready to complete it.
You can find the tool at: http://www.fafsa4caster.ed.gov/F4CApp/index/index.jsf.