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Financial Aid Essentials: Your EFC and Out-of-Pocket Costs

By Peterson's Staff updated on Tuesday, April 08, 2014

When seeking financial aid for college, your Expected Family Contribution will impact the amount of out-of-pocket costs you'll be expected to contribute.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and Student Aid Report (SAR)

Approximately three weeks after you submit your FAFSA, you will receive a copy of your Student Aid Report (SAR). This report details your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which is how much you'll be expected to contribute to college costs. Your EFC is determined by the information you supply on the FAFSA.

The schools you selected on your FAFSA will also receive a copy of your SAR so that they can customize a financial aid package for you. If you have been accepted for enrollment, the schools will send you an award letter. These award letters will outline the total cost of attendance at each school, your EFC, and a financial aid package.

Out-of-pocket costs
Once you know your financial aid information, it becomes a lot easier to get a realistic idea of what you'll need to come up with to bridge the gap between the cost of a school and the student financial aid offer. There are plenty of resources to help you pay for school, so research all your options, including scholarships, grants, and student loans.

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