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Knowing your EFC to Develop an A+ College List

Your EFC is the number colleges will use to calculate your need for financial aid. You can get an estimate of your EFC at the College Board. When developing a college list parents and students tend to focus on key college criteria such as location, size, courses of study offered, campus life and admission probability, but what about financial probability?

Parents with lower EFC’s might be surprised that private colleges might actually be less expensive than schools in their state’s University system.  Understanding your EFC prior to developing college lists is vital to optimize student opportunities.

The table below provides an example of how a selective private school might compare to a selective flagship University.

University of MD                    Dickinson College

Est. ’18-’19 Cost of Attendance                   $30,789                                             $66,779


Family EFC                                                     $15,000                                             $15,000


Need                                                                $15,789                                             $51,779


Avg % of Need Met                                       75%                                                      99%


Gift Aid vs Self-Help (work study/loans)  67%/33%                                            87%/13%


Immediate Cost of Attendance                    $18,947                                               $15,725


Self-Help (work study/loans)                        $  3,860                                              $  6,688