Applying to schools without taking into account your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is reckless. Use your EFC to build the perfect college list instead. Here’s why:
The truth is—regardless of income level—most families cannot afford to spend 47% of their take home pay for one year of college. In this post, you’ll learn how to build a college list of schools to apply to based on your EFC.
The Perfect College List Based on Your EFC
Your EFC is the smallest amount your family is expected to pay for one year of college. As unrealistic as the EFC is, it’s not unusual for colleges to expect families to pay even more. That’s because most schools do not meet 100% of demonstrated need. For details, check out my EFC video resources at the end of this post.
Families with EFC of $700 to $21,000
Apply to in-state 2-year and 4-year public schools within commuting distance. Apply also to 4-year private schools where the student is in the top 25% of last year’s freshman class. Lastly, consult your guidance counselor about your chances at elite 4-year private schools that meet 100% of demonstrated need.
Families with EFC of $22,000 to $35,000
Apply to at least 2 financial safety schools that you’d be happy to attend. A financial safety school is an admissions safety school that you can afford to attend even if you get no financial aid. That said, apply to in-state 4-year public schools and 4-year private schools where the student is in the top 25% of entering class. At least 2 or 3 of these should be within commuting distance.
Families with EFC of $36,000 to $55,000 and above
Apply to schools generous with merit aid. Your best bet schools are 4-year private schools with high endowments where your child is in the top 25% of the entering class.
The Perfect College List Includes A Safe Place to Land
Remember, regardless of income level—most families cannot afford to spend 47% of their take home pay on college. That said, if you haven’t found at least one or two safety schools where you’ll be happy, keep searching until you do!
What’s stopping you from finding a safety school you’d be happy to attend?
Please share your thoughts in the text box below.
More On EFCs
In these two videos, you’ll learn everything you need to know about Expected Family Contributions to help you get started.
Get Transcripts of Both Videos
Receive My Free College Guide
If you aren’t receiving my newsletter, here’s your chance to subscribe and instantly receive my new guide, The Ultimate College Search Jumpstart and 5 Steps to Find Your Fit.