EFC and Zero EFC

What Kind of Financial Aid can I get with a Zero EFC

You might hear your college friends talk about getting the coveted zero efc when talking about financial aid for college. The EFC stands for Expected Family Contribution and it is the magic number for what kind of financial aid you are eligible and how much you can get. If you get a zero EFC, you might think that you are getting a full ride to college, but that is not necessarily the case.

Getting a zero EFC is hard enough, but getting a full ride is much harder to get. First we will talk about getting the zero EFC. The equation for figuring out the EFC is very complicated and on paper, is approximately 30 pages long. It takes much more than just income into account when calculating then EFC such as age of parents, state you live in, and number of people in your family. There is an automatic zero EFC if you and your family meet certain criteria.

On to the federal aid part of the zero EFC. If you are fortunate enough to get a zero EFC, then you are better off then the majority of college students these days. Having a zero EFC will open many college doors for you and you really should take full advantage of it. There are several types of financial aid for college available and you will probably need to take advantage of most types to get the most out of college and federal aid.

At the least, you will be eligible for a full Pell Grant if you attend school full time and possible more. The Pell grant is the most coveted type of financial aid out there because it can fully pay for a community college and you do not have to pay it back. The maximum amount of money you can get from the Pell Grant for the current 2009-2010 school year is $5350 and the maximum for the upcoming 2010-2011 school year that starts July 1st, 2010 is $5550. This is only if you are going to attend full time. If you decide to attend less than full time, the maximum is as follows:

Full-time – $5550
Three-Quarter time – $4163
Half time – $2775
Less than half time – $1388

Please keep in mind that these amounts are only if you have a zero EFC and they decrease in dollar amount as your EFC number increases.

You also might be eligible for the FSEOG, which is the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant and the maximum is $4000 a year. You can be awarded anywhere between $100 and $4000 for the school year depending on the amount of credit hours you are taking and your EFC.

So far if you are going to attend college full time and have a zero EFC, you can get $9550 for college. This is well over the amount it costs to attend any community college and will cover all costs associated with college including tuition, fees, books, and meals. This would also cover some 4 year colleges if you are a resident. Currently you can attend Arizona State University for around $8100 a school year if you are a resident.

You will also be eligible for the maximum amount of Federal Stafford loans which as a freshman is an addition $5500. There are a few other types of federal aid that you might be eligible for depending on your major like the ACG Grant and the TEACH Grant.

There also might be college financial aid available to you through the state that you live in. Most states offer some types of college aid however, all states have different programs that are offered. You can look up what your state offers by visiting a state financial aid page.

As you can see there is plenty of college aid available to those that have a zero EFC, but you must be diligent and ask your financial aid office about all aid available to you. You can always make an appointment with the financial aid officers at your school and ask plenty of questions.