After you have submitted your completed FAFSA form to the U.S. Department of Education, you will get back a Student Aid Report (SAR) that will contain something called your Expected Family Contribution or EFC. What is that and how does it affect your chances of getting financial aid?
Your EFC is a numeric score or index number that is used by the U.S. Department of Education for loans and colleges to determine how much financial aid you would receive if you were to attend their school. It is not the actual amount of money you must pay, or the amount of aid you will receive.
It is calculated according to a formula that considers your family's taxed and untaxed income, assets, and benefits (such as unemployment or Social Security). In addition there is your family size and the number of family members who will attend college or career school during the year. Get more information here.