FAFSA Expected Family Contribution Going Away?

There recently have been articles about the upcoming changes related to the Expected Family Contribution, which is part of the financial aid calculation. Our article Changes To The FAFSA: Student Aid Index Replaces Expected Family Contribution is one of them. The changes have caused a bit of confusion among parents and students alike, as I have been asked quite a few times, “Is the FAFSA Expected Family Contribution going away?” Let me clarify this for you. The NAME “Expected Family Contribution” IS GOING AWAY and being replaced with “Student Index”. The concept is staying!

What Does Expected Family Contribution Mean?

The Expected Family Contribution is the amount the federal government and institutions say a family can pay for one year of the child’s college education.

What Has Changed with Respect to Expected Family Contribution?

Recent changes were made to college financial aid as part of a large COVID bill passed by Congress. The changes related to Expected Family Contribution are causing much confusion for parents and students. Let’s break it down.

1) The name is changing to Student Aid Index. The term Expected Family Contribution was really very much a misnomer. People were under the impression that the amount calculated was what they were expected to pay. And although that calculation is typically a very high number in relation to what a family feels that they can pay, it is by far not only what they are going to pay. On the contrary. Expected Family Contribution is actually a baseline. Colleges will view that number and depending on your financial aid need may provide you 20% of what your financial need is, they may cover 80% of your need or they may cover none of your need. The actual financial aid provided varies. Because the Expected Family Contribution does not necessarily equate with what you are required to pay, the federal government decided to alleviate the confusion and change the name to Student Index.

2) There will still be a calculation, but that is also changing a bit. First off, the FAFSA will be shorter. Second, families having an adjusted gross income of $60,000 or less will have a Student Aid Index calculated without assets. Third, higher income families will likely see a higher Student Aid Index now.

3) More students will qualify for the full Pell Grant.

When Will these Expected Family Contribution Changes Take Effect?

The changes will start happening October 1st of 2022 based on the academic year of 2023-2024 because that’s when you start applying or can start applying for financial aid for the 2023-2024 academic year.

In summary, the FAFSA Expected Family Contribution is not going away. The name is changing, the FAFSA is getting shorter, and the calculation is changing.

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