EPI's weekly illustration of education data trends — December 9, 2015

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Undergraduate Students with

Zero Expected Family Contribution (EFC), 2012

 

The table below represents the percentage of undergraduate students who have an expected family contribution (EFC) of zero. That is, because of their level of poverty, they are not expected to make a personal contribution to their cost of attendance. In the financial aid world, zero EFC is one proxy a for low-income student.

On average, 38 percent of all undergraduate students in 2012 had a zero EFC, compared to 66 percent of students who received a Pell Grant and 18 percent of students who did not receive a Pell Grant. Readers can also see the variation on zero EFC by the amount of Pell funds received by students, with almost all students who receive a maximum Pell Grant or close (maximum Pell is $5,500) with a zero EFC (94 percent) and only 43 percent of those with low Pell Grants (<$2k) with a zero EFC.

As well, the percentage of students with a zero EFC changes by institution type. Approximately 59 percent of students attending private, for-profit institutions have a zero EFC compared to 25 percent of those attending private, not-for-profit four-year institutions.

NOTE: The formula for determining EFC is rather complex and changes from year-to-year. However, some of the considerations are noted below:

dependent student automatically qualifies for a zero EFC if both (1) anyone included in the parents' household size (as defined on the FAFSA) received benefits during the current or previous tax year from any of the designated means-tested Federal benefit programs: the SSI Program, the Food Stamp Program, the Free and Reduced Price School Lunch Program, the TANF Program, and WIC; OR the student's parents filed or are eligible to file an IRS Form 1040A or 1040EZ (they are not required to file a Form 1040) or the parents are not required to file any income tax return; OR the student's parent is a dislocated worker. AND (2) the income of the student's parents is $24,000 or less.

An independent student with dependents other than a spouse automatically qualifies for a zero EFC if both (1) anyone included in the student's household size (as defined on the FAFSA) received benefits during the current or previous tax year from any of the designated means-tested Federal benefit programs: the SSI Program, the Food Stamp Program, the Free and Reduced Price School Lunch Program, the TANF Program, and WIC; OR the student and student's spouse (if the student is married) each meet one of the following conditions: filed or is eligible to file an IRS Form 1040A or 1040EZ or is not required to file any income tax return; OR the student (or the student's spouse, if any) is a dislocated worker. AND (2) the student's (and spouse's) income is $24,000 or less.

SOURCE: http://www.nhheaf.org/index.asp?page=pay_zeroefc.