The Hope Center

Calculating and Using Negative EFC

For decades, the shortcomings of financial aid have frustrated students and colleges alike. Flaws in the design and delivery of financial aid, including how “need” is defined and subsequently calculated, contribute to its diminishing efficacy. Subsequently, students’ financial need has continued to go unmet, with nearly three in four students having unmet financial need.

This policy memo outlines how college leaders and policymakers can use negative Expected Family Contribution (EFC) to determine which students have the most significant financial need and use that information to direct support to them.

Additionally, college leaders are encouraged to use the following guide and spreadsheet to calculate students’ negative EFC: