Thoughts on Financial Need
Will you qualify for an Atkinson Scholarship?
Families often call and ask whether they’ll meet our financial need requirements. We’d like to be able to say a quick “yes” or “no” but there is no easy answer.
We use the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) calculation (Institutional Methodology) to assess need. The EFC formula combines a variety of relevant factors (such as adjusted gross income, assets, family size, etc.) into a single number which we use to compare family circumstances.
Does that number represent what a family can realistically afford to pay for college in any given year? No. But it does tell us that the family with an EFC of $20K probably has greater need than the one with an EFC of $30K.
A reasonable predictor of our EFC calculation is available on the FinAid.org website. It may be worth the time it takes to complete.
To estimate your EFC go to http://www.finaid.org/calculators/finaidestimate and complete the form.
Under the category Untaxed Income, calculate the following:
- Total IRA, KEOGH, and 401(k) contributions for the year plus
- Interest income (2019 IRS Form 1040 Line 2b) plus
- Dividend income (2019 IRS Form 1040 Line 3b).
Under the category Parent Savings, include the total value of cash, checking and savings.
Under the category Investments Net Worth, calculate the following:
- Investments net worth plus
- Home equity (current assessed value minus what is owed) for all homes owned.
Your Expected Family Contribution will be calculated.
How do we use the EFC at the Sudbury Foundation?
We request financial information on our application form and confirm its accuracy by requiring submission of 1040 forms and W-2s for students and their parents. We run the calculation, look at the range of EFCs from the current pool of applicants and set the EFC ceiling for the current year. In 1996, the first year of the program, our EFC threshold was $15K. In the last few years, the ceiling has fluctuated around $50-60K. Students with EFCs above the ceiling are taken out of consideration.
Once you meet the EFC threshold, your level of need still plays a role in our overall assessment process. We score applications based on three factors: Financial Need, Academics and Merit (which includes Leadership/School & Community Service/Work Experience). A higher EFC means a lower Financial Need score, in which case students must earn high ratings in our other assessment categories to receive a scholarship.
If you’re concerned about your financial eligibility, we encourage you to run the online formula. Keep in mind, our threshold shifts each year and is not set until after all the applications are in.
If you have additional questions, please don’t hesitate to call us.
Photo of graduation cap courtesy of Jessie Jacobson.