The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is comprised of two components: a parent contribution and a student contribution. After various allowances (i.e. protections) are calculated for both parent and student income and assets, a reasonable amount the family should be able to contribute towards the student’s costs is determined. Each family’s application is provided a holistic review to ensure equity while also considering each family’s unique circumstances. The EFC used to determine aid eligibility at Rice may differ from the EFC calculated by the FAFSA or other institutions due to our in-depth and custom review of each family’s finances.
The parent contribution calculation takes into account many different factors. These include, but are not limited to:
- Total Income
- Total Assets, excluding funds in a qualified retirement account
- Household Size
- Parent ages
- Sibling ages
- Number of dependents enrolled in an undergraduate program
- Medical allowance based on income
- City and state of residency
- Partial private school tuition
In cases of separation or divorce, we expect both households to participate in the partnership to fund a student’s education. Income and assets from step-parents in the custodial household are also considered available resources to the student. The custodial and non-custodial contributions are calculated separately. The final EFC reflects one parent contribution; it is ultimately up to each family to determine how to best meet that contribution between both households. We will never share financial information of one parent with the other. For The Rice Investment, the financial aid offer may be prorated to take into account the non-custodial parent contribution rather than using a direct combination of parent incomes. In an effort to minimize the stress that may accompany gathering information for both households to complete the application, only the custodial parent will need to reapply each year. We will only collect information from the non-custodial household one time and that information will carry forward for future years.
We understand there may be extenuating circumstances regarding the family’s ability to collect information about the non-custodial household. Families may petition to waive the non-custodial portion of the contribution by submitting the Non-Custodial Parent Waiver Request. These requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis by our Appeals Committee and are not guaranteed to be approved. A parent’s refusal to submit their portion of the application is not generally considered an extenuating circumstance.
In addition to the parent’s responsibility, we expect students to assist with their college expenses. A minimum student contribution is factored in for each student to reflect what a student should reasonably be able to contribute from summer work-earnings. Students with significant wages or assets may be expected to contribute more to their education. Additionally, a work-study award is included in most financial aid packages to allow students the opportunity to earn income throughout the academic year to use for day-to-day expenses or any other indirect expenses necessary.
Options for Meeting the EFC
We understand not every family is able to fulfill their EFC with cash on hand. There are many options available to help cover the family’s responsibility towards the bill and indirect costs. The most popular options include taking advantage of the installment plan offered by the Cashier Office and student or parent loans. Other options for meeting the EFC include borrowing against retirement or home equity and restructuring the family’s budget to allow for bill payments.
Outside aid is considered a resource available to the family and will reduce the student’s demonstrated need rather than the EFC. For more information, please visit our page on Outside Aid.
We understand the application process cannot always give us a complete picture of the family’s current ability to pay. If there are extenuating circumstances that you feel are not adequately reflected in your financial aid offer, then you may submit an appeal. Please visit our Special Circumstances page for more information on the appeals process.