Publication Date: May 9, 2001
Author: Program Development/AS
Summary: Determining EFCs for Periods Other than Nine Months
Posted on May 9, 2001
To: Financial Aid Community
Jeff Baker, Director
Student Financial Assistance
Daniel T. Madzelan, Chief
Forecasting and Policy Analysis
Office of Postsecondary Education
Subject: Determining EFCs for Periods Other than Nine Months
The purpose of this letter is to clarify that schools may continue to use prior informal guidance for determining the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) for a student who will be enrolled for a period other than nine months. This announcement specifically applies to periods of enrollment that include this upcoming summer.
The Higher Education Amendments of 1998 (reauthorization) made statutory changes that, among other things, modified the calculation of a student's EFC when the student is enrolled for a period other than nine months. These statutory modifications were effective for calculations for the 2000-2001 award year. During 1999 we provided informal guidance to schools and community associations, specifically the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), on how to determine a student's EFC in such cases. However, we did not officially release any guidance on this issue. NASFAA, with our approval, provided the community with guidance and suggestions of how schools should determine the correct EFC when packaging a student for a period of enrollment other than nine months.
During this past year we continued to look at this issue and began the development of guidance that would more directly address the options a school has for packaging Title IV aid when a student is enrolled for a period other than nine months. We believe that the guidance we will be finalizing more accurately supports the statutory language, provides flexibility to schools, and provides a level of equity to students and their families. Over the past several months we have been presenting this proposed guidance at various community meetings.
Because we have not officially released the final guidance on this topic, and because schools have begun preparing award packages for this upcoming summer, we want to clarify that until we make an official announcement of the EFC policy, schools may continue to use the prior NASFAA guidance or their own reasonable interpretation of the statutory requirements for the upcoming summer. We expect to finalize the new guidance later this summer with an effective date yet to be determined, but one that will provide schools with sufficient lead time to modify their procedures and systems.