529 Planning Financial Aid Calculator

Use this calculator to gain important financial aid insight. Estimate your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which colleges are likely to expect your family to pay towards the cost of attendance (COA) for one year. View the amount of financial aid you may be eligible to receive, which is the difference between the COA and your EFC. Consider how saving in a parent's name or using a savings vehicle that's treated as a parental asset, such as a 529 plan, may help in the financial aid process.

Note: The EFC estimate in this analysis is based on the Federal Methodology, the starting point for financial aid decisions at any college that offers Federal financial aid.

Household Information
State of Residence *      
Number of Parents
Family Size *
Age of Older Parent      
Family Members in College
Parent Information
Adjusted Gross Income,
according to your latest tax form *
Total Income Tax Paid
Income from Work  - Parent 1
Income from Work  - Parent 2
Untaxed Income and Benefits
Net Value of Business
Cash and Investments
   including 529 plan assets
Student Information
First Name      
Adjusted Gross Income
Total Federal Income Tax
Income From Work
Untaxed Income and Benefits
Cash and Investments
College Cost
Please select a college type:
Public 2-year school ($18,550) Public 4-year school, in-state ($26,820)
Public 4-year school, out-of-state ($43,280) Private 4-year school, average ($54,880)
Costs include tuition, fees, room & board, allowance for books and supplies, transportation and personal expenses.
Average Cost Data: ©2020 The College Board, “Trends in College Pricing 2020/2021”
* - required field

This calculator estimates your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) to college costs for one student, for one year of college, as it would be calculated using the Federal Methodology, the formula established by Congress for determining eligibility for student financial aid. The calculator collects less detailed data than the actual formula, and its results are only an estimate.

College financial aid administrators subtract your Expected Family Contribution from their school's Cost of Attendance, which includes both charges that are billed to you and estimates of related academic and personal expenses. The difference between Cost and EFC is the student's Need. The student's Need is used to qualify the student for Federal student aid programs and to inform the administrators' decisions about other aid the school offers.

The Federal financial aid formula counts the following financial resources as being available to pay college expenses:

No one can predict how much financial aid a student may receive. This outcome will depend on the results of the student's Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which every college student should file; other financial aid forms the student's college may require; Federal funding for student aid programs; and state and private resources for non-Federal student aid. It is not unusual to find that you will have to pay more than your Expected Family Contribution would suggest.

Your equity in your family's home does not enter into the Federal EFC calculation. Your pension, 401(k), IRA and other retirement savings plans are also not counted by the Federal EFC calculation (assuming withdrawals are not made from these accounts in the financial aid assessment years). However, other formulas that will affect the student's prospects of getting non-Federal financial aid usually consider these resources.

This calculator provides an estimate of the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), using a formula similar to the Federal Methodology approved by Congress and used by college financial aid offices in awarding Federal financial aid. The EFC estimated by this calculator may be significantly different than the actual EFC figure generated by the federal processor and the college financial aid office.

The Financial Aid Estimator is intended to provide illustrations regarding estimated costs of college, savings that may already be saved in a 529 college savings plan and hypothetical expected family contribution information. College costs may be more or less than what is shown in these examples and other costs may be incurred in attaining a college education.

State tax laws and treatment may vary. Earnings on non-qualified distributions will be subject to income tax and a 10% federal penalty tax. Please consult your tax adviser for more information.

Some financial aid offices may require that distributions taken from grandparent-owned 529 savings plans be reported as student income when applying for financial aid. Check with the financial aid administrator for specific school requirements.

Financial Aid Estimator illustrations are produced by Wealth Management Systems Inc.