Multiple children in college and the Expected Family Contribution

I recently learned something I wasn’t expecting.  It turns out that the computation of the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), while important, isn’t as important as the fact that the sum of the expected contributions in any one year does not materially change if you have more than one child in college at the same time.

Here is a discussion on this. To quote :

For example, twins, triplets and other multiples may qualify for more need-based financial aid than children who do not overlap in college. While it may be too late to implement such a family planning strategy, the impact on eligibility for need-based financial aid may influence the parents’ thinking about whether to allow a child to skip a grade or take a gap year between high school and college.

Now, isn’t that useful to know.

Details : This worksheet computes the EFC for 2015-2016.  On page 9, the Total parents’ contribution from the Adjusted Available Income is divided by the number in college (question #74 on the FAFSA) to arrive at the Parents’ Contribution, which is then added to the Student’s Contribution (from income and assets) to arrive at the EFC.

This really turns logic on its ahead.  In the Asian culture, a widely held assumption is that the cost of putting multiple children through college would, well, scale linearly with the number of children.    Not so here.

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