Know what counts
When an institution evaluates a student's financial aid eligibility, it first analyzes the student's "expected family contribution," or EFC, which is basically the amount the family is expected to pay. It's a good idea to understand how different assets count toward the EFC. Typically, EFC is 20 percent of a student's assets, 50 percent of a student's income, and 22 percent to 47 percent of the parents' income. Go to Savingforcollege.com/financial_aid_basics for more information.