Modeling Negative EFC Data Ask


Using grant funding, National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) has contracted with Robert Kelchen, an associate professor of higher education at Seton Hall University to further model the possibility of a negative Estimated Family Contribution (EFC). To test the feasibility of this idea, NASFAA is helping Robert gather the data used to calculate an EFC for a set of students over one award year. This is important work as Congress considers adopting a negative EFC in Higher Education Act reauthorization discussions, which could allow financial aid administrators to target aid dollars based on this metric. The data shared as part of this project will be used for a forthcoming report by Robert Kelchen, to be published in June 2020 by NASFAA. NASFAA's policy and federal relations staff and research department will review and provide feedback on the publication prior to its release. Individual institutions will not be named in the publication.


Participation is welcomed from all sectors and will be limited to the first 20 institutions that contact NASFAA’s Research Department. Institutions that are not among the first 20 to return participation agreements will be placed on a wait list. Your institution must also be able to fulfill the responsibilities of participants, as outlined below, by Friday, December 13, 2019.

Responsibilities of Participants

Institutions that meet the eligibility requirements above and are interested in participating will have three major responsibilities:

Responsibility #1: Contact NASFAA's Research Department to indicate your interest in participating and to affirm that your institution will be able to provide the requested data by Friday, December 13, 2019.

Responsibility #2: Gather Data Points: Participants will provide the data points detailed below individually for each student, and not aggregated for the entire institution.

Cohort Requirements

We are requesting data for the 2018-19 award year for FAFSA filers. Institutions are welcome to provide data on both undergraduate and graduate students if they are able. Data should only be provided for the active Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) on which the student's award was based.

Data Elements

  • All elements of the 2018-19 Student Aid Report (SAR) except for items that contain personally identifiable information and/or are not needed to calculate EFC. The items requested are:
    • Number 9 (only need year)
    • Number 14
    • Numbers 16-21
    • Numbers 24-25
    • Numbers 28-60
    • Numbers 64 and 68 (only need year)
    • Number 70
    • Numbers 71-102
  • Other items from the financial aid office are:
    • Verification flag
    • Automatic zero EFC flag
    • Formula type
    • Simplified needs test flag
    • Professional judgment
    • Dependency status
    • Dependency override
    • Pell eligible flag

Responsibility #3: Upload Files: Participants will be required to upload their files to a secure server by Friday, December 13, 2019. Details for uploading will be provided at a later date. 

Next Steps

If your institution is within the parameters above and you can provide the data listed by Friday, December 13, 2019, please contact Charlotte Etier, NASFAA's Assistant Director of Research and Grants at to confirm your interest.


  • As Soon As Possible: Contact NASFAA's research department to confirm participation.
  • Friday, December 13, 2019: Data must be submitted to the designated secure server


Please email NASFAA's Assistant Director of Research and Grants Charlotte Etier at with any questions you may have.

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