So one of the things that they do at work is offer occasional lunch seminars.  They have a free lunch and have various topics.  Some are interesting, and some I just go for the free lunch.  Okay, that’s a lie – I go to all of them for the free lunch.  But nevertheless, some of them just turn out to be interesting :-)

So over the past few weeks, I’ve attended two interesting ones – one was about retirement planning in a down economy, and another was about saving for college.  Of course, as I said to one of my co-workers – the first thing about saving for retirement is taking advantage of free lunches!

The other day at the college one, I learned about EFC.  Now, I think of EFC as <a href=”http://everywhatever.blogspot.com/2007/12/efc-ohio-table-of-contents.html”>Every Freakin County</a> but in the context of college savings, EFC is the Expected Family Contribution.  Basically when filling out financial aid forms, the government looks at your income and assets and determines how much you are expected to contribute to your child’s education.

It was interesting.  There are of course a plethora of online calculators for EFC.  I used <a href=”http://www.finaid.org/calculators/finaidestimate.phtml”>this one</a>.  I just plugged in my tax info and assumed it was 10 years from now (one of the things it asks for is the age of the oldest parent).  It came up with an EFC of $6,000.  So then I ran a few spreadsheet simulations to figure out when different folks would be in college.  Accounting for missions and such, and assuming 5 years per kid, it looks like we will have 3 in college in 2025, 2026 and 2029.  The EFC is not per student but per family, so if you had an EFC of $6,000 and 2 kids, it would be $3,000 per kid.  Though your EFC goes up (but not double) as you have more kids in school.  So with 2 kids in school maybe your EFC would be $7,000.

Anyway, my (really rough) calculations said that 5 kids at 5 years per kid will cost us about $100,000.  And that is just to pay our EFC – the rest would have to be either loans, grants, scholarships, or additional savings.  But it definitely made me feel a little better about things.