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Free Application (FAFSA)

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

This is the form that EVERY student applying for aid should fill out!!

The FAFSA form is the primary application for federal, state and college based financial aid. Information that you and your parents provide on this form determine the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) for one academic year. Once your EFC has been calculated, the government officials send this information to the colleges to let them know what your family can afford to pay for attending that school. If you are admitted to the college, the financial aid office will compare what it actually costs (costs include all expenses for an academic year: tuition, fees, housing, food, clothes, books, and entertainment) to attend the school and how much you can pay. The difference between the two is called your "need".

$20,000 total cost to attend a college
- $4,500 calculated EFC
= $15,500 your need
The financial aid office would then try to provide you with a financial aid package to fill your need. They will be told by the federal and state governments if you qualify for grants such as the Federal Pell grants based on your FAFSA information. The colleges will then make decisions about allocating their own institutional funds and any other funds they administer. Obviously, the FAFSA is the foundation of the entire financial aid process.

Because of the importance of the FAFSA, be sure to have your parents carefully look at what is required and fill the form out carefully!

On this form, you can list up to six colleges, federal and state programs to which you are applying for financial aid and request that your FAFSA information and its analysis be sent to them.

Hot Tips for completing your FAFSA!