The FAFSA form is the grand-daddy of all financial aid forms. FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The name is a little misleading, because it’s used not for only federal student aid, but for state aid as well as institutional aid for many colleges. The form is online and resides at www.fafsa.gov.
Filling out the FAFSA proves to be a nightmare for families all across America every year, SO… we’ve created an easy-to-follow, step-by-step video course that walks you through all the big changes to this year’s form.
While many families are told to fill out the FAFSA in order to get financial aid, few families ever really understand the purpose of the FAFSA and how the information is actually used. The FAFSA has essentially ONE main purpose… and that is to compute a student’s EFC. This stands for Expected Family Contribution and… like the FAFSA form itself, is highly misunderstood.
Here’s where it gets confusing just by the very name Expected Family Contribution. One might assume that EFC is an indicator of how much a family is expected to contribute to a college… any college… in order for their son or daughter to attend, right? WRONG! In very few cases is this true.
Let’s begin with the extremes. In some cases, even with low to moderate EFC calculations, students receive nothing but loans for their “financial aid award”. In other cases, students’ out-of-pocket expenses ARE limited to their EFC calculation… but this is only for less than 100 of the most highly-selective colleges in America.
A student’s EFC is compared with the COA (Cost-of-Attendance) of the college under consideration. The simple formula is COA – EFC = NEED. So a student’s financial need is a direct function of the EFC calculation. Dollar for dollar, as EFC goes up, NEED goes down… and vice versa.
But herein lies the kicker… VERY few schools offer 100% of a student’s calculated need… in fact, less than 100 offer it as policy. So what about the remaining 2500-ish colleges? Well, most offer a percentage of calculated need, some a high percentage, some a low, and others anywhere and everywhere in between.
OK… so now you know that few schools offer 100% of a student’s financial need based on the EFC calculation. The next major misconception is that the “financial aid” that is awarded is FREE money. SOME of it is indeed free, and this is called a grant.
But a huge part of “financial aid” is in the form of loans and work-study (which is a job providing about $3000/year on the high end, sometimes as low as $1000.)
Many families find themselves overwhelmed with all these new terms and concepts: FAFSA, CSS Profile, Dual EFC’s, Need-Based Financial Aid, and the list goes on and on. If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, FEAR NOT!
We have a Video Course for only $37 (normally $97) that will guide you through the entire process of completing and submitting your student’s FAFSA Form.
Call us at our Dana Point Harbor headquarters at 949.485.2639 or shoot an email to our friendly Customer Success Team at support@CollegeSuccessFormula.com.