Every year parents and students are bombarded with solicitations from universities, junior colleges, offers for FAFSA help or seminars, and a host of other opportunities to save money going to college.
This guide is a simple breakdown of information regarding the most popular questions and types of financial aid that you or your student will encounter their senior year and first year of college.
How Financial Aid is determined by the FAFSA
What are all these abbreviations I read about?
EFC (Expected Family Contribution) – Is a measure of your family’s financial strength and is calculated according to a formula established by law. There are many factors that are calculated into the formula such as your family size and the number of family members who will attend college during the next year, and if any parent/guardian is on disability, social security, or other government assistance programs.
Schools use the EFC to determine your federal student aid eligibility and financial aid award package. It is not the amount of money that you or your parents are responsible for and it is not the amount of aid you will receive.
CoA (Cost of Attendance) – This is the schools estimate of what it costs for a full time student, living in the dorm, to attend the university for one year. This number is usually inflated over the actual cost of attendance since they factor in things like trips home, miscellaneous expenses and other items that your student may or may not need.
FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) – This is the form that every student must fill out in the spring of their senior year of high school, preferably in February. This is the form that gives the government, schools, and some scholarship foundations the necessary information to award your student money for school. It is important to note that your child will not receive any government aid without a FAFSA being filed.
This is a very invasive document and will require the following documents to be completed:
- The parent’s previous year tax returns (for 2013-2014 Admission, the student will complete the FAFSA 2013-2014
Form and use the 2012 Tax Returns for both parent and student)
- W-2’s for parent(s) and student (if the student worked anytime between Jan-Dec of 2012)
- The student’s tax return if he/she filed one
- Social Security numbers for everyone living with the student
- Student’s Driver License
- Current amount of money in checking, savings, and other accounts
- Current value of your assets apart from your main residence (rent houses, motor homes, etc.)
(Coincidentally, most of this information can be found on your tax return.)
WANT AN ESTIMATE FOR YOUR FAFSA?
FAFSA4caster will help you understand your options for paying for college. Provide some basic information and FAFSA can estimate your eligibility for federal student aid. Your estimate will be shown in the College Cost Worksheet where you can also provide estimated amounts of other student aid and savings that can go towards your college education.
To use the forecaster visit: FAFSA4CASTER