Did you know that:

  • About 56 percent of students enrolled at four-year colleges or universities attend institutions that charge tuition and fees of less than $9,000 per year.
  • 43 percent of full-time students enrolled in public four-year colleges and universities attend institutions that charge tuition and fees between $3,000 and $6,000.
  • Though this may seem high!  There is more than $130 billion in financial aid available. http://www.collegeboard.com/student/pay/add-it-up/4494.html

What is federal student aid?

“Federal student aid is financial assistance that’s available through the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid if you’re enrolled in an eligible program as a regular student at a college participating in the federal student aid programs.

Federal student aid covers college expenses such as tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and transportation. This aid can also help you pay for a computer and dependent child care expenses.

You also might be able to get financial aid from your state government, your college, or a private scholarship.
Research non-federal aid early (ideally, start in the spring of your junior year of high school). Be sure to meet all application deadlines! “(from the http://www.fafsa4caster.ed.gov/what011.htm website)

Another benefit of visiting this website is the ability to get an estimate for your Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
This will determine if you are eligible for any federal financial aid, subsidized loans, work study or other financial assistance.  The fafsa4caster can be a wonderful tool to give you a head start on how to plan for college financially. http://www.fafsa.ed.gov


  • Go online to http://www.fafsa.ed.gov Get a PIN# (Personal Identification Number) Everyone (parent and each child applying) to college has their own FAFSA PIN#. Be sure to have both parents Form1040 and each child/s Form 1040/EZ done before March, the earlier the better!  You do not have to file your taxes just have them prepared. Write your PIN#’s down in several places and make sure you can easily retrieve these PIN#’s.
  • Go online to www.fafsa.ed.gov with your child.  On this website are various videos to help you with the process.  Be sure to watch them.
  • If you go to Cafe College or any other FAFSA support organization, bring all tax forms and you will receive your EFC# (Expected Family Contribution). This figure determines if and how much your college will assist you in finding grants, loans, scholarships, work study, etc. Be sure to keep a copy !    of all FAFSA documentation, it is possible you may need it later.
  • Within a week  youwill receive an email from FAFSA stating your SAR# (Student Aid Report – this is the same figure as your EFC#). The SAR# is what will be sent to all colleges you list on your FAFSA application.
  • Be sure to add all colleges you think the student or you might attend. It is easier to do this when you are doing your FAFSA application the first time.
  • If you realize you have need to make corrections, no problem. Be aware that when you make changes your college may ask you to verify, submit all your tax documents, before making their final financial aid package available to you. This can be a hassle but it gives you an opportunity to work with the financial aid office personally.
  • This seems complicated but do one step at a time. You will need to file a FAFSA each year your child or you attend college. For your information, the more people in your household that attend college at the same time benefits all your EFC#. Generally, if one family member is eligible for grant money, then all family members attending college are also eligible.  This can truly make a difference ex. If two members of your household have EFC# of 500 or less then each member may be eligible for $2,000 each semester.  Just like your Form 1040 there is a chart that breaks down your eligibility total based on income.
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