Ah, the FAFSA… That’s the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, for those of you who are not knee-deep in college stuff. It’s an important part of the process of figuring out how to pay for college, but it is often misunderstood and many people find it MUCH more confusing than it actually is.
And, of course, military families always have to be special, so I’ve written Six Answers To FAFSA Questions For Military Families.
I spend a lot of time researching questions about the FAFSA, and there are three resources that I use regularly. If you have a really specific question, or just want to have a better understanding of the process by which the FAFSA figures out your Estimated Family Contribution (EFC), you might enjoy these resources as well.
The FAFSA Application and Verification Guide
The FAFSA Application and Verification Guide is designed for schools, but it is still super helpful for families. It answers a LOT of questions about what to include and what to put where. One important part of this guide talks about the situations in which the school is permitted to override dependency criteria and reclassify a student from dependent to independent.
The EFC Formula Workbook
The EFC Formula Workbook is a 29 page worksheet that walks you step-by-step through the actual formula that is used to calculator your family’s EFC. You can read through it online just to learn, or you can print it out and actually do the math yourself.
If you often wonder, “How did they come up with that number,” this is a great tool for you.
The Nitro Step-By-Step Guide To Completing The 2020-2021 FAFSA Questions
This amazing line-by-line explanation of the FAFSA has saved me so many times. It gives a separate page of explanation for every single question, and it covers almost every possible scenario. It’s really, really good, and much faster than digging through the studentaid.gov website or any other resource.
The FAFSA should not be scary, hard, or time-consuming. Using these resources can help you with both filling out the form, and understanding the EFC that is generated from your input.