Persoanlly, mom2collegekids, I don't know of any such schools, but I could see schools like Berea making the process mandatory. I don't even know if they do. But schools that charge no tuition could make that a part of the admissions process to make sure that every single student entitled to PELL and/or state money gets it. Some families may not do it if the costs are covered, or not link the FAFSA to that school. Cooper Union, Webb, Curtis are all some examples of tuition free schools. In NY if your family income is below ~$80K, htere is state money to be had, something a lot of families don't know, Yeah, it's surprising but true. Alot of people have no idea how financial aid works. By requiring a FAFSA to be on file, it gives schools a way to get those monies such students are entitled to get.
Also FAFSA is not just for financial aid but is a clearinghouse as to whether the student is eligible for financial aid. Schools wanting to make sure the student is a US citizen/permanent resident can have that assurance if there s/he is not bounced out of the system. Some Maritime schools and other such specialty schools may find that a valuable screening device.
If a school requires it, you have to do it if you want to be considered for admissions. I agree that it is a very rare requirement from what I have seen--haven't seen it at all, but I can see how that can happen.
Oh, I think I did see something about that in terms of being in an Honors COllege at some school. All Honors college students got free tuiton or close to that. But all Honors College students also needed to fill out a FAFSA. Apparently the school wanted to get every bit of entitlement money from those who had it. I cannot remember the college at the moment--it was a state school.
In states like WV, FL, Georgia, pretty much everyone completes FAFSA because it was required for the state awards. They don't use the financial info for giving out the awards, but to be even in consideration, a FAFSA was required. Some colleges in those states could require a FAFSA from all state residents to make sure no one missed the boat on this award that the college could then integrate into their own aid and award packages. IT's a smart thing to do this. I know of two kids who did not get these auto awards (if they had only apled, they would have gotten them). Still rankles me about the one and the stupid GC who was unaware of the award as the girl was going to a private high school in a neighboring state.