There is no update to spreadsheets from this other thread, which will become obsoleted:
The spreadsheets are based on these pdf's:
You can access the spreadsheets here:
2018-2019 FAFSA spreadsheet : document id : 0B4Z-pPX4-i5vYWxVS3J2RGU5UzQ
2017-2018 FAFSA spreadsheet : document id : 0B4Z-pPX4-i5vUy1jRk9XNkl5TW8
2016-2017 FAFSA spreadsheet : document id : 0B4Z-pPX4-i5vdmtmNE15RzFnNXc
2015-2016 FAFSA spreadsheet : document id : 0B4Z-pPX4-i5veHRZWUk3dzFHRkk
Dont just click on the link, you need to copy paste the google drive link and the appropriate document id (starting with 0B4Z) after the equal sign into the browser address bar.
You have to download, and edit the "yellow" shaded cells in the main EFC sheet with your data.
The spreadsheet will spit out both your FAFSA EFC and Predicted Pell Grant.
It has been within $2 of the right values on the FAFSA SAR for both my kids over the last 3 years
2018-2019 Spreadsheet EFC will be accurate but still does not incorporate the "2018-2019 Pell Grant Payment and Disbursement Schedules" because those are not available yet.
See why here : https://www.nasfaa.org/news-item/13481/When_Should_We_Expect_the_2018-19_Pell_Grant_Schedules
But as suggested in the article, just keep using what is already in the spreadsheet above, and in the end the pell grant will be the same or slightly better than what is predicted by the spreadsheet.
When the new schedules are available, they will be posted here :
under the heading : "2018-19 Pell Grant Payment and Disbursement Schedules"
At that point you can update spreadsheet cells in sheet 'Table P1' cell G8:G66 to reflect data in the Schedule to get a more accurate Pell Grant Estimate.
2018-2019 FAFSA spreadsheet has one improvement in that can handle households >6 and in college >5 (previous years spreadsheets couldn't handle it)
What I think is great about this spreadsheet is that shows changes to your FAFSA in real time as you type out and change the numbers. It helped volumes in getting to understand how each answer in the FAFSA affects your EFC...and immediately too!
Following insights have been made using it:
Importance of trying to file 1040EZ or 1040A over filing a 1040, leading to not considering assets if <50K income.
The First 7K or 8K of money given from non-custodial parent to student, barely affects the EFC
Spend down assets or pay off debts just before filing fafsa, especially the student.
Co-op earnings do not affect EFC
But try it out for yourself and get your own insights for your case.
Once you know how EFC varies with different entries, it helps plan and improve future year EFCs