What exactly is FAFSA??

<p>I think I should get ready for my FAFSA application..</p>

<p>but I'm not sure exactly what FAFSA is..</p>

<p>is this determine the amount of loan that you can get from a college??</p>

<p>R pulling my leg?</p>

<p>FAFSA</a> - Free Application for Federal Student Aid.<br>
It determines your expected family contribution to college tuition, room and board, etc. It also can tell what kind of federal grants you are eligible for. All schools require it for any consideration of financial aid, scholarships, grants. If you are starting college in the fall, then yes you should do it ASAP, deadlines however have passed for most schools. If it is for the following year, then you cannot file til after Jan 1 2009.</p>

<p>jungh...I sure hope you are NOT a high school senior!! The FAFSA is a financial aid application that is required for need based aid at almost every college in the country.</p>

<p>If you are a junior, good for you for looking into this in advance. HS juniors won't be able to file their FAFSA until next January 1 at the earliest. BUT get prepared, and EVERYONE in your family (both parents and student) should plan to have good estimated information to file in January (indicating "will file" as your tax filing status). Then have EVERYONE complete their taxes ASAP after Jan 31 so that the FAFSA can be corrected to reflect the "taxes completed" status and the correct numbers from the tax return. Please...for all HS Juniors...now is the time to plan ahead on this. Next year 2008 tax year, is NOT the year to file taxes late. It is the year to file as early as you can.</p>

<p>thumper--outside of the kinds of colleges commonly discussed on CC, it is more common that a senior might just be approaching the FA process now. At the college where I work, applications and admissions will go on through August. The only set in cement deadline is that they need to apply by June 1 to get NJ TAG aid.</p>

<p>Hi Garland, I know what you mean. But if a student WANTS financial aid packages to compare between more than one school prior to May 1, than they should get the FAFSA done...more than ASAP.</p>

<p>Yes....there are many colleges where admissions and the awarding of financial aid happen for quite a while yet.</p>

<p>Of course, Thumper. More information, and earlier, is always better. I'm just pointing out that for the schools that many students (most, actually) are applying to, there is no hard and fast May 1 deadline. If the OP is applying to these schools, it could easily explain his not having filled out a form yet without being thought of as negligent. (I know that's not what you meant; I just thought it could read that way.)</p>

<p>I'm opening myself up here with this stupid question but--my daughter's FAFSA came back with what I consider an abysmally high EFC since it is more than what I pay for my mortgage and my taxes combined. When I called to find out if that was what I was expected to pay each year for my daughter, the FAFSA representative told me that was a numerical code, not a dollar amount. It sounds like that's just a line. Those of you out there who have done this before--what's your input on this? I will openly admit that I'm relatively confused by financial issues--so please type slowly and clearly so I can understand. = )</p>

<p>Yea - kind of line I'm afraid.</p>

<p>For FAFSA schools (I'm clueless about CSS schools)
Each school has a COA (Cost Of Attendance) which generally consists of an averaged annual student cost for tuition/fees/books/room&board/miscellaneous/travel expenses</p>

<p>The school takes your EFC away from their COA to find out your 'need' and financial aid offers are based on that need. So if the school COA is $25,000 and your EFC is 15,000 then your 'need' is $10,000 and your financial aid is based on that.
Scholarships usually reduce your need so if you have scholarships of $6000 then your need would be $4000 - but most schools try and reduce the self help portion of aid (such as loand and work study). So technically the EFC is what you might expect to pay out of pocket though certain items books/travel/miscellaneous may actually be more or less than the estimates in the COA.</p>

<p>Ok. Again, please bear with my ignorance, so if our EFC is substantially higher than the COA can we expect no aid? Of course, I know there'll be no free money but is it reasonable to expect loans, work study, etc.? Or do we just end up paying outright? </p>

<p>I'm rather at a loss to understand how two parents who both work in education (read low teacher salaries) can be expected to pay so much for college.</p>

<p>If your EFC is higher than the cost of attendance, you will not receive need based aid. But if your student might be eligible for merit aid based on academic performance and stats.</p>

<p>She did receive some merit aid, but that still leaves us looking at $14,000 a year for state tuition. Hmmm. This makes the college search a little less exciting.</p>

<p>Federal work study is need based so if the EFC is more than the COA that is probably off the cards I am afraid. There are unsubsidized Stafford loans for students that are not 'need' based. I am not sure exactly how those are awarded in a financial aid package.</p>

<p>It almost seems better to her attend the private school she wanted to, but we ruled out due to cost, than to attend the state university she is leaning toward right now. At least then she would qualify for some need if I'm understanding this better.</p>

<p>Any student who completes a FAFSA will receive the option of a Stafford loan. If there is financial need, the loan will be subsidized. If not, the loan will be unsubsidized. </p>

<p>Zoot...the assumption for college is that expenses will be paid from past earnings (aka savings), current earnings (aka salary or use of other current assets) and future earnings (aka loans). </p>

<p>If a student does not have financial need, they will not be offered work-study. BUT most college towns have employment opportunities off campus, and some schools actually have a surplus of ON campus employment that is NOT work study (e.g. dining hall jobs are often not work study jobs, working at the "call center" doing telephone calls for the school is not usually work study). </p>

<p>If a student's cost is $14000 per year...they could earn $3000 per year in the summers, and take a stafford loan which averages $4000 (it's less freshman year but more Jr and Sr year), and that would leave out of pocket expense at about $7000 a year. Then any job the student has during school (I suggest no more than 10 hours a week) would be used for spending money (along with birthday, holiday and other presents the student may receive during the year).</p>

<p>$7000 per year isn't all that bad.</p>

<p>Re: attending the private college...it all depends on the cost of attendance and the school's financial aid awards. Some schools award great packages and others gap students (there is a difference between what the finaid award covers + EFC and the cost of attendance). So...it would depend. For some students at some schools the overall out of pocket expense IS less than at the state universities. BUT you have to compare the numbers.</p>


<p>Thanks for your post. I can see now that there are options and, obviously, many of her expenses we're already paying (food, personal expenses, etc.) When you see it all printed out in black and white it seems much more intimidating, I guess. Having worked my way through college at night, I did want to limit her working to 10 or so hours a week which is what she does now. </p>

<p>I find the whole process overwhelming due to my own weaknesses in finance. (Thankfully, my husband pays the bills!) I can't even imagine how a student who is low SES and doesn't have educated parents even begins this process. How intimidating it must be!</p>

<p>Thanks again for everyone's help!</p>

<p>Zoot...somehow it will all work out. We are in the poor house, not because we don't earn very decent incomes, but because we are paying for two kids to go to college...both attend or are attending expensive private schools with just a little merit aid. </p>

<p>In addition to the info above, I will say, we ARE saving money here at home on food, utilities, car usage, etc. We certainly have tightened our belts...but it's worth it.</p>

<p>I too worked my way through school...a state school...back when the dinos roamed. I don't think my total costs per year were much above $1000 per year including room and board. It was very possible to earn a good chunk of that by working during the summers and during school. Now the cost of a public university hovers around $18000 per year including room and board. I'm sorry, but I personally believe that the days of working ones way through the state U are gone. Kids CAN work their way through college by attending community college, living at home etc. BUT that is different than what we did 35 years ago.</p>