Submission of the FAFSA is required for securing a federal financial aid package. The financial aid package will likely consist of a combination of grants, student loans and college work study assignments. College financial aid administrators use a formula to determine how much aid an applicant will be eligible for. They calculate the cost of attendance COA by adding up costs such as tuition, room and board, books and other eligible costs. Then based on the amount the government determines the family will pay, they look at expected family contribution EFC.
Expected Family contribution is subtracted from the cost of attendance to determine financial need.
The formula is: COA – EFC = Financial Need
When filling out the FAFSA, information listed below will need to be provided:
• Personal identification (I.e. social security number)
• Dependency status
• Parental information (if the applicant is a dependent)
• Financial assets
• Current year taxes
• List of prospective schools
Submitting the FAFSA requires that it be filled out timely, accurately and completely. The filing period for the FAFSA for the 2014-2015 school year runs between Jan 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015. It is necessary to coordinate FAFSA submission with local college and state universities since they have their own financial aid filing deadlines. Waiting too late will reduce the chances of securing aid since it is disbursed on a first-come first-serve basis. Missing the deadline will result in no aid at all.
Making mistakes such as transposing numbers, leaving answers blank and not signing the form can cause delays in securing a financial aid package.
The FAFSA is available online at www.fafsa.gov. When needed, college financial aid offices can provide assistance with filling out the FAFSA.