Most financial aid at colleges is based on financial need as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
. FAFSA website: http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/
A smaller number of private colleges also require an additional form called the PROFILE,
which is issued by the College Scholarship Service of the College Board https://profileonline.collegeboard.com/prf/index.jsp
. These are detailed questionnaires designed to assess the entire family financial picture and come up with a family contribution figure called the EFC
(expected family contribution). This figure is the amount deducted from the total college cost and thus indicates the amount of money the student will need to attend the college. When in doubt about eligibility, it is best to file the FAFSA and take ones chances. You will lose nothing but your time, and you may find that you qualify for some assistance. Also, many colleges will not consider a student for financial assistance in succeeding years if the student did not file for the freshman year. Both the FAFSA and the Profile are available online and must be completed online: A number of colleges will also ask students to fill out a short institutional form that they will provide.
Juniors and their families interested in assessing their eligibility for federal student aid can access the FAFSA4caster
by visiting www.fafsa4caster.ed.gov
. This free tool can instantly calculate an estimated EFC, inform students of potential Pell Grant eligibility, and reduce the time needed to complete the FAFSA.
* Students should keep copies of ALL FORMS they fill out.