The formula used to process the FAFSA information was established by Congress to ensure that all financial aid applicants are treated consistently and that they pay a fair portion of the educational costs. The formula, called Congressional Methodology, is used for all financial aid applicants and considers your family’s income and assets to calculate the Expected Family Contribution. The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is the amount you and your family are expected to contribute toward your education. If your EFC is less than the cost of attendance, you have financial “need”. If you and your family have very few resources and your EFC is below a certain level, you may qualify for a Federal Pell Grant.
For families with children who are not yet college age, the FAFSA4caster, a federal website, can provide guidance on estimating the Expected Family Contribution.
If you are a high school senior or you are contemplating going to or attending college within the next year, it is time to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Apply as early after January 1 as possible for the upcoming school year (Fall through Spring). If you intend to take classes in summer, find out what year’s FAFSA your school uses for summer enrollment. Then, go to FAFSA online and get started.