Most of the financial aid and college counselors write about the need for all college students/college student families to complete the FAFSA for three very basic reasons:
- There is no way of knowing whether you qualify for financial aid without completing it.
- Many non need-based scholarships still want a FAFSA completed.
- Even if you/your student don’t qualify for much financial aid, the FAFSA is required for any work-study programs.
What about anyone else?
- Outdated budget estimates.
- No regional adjustments.
- Unrealistic family spending assumptions.
These policies mean the EFC is “at best, a very harsh assessment of families’ ability to pay,” says Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of FinAid.org. At worst, he says, it is “somewhat unrealistic…and archaic.”
Since EFC is calculated mostly using adjusted gross income, marital status, family size, and number of family members in college—information that is often gleaned from a tax return—any person who files a tax return with a child dependent listed should get an EFC estimate.
A policy like this would be the government’s way of saying to families, it’s not a question of if your child is going to college, it’s when, and here’s a tool to get you there.
- Wednesday Weekly Reader: 13 Key Items to Know About Financial Aid. (drstrangecollege.wordpress.com)
- 6 reasons to apply for federal student aid (cbsnews.com)
- Maximizing next year’s financial aid for college (cbsnews.com)