The FAFSA – the Free Application for Federal Student Aid – is an acronym with a hefty job. It’s responsible for determining student eligibility for federal loans, grants, and work study jobs. For most college students in the United States, that means that the FAFSA (and other school-required financial aid forms!) is some of the most important paperwork you’ll ever file.
The FAFSA was designed to help the government calculate what your family can contribute towards college expenses in a single year. This “Estimated Family Contribution,” or “EFC,” is based on your assets and what you earn. It is important to note that the FAFSA isn’t just utilized by the government. Many colleges use that information as well in order to figure out how much they will contribute of their own funds to your total financial aid package. That’s right – if you want money from the school, you most likely will need to complete the FAFSA.