The FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.  This form is required by all colleges and universities if you are applying for any type of financial aid.  You can access this form at   This form takes income information and tax information from your past year's taxes.  This form uses a general formula that the Federal Government set up to determine your EFC (expected family contribution).  This number is then sent to all colleges/universities you are applying to and then financial aid offices try to create aid packages that cover the costs outside of the EFC.  This form is available after January 1 and should be completed sooner rather than later before college funds run out.


FAFSA Quickfacts

-Need to get pin for student and one for parent (to sign FAFSA electronically)  Can get a pin prior to completing FAFSA by going to

-Uses parent and student tax information from past year

-Gives an EFC

-Parents are generally expected to contribute approximently 5% of income but students are assessed at closer to 35%.  These amounts together make up part of the EFC.

-You can begin to complete the FAFSA beginning as early as October 1st of senior year.

-You can complete an estimater to find out EFC prior to senior year.  Estimater can be found at

-FAFSA is a free form.  If you get to the end and they ask for a credit card, you completed the WRONG form.  There are fake FAFSA sites.  Make sure to go to the governement site for the FAFSA.

-The FAFSA can be completed before you have the current year's tax information, this is called prior-prior year.


The CSS Profile another form for financial aid that select private colleges and universities use to get a more in-depth view of the student's financial needs.  This form should be filled out prior to the FAFSA using in October or November of the student's senior year.  The form is not a federal form but one provided by the College Board.  This form can be found at


CSS Profile Quickfacts

-Done through the college board

-Cost $ to send to each college/university

-Must be completed early

-Requires a lot of additional information about parent/student

-Both parents, if seperated, are required to complete (unlike FAFSA when only the parent that the student lives with 51% of the time completes)