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2015 Guide to FAFSA, CSS Profile, College Financial Aid, & EFC

Use the article from Forbes to answer these questions in complete sentences. Please
change your responses to another color or bold.

Applying for College Financial Aid

1. What are the 2 possible forms to complete to apply for need-based financial aid? The FAFSA
and/or the CSS Profile.
2. What form do most colleges and universities nationwide use to determine need-based
financial aid? Most colleges use the FAFSA.
3. What is the CSS Profile used for? Used to assess the students eligibility for the
colleges own institutional aid dollars.
4. What colleges require the CSS Profile? Very select private colleges, including the Ivies.
Calculating Your Expected Family Contribution
5. What is the process for applying for and obtaining financial aid? You provide your financial
information in the aid of forms, then submit the forms online.
6. What is the EFC? Expected Family Contribution.
7. How is EFC calculated? It is the outcome of all the analysis calculations.
8. What factors determine a persons EFC? Income of the parents and student, family size
and the number of dependent children enrolled in college in a given year to assess
the familys ability to pay for college.
9. Why might a person get 3 different EFC amounts? The students EFC under each formula
might be different.
Using EFC to Determine the Need for Financial Aid
How is EFC used to determine if a student qualifies for need-based financial aid? By using
a simple formula that subtracts the students expected family contribution (EFC)
from a colleges total cost of attendance (Cost of Attendance EFC = Financial
Cost of Attendance
11.What elements add up to the cost of attendance? Cost of attendance is the total cost
of enrolling at a college, including tuition, fees, room & board, books, travel and
personal expenses.
12.What is the national average cost of attendance for:
a. 2-Year Public College? $20,000
b. 4-Year Public College? $28,000
c. 4-Year Private College? $55,000
d. 4-Year Elite College? $65,000
Putting EFC into Perspective
13.When would a student qualify for need-based financial aid? If your income is $70,000 and
you have two dependent children, one of which is enrolling in college, your EFC is
$7,818 and is blue.

14.What are students eligible for when they qualify for need-based financial aid? Your child is
eligible to receive need-based grants, scholarships, work-study and student loans
as part of the childs financial aid package.
15.Why is it incorrect to assume a student will get financial aid if s/he is eligible? You will have
to wait to see what form of aid the child gets and how much it is worth.
16.When would a student be denied need-based financial aid? If your income is $250,000 and
you have one dependent child, then your EFC is $65,683 and is red, which means
that your child wont likely qualify for need-based aid.
Eligible for Aid at One College, But Not at Another
17.What is eligibility for need-based financial aid dependent on? A students eligibility for
need-based aid is relative to the cost of attendance of each college the student is
18.Why might a student be eligible for aid at one college but not at another? The costs of
colleges are different.
Predicting the Financial Aid Award
19.When will students know their financial aid package amounts? In most cases you wont
know what the students aid package will consist of until the student receives
his/her financial aid award letter.
20.What types of resources are included in a financial aid package? It reflects all forms of aid,
including merit aid, in one predictive statistic
What to Do if Your Family Has Special Financial Circumstances
21.What form does not include a place to explain special situations? There is no place on the
FAFSA to explain special situations that you would like colleges to take under
consideration when assessing your childs need for financial aid.
22.What form does have a place to explain special situations? The CSS Profile, however, does
have a dedicated space on the application to explain your special situation.
What can parents do if using the FAFSA to explain their financial circumstances? You
should contact the financial aid offices of each college your child is applying to and
have a written explanation ready to send however each college asks you to send it,
usually by email or postal service.
How College Selection Impacts Financial Aid
24.What factors make a student more likely to get an aid package that meets a higher
percentage of their need? The next thing you can do with the percentage of need met
is to apply the rule of thumb that if the student, from and admissions perspective,
is a good candidate for admission, or the college wants the student for a particular
reason (whatever that may be).
25.Why is aid more complex at elite private colleges? An elite private college, by federal
law, will require the FAFSA to be completed to determine the students eligibility
for federal student aid, but will require the student to also complete the CSS
Profile to determine the students need (eligibility) for its own institutional aid
Merit Aid
26.What is merit aid based on? Merit aid is another form of student aid that is based on
the students academic, athletic, music and other merits, not family finances.

27.Why is merit aid so great? The best things about merit aid are 1) merit awards are
typically grants, scholarships or tuition discounts that dont need to be repaid,
unlike student loans and 2) students can be awarded merit aid regardless of the
familys overall income or how much the family has saved for college.
28.What is important to know about merit aid at elite colleges? Almost all of the elite
colleges in the country do not offer academic merit aid. You get aid at those
institutions only if you demonstrate a need for it, which means your EFC has to be
less than the sticker price. Otherwise, youll be writing a check for sticker price.
Student Gets Merit Aid But No Need-Based Aid
29.What will happen if a student qualifies for merit aid but not need-based aid? If your child
doesnt qualify for need based financial aid, but is awarded merit aid, then your
out-of-pocket cost will be the sticker price minus the merit aid award.
Why Merit Aid Reduces Need-Based Aid Eligibility
30.True or False: If you qualify for need based aid and merit aid, you subtract both of them from
the college cost to determine how much you will pay. False
31.True or False: If you qualify for need based aid and earn a scholarship, you will have a lower
cost to pay than if you did not have the scholarship. False
The Out-of-Pocket Cost of College
32.What information will be given at the end of the college admissions and aid application
process? At the end of the college admissions and aid application process, you will
arrive at a list of colleges to which the student has been accepted for admission,
and have been given an official financial aid award letter by each of those
institutions that explains the students eligibility for all of the aid that he/she is
eligible for and/or has been awarded, including outside scholarships, state grants,
student loans, work-study, etc.
33.What elements are included in the financial aid award letter? The award letter also
includes the total cost of attendance to enroll for the upcoming academic year,
including tuition, fees, room, board, books, travel and personal expenses.
34.What factors contribute to the total cost of attendance? Tuition, fees, room, board, books,
travel and personal expenses.
What is the formula for out-of-pocket cost? Cost of attendance-Financial Aid package
36.Why might the out-of-pocket cost be greater than what is calculated using that formula? If it
is part of a loan you will have to pay interest over time.

Extra Credit: At home, speak with your parents and review the chart in the article 2015 EFC
Quick Reference Table for College Aid and answer these questions.
A. Is it likely you will qualify for need-based financial aid?
B. What is the plan to pay for college?
C. Are there any colleges your parents will not let you go to? Or, are there any limits they
have for where you can go to college? (Distance, cost, 2-year or 4-year, etc.)