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Hayfee07What Families Need to Know About the FAFSA
 
The FAFSA is the US Department of Education free application form required of families seeking financial aid for dependent children planning to attend college.  It is also the form required of independent students who are seeking financial aid for college.  It is most often filed in the winter preceding the fall when the student will enter college. The FAFSA is filed online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. There is no fee to file. 
 
The FAFSA is not the only form required at some colleges.  Some also require the CSS Profile available at www.collegeboard.com. The CSS Profile does involve a fee.
 
Should 2-income families bother to complete the FAFSA form?
Yes! Regardless of how high a family's income is, they should consider completing the FAFSA if they want to be considered for all potential scholarships. Not only do colleges often require FAFSA information to award some scholarships but private scholarship grantors also can request the EFC number from the FAFSA.
The FAFSA is a family's notification to a college that they want to be considered for any funds for which they may qualify. Not all scholarships that a college offers are based on financial need.  Some are awarded based on major, academic achievement or volunteer history.

Is the FAFSA form difficult to complete?
No. Most families have no difficulty completing the form.  The new option to have the IRS populate the FAFSA with family tax and income information has made the FAFSA easier to complete. Most families do not need help with the FAFSA.

The CSS Profile is a much longer supplemental financial aid form that some colleges require in addition to the FAFSA.