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Get A Sneak Peek At The 2014-2015 FAFSA Form!

The FAFSA is the single most important instrument that a student/family should utilize to access funds for college. The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is responsible for gathering information related to the assets and income of families and their students, churning it through a lengthy calculation (you can download a copy of the 36 page formula here), and spitting out an EFC (Estimated Family Contribution).

That EFC figure is then sent to all the colleges and universities designated by the student during the FAFSA application process. This is where the magic happens! 😉 Those colleges and universities will take that information and start going to work on putting together a comprehensive financial aid package for you that includes need-based and merit-based awards, a work-study component, and usually a federal direct student loan option.

Officially, you can not file your FAFSA until January 1st of 2014. You can submit the paper option (access a draft of 2014-2015 FAFSA here) but I recommend that everyone complete their FAFSA online at You may be tempted to go to, however, even though they will gladly file your FAFSA, they will also charge you about $80 for their services. Remember, the first “F” in FAFSA stands for FREE.

Submitting your FAFSA online provides you the ability to save any work that you completed and return to it later. In addition, the Department of Education has implemented skip-logic technology to make sure that you only answer the questions that are applicable to your situation. Lastly, the online FAFSA has a new IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) that gives families the option of importing their IRS tax information directly into their FAFSA. This has been a great resource for FAFSA filers but it has not come without its glitches (see articles below):

As you are starting to gather your information together to prepare for filing your FAFSA, please don’t hesitate to utilize the resources here on to help you along the way. Here are a few articles that may prove to be helpful (and one that is a little humorous):

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