FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The FAFSA is the U.S. Department of Education's way of qualifying which students are eligible for financial aid.
The U.S. Department of Education uses the financial and family information provided on your FAFSA to determine your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Your EFC represents the amount of money the Department of Education believes you and your family should be able to provide to help pay for your college expenses. This amount is not what you will pay, but what money may be available for you to contribute.
The EFC number is used by the Department of Education to determine your level of need for financial aid assistance. The lower your EFC the more need-based aid, such as the Pell Grant, may be available to you.
Submitting the FAFSA also establishes your eligibility for the Federal Direct Stafford Student Loans. Your EFC helps to determine the type of loan money, subsidized or unsubsidized, that is available to you. For more information about the Direct Stafford Student Loans, go to www.studentloans.gov.
You must have applied for FAFSA before the fall semester begins and brought in any documents to complete your file by the first week of school. Attendance to class will be suspended with unexcused absences until your financial aid package is complete.