For many students, not knowing how much financial aid to expect can be frustrating. This is why the Department of Education created a financial aid estimator, the FAFSA4Caster. This tool allows students to estimate their Expected Family Contribution (EFC), a measurement which schools use to determine the amount of financial aid to award a student.
How it works
The FAFSA forecaster (or FAFSA4Caster) calculates the amount of federal aid a student is eligible for based on a number of factors, such as age, income, school year, and anticipated cost of attendance. After filling in the necessary information, the student can view an estimate of his or her eligibility amount, broken down by typethis includes Federal Grants, Stafford Loans, and Work Study.
Students may also manually enter any outside scholarship, grant, or loan information they have to calculate a final out-of-pocket cost. Unlike the FAFSA, the FAFSA4Caster does not require a student to have a Student Aid PIN, so students can estimate financial aid at any time.
Tip: The more accurate information you provide, the closer the estimate will be.
This tool is not as accurate as the actual FAFSA, but it can still provide a useful estimate of what students can expect. A student's actual financial aid award will be calculated by the school and then sent to the student in a Student Aid Report (SAR).
To start calculating your potential financial aid, visit fafsa4caster.ed.gov.
The FAFSA Forecaster is a great step to getting started with your FAFSA On the Web.