Beginning in the fall of 2016, FAFSA will be available starting on October 1st (it was normally January 1st). For the next two years, FAFSA aid will be based on tax year 2015 income for 2 years, 2016-17 and 2017-18. This is known as the prior prior phenomena. Asset protection allowance is being reduced to $6,300 from $28,200 in fiscal year 2016. Translated in English, you will have more of your assets evaluated by FAFSA.
Expected Family Contribution
Federal financial aid is awarded on the basis of financial need. This is determined by the school you would like to attend or are applying to attend and is based on the information you provided in the FAFSA form
How much you aid you qualify for is determined like so.
Cost of Attendance – Expected Family Contribution = Your Financial Need
Cost of attendance includes tuition and fees, books, room and board, and transportation.
Expected Family Contribution is the amount of money you and your family are expected to and can contribute to your education. Factors include the family’s size, income, assets, expenses, and the number of family members enrolled in college or trade schools. When you apply for financial aid through the FAFSA, the information you report is plugged into a formula that calculates your Expected Family Contribution.
You can access the FAFSA form at Fafsa.ed.gov
You can estimate your EFC at Finaid.org
The financial aid office at the school you wish to attend will look at your financial need, factor in any other types of scholarships or grants you received or expect to receive, and prepare a financial package for you. The school will notify you as to how much aid you have qualified for and send you an award letter. Usually schools will offer as much aid to you as they can the first time, so calling and asking for more after the fact may be a dead end.