Usually students in their senior year of high school apply for financial aid, by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). At this time, most students have already decided which colleges they are applying to, and are making final choices about their academic future.
The U.S. Department of Education developed FAFSA4caster as an early estimator tool, because students should be researching and aware of their financial aid eligibility BEFORE their senior year of high school.
FAFSA4caster is not the financial aid application. High school juniors or seniors (in their first months of their senior year) should use this tool, as it provides them with more specific financial aid information. They can enter their information, and FAFSA4caster will estimate their financial aid eligibility. By doing so, they will already have this financial aid estimate when they start to look at potential colleges. It helps relieve some of the stress about whether or not they will be able to afford a particular school or not while they are conducting their college search.
FAFSA4caster also provides general information on financial aid, as well as helpful tips. You can also easily transfer your information from FAFSA4caster to FAFSA on the Web, once you are ready to officially apply for aid. It is meant to be a helpful resource to prepare students for their financial aid application process.
Applying for financial aid doesn’t have to be stressful! Start preparing today!