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Nitro Knowledge. Your Guide to Paying for College.


The FAFSA form (a.k.a., the Free Application for Federal Student Aid) — the application required to qualify for financial aid — is changing yet again. If you're applying for financial aid this year, you'll want to understand these changes in order for the process to go smoothly. 

A quick overview:

  • A new, higher income limit to qualify for a zero Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
  • A  redesigned website that will hopefully make it easier to complete the form on a variety of devices, and
  • Faster, in-form error notifications.
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We know that filling out the FAFSA can be frustrating, which is we created our step-by-step guide for filling out the form.

However, even with specialized guidance, individual circumstances may make some of the FAFSA questions difficult to answer. That’s why we recently gathered your most complicated FAFSA questions and posed them to college financial aid pros to get the info you need.

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If you’re planning on applying for FAFSA (a.k.a., the Free Application for Federal Student Aid) for 2018-2019, there are a few changes you should be aware of.

We spoke to John Haggerty, the assistant director of financial aid at Swarthmore College, to find out what students and parents need to know for the coming year.

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The EFC stands for expected family contribution, a number that a college financial aid office uses to determine how much aid you’ll receive if you attend that school. In many cases, there is a significant gap between the calculated EFC and what your family can actually contribute to your educational costs.

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As you know, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to apply for state, federal and institutional financial aid as soon as possible after October 1. Even if you doubt you’ll qualify for need-based financial aid, completing the FAFSA makes you eligible for some student loans and is a requirement when applying for scholarships and grants from your school.

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When filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), many students and parents have questions regarding information changes, timelines, requirements, application deadlines, taxes and more. Read on for some of the most common questions related to the FAFSA and some easy-to-understand answers.

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