I have been putting this off for too long, but now it's nearing completion, although we will have to update the forms when the 2013 numbers are known. Some say that it's better to get the applications in early, but when does financial aid know whether someone has been admitted or not? I suppose they just crank the numbers through a formula so they just do it for all applications. Some schools say they are need blind, but what happens when they crank the numbers for those who are admitted and it comes out too high? I read an article that says that this is a problem for many schools. I don't know how that works if their yield is at 50%.
I like how they all assume that the student is filling out these forms. "You" means the student. Right.
All of my son's schools (save one) require the CSS Profile along with FAFSA. When we went to info sessions, they all talked about how little we might have to pay, even if we make pretty good salaries. There is a potential (no loan) benefit if you get into one of the rich schools, but that doesn't mean that your EFC will not require loans. Also, I don't like how families who are savers get hurt more than families who are not. Although FAFSA doesn't see retirement savings, the CSS Profile schools get those numbers. We should have taken trips and cruises instead of saving.
They also ask you how much you are willing to pay each year towards your child's college education. Um, zero? Is this a trap for the gullible? We should have paid more attention to those full ride offers from other universities. What is the future value of $100K not spent?
Any comments from experienced parents to us financial aid "newbies"? The one I learned too late is that some colleges require early financial aid information for Early Action. Fortunately, the one that my son chose was one of the few that had a late EA financial aid deadline. He was deferred so it was moot. Our high school had an open meeting about FAFSA, but said little about the CSS Profile.