EFC vs SAI: What’s in a Name?

A great deal of attention has gone to the renaming of the FAFSA’s Expected Family Contribution to Student Aid Index. The change is a good one, even if it is primarily cosmetic. The formula and inputs remain largely the same, and the end result is still what it has been: a tool with which colleges and universities can assess all…

FAFSA Simplification in the Stimulus

169 pages of this week’s stimulus bill are devoted to FAFSA simplification. It’s a great step and I apologize that 169 pages of bill-speak have left me unable to simplify the changes for you yet. Here are a few broad points: The changes take effect beginning with the FAFSA for the 2023-2024 school year, which is the first FAFSA for…

College Students and Stimulus Payments

With a new round of stimulus payments coming under the new stimulus deal, many families of college students are hearing that they should declare their college students independent so that they can claim the stimulus payments. That may make sense for some, but it’s not universal good guidance. Here are a few factors to consider: Both rounds of stimulus are…

Student Loans: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

It’s hard to hear the phrase “student debt” without “crisis” appended. But like most types of debt, there is “good” student debt and “bad” student debt. To understand the difference, it’s helpful to look at the economics of a college degree. A college education confers many benefits, but when evaluating debt the economic ones are key. College graduates—those with a…

FAFSA Schools vs Profile Schools

Students for whom financial aid is a priority will in many cases be better served by focusing on schools that use the FAFSA and not the CSS Profile. Likewise, a student whose first choice school uses the Profile and is out of reach financially would be well-served in the financial aid appeals process to find a competitive school that uses…