Students and Parents

All high school seniors should complete the FAFSA/CADAA. Filling it out is free and it can make a big difference!

The first step for students and parents is to apply for a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID. The number assigned is used in place of a social security number and represents an electronic signature which is needed to submit the FAFSA/CADAA.

When students and parents submit the FAFSA/CADAA using a FSA ID, an Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) number is generated instantly. The EFC is a measure of a family’s financial strength and is calculated according to a formula established by federal law. A family’s taxed and untaxed income, assets, and benefits (such as unemployment or Social Security) are all considered in the formula. Also considered are family size and the number of family members who will attend college during the year. Colleges use the EFC to determine students’ federal financial aid eligibility and total financial aid award packages. The lower the EFC, the more financial aid a student should receive.


Students who complete their FAFSA/CADAA by March 2 may qualify for state and federal grants. Additionally, many four-year colleges require that students complete the FAFSA to be eligible for campus merit scholarships. Students who plan to apply for the Community College Promise program are required to submit the FAFSA/CADAA to be eligible.

Many schools offer financial aid workshops between Oct. 1 and the end of February to walk families through the application process. The following materials may also be helpful for students and parents who are beginning this process.

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