It's a mouthful, but the new online FAFSA4caster (say it with me: "Faff-suh-fore-caster"), created by the Federal Student Aid (FSA) office of the U.S. Department of Education, is designed to help families figure out if college is possible financially. FSA is the country's largest source of financial aid for post-secondary educationit provided some $80 billion in aid to nearly 10 million students and their families last school year. It offers what's called the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)key word free but the process is complex. The 4caster is a good way for families to start exploring their options; it can give an early indication of whether your family is eligible to receive aid, and how much you would need to contribute toward your college expenses. A financial aid wizard can help you calculate how much aid might be available to you at a particular school, and other tools help you find scholarships and other non-federal financial aid. You can do all the paperwork online and the information you plug into the 4caster is carried over, which helps streamline things. See related site, FAFSA on the Web.
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