Before we start, a couple disclaimers
- I am not some kind of FAFSA professional. I’m merely a guy (who doesn’t even have any kids) who reads the relevant documents
- I will be discussing how to get a zero Expected Family Contribution (EFC), but that doesn’t guarantee a zero out of pocket cost
- Some colleges (particularly the expensive ones) do not use the FAFSA formulas
- Some colleges do use the FAFSA formulas but practice “gapping”, which means that they acknowledge you should only pay $X according to FAFSA but don’t provide enough aid, meaning you have to pay more than $X
- I’m sure that some readers will be disappointed that I am writing a post that informs how wealthy individuals could get a lot of aid when they clearly do not need it. And that’s certainly true. But now because of my post you know that this problem exists, and you can lobby for change.
- This content was based off of a couple threads at the Mr Money Mustache forums involving madamwitty, Sol, DoubleDown, teen persuasion, myself, and some others
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) has this interesting loophole that most people aren’t aware of–one that potentially allows millionaire retirees’ children to go to college for free. I will be focusing on dependent students for this post.