Determining financial need
When completing the FAFSA, you and your family report income, asset, and demographic information. This information serves as the basis for determining your eligibility for the federal student aid programs and calculating a figure known as the “expected family contribution” or EFC. In many cases, institutional, state, and private sources of financial aid elect to use FAFSA data to determine eligibility. In some instances, you may be required to submit additional supplemental information. Don’t forget to check with your school's financial aid office to see if anything else is needed.
You can estimate your EFC by using calculators such as the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) Calculator at FinAid.org or the FAFSA4caster at http://www.federalstudentaid.ed.gov/, or the CashCourse calculator.