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Sue in St Pete

xpost from HS board: FAFSA EFC vs. CSS EFC

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I'm asking this for a friend.  I have never filled out the CSS (thank goodness!).  I understand it is more intrusive than the FAFSA.


Friend's FAFSA EFC is $19,000.  CSS EFC is $10,000.


Friend is surprised at the large difference and we both would have expected CSS > FAFSA.  Friend thinks they filled something out incorrectly on FAFSA but has no clue what that might be. 


Any thoughts?



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The CSS uses a different formula, considering more things than the FAFSA. What all is asked for depends on the school. There is more personalized information, and I would assume that the purpose is to create a more accurate picture of the family's actual financial situation.

So they calculated a different EFC based on their data and formula. (Not sure whether the formula itself is school specific, or just the data gathered.)


I don't see any reason why the CSS number should automatically be greater than the FAFSA - it asks about the value of the house, how much you own, and your medical cost, and you can list extenuating circumstances like parents in a nursing home. Lots more data to be considered, compared with the FAFSA/


If the CSS would always come to the same result as the FAFSA, the CSS would be unnecessary.

Edited by regentrude

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