Estimate Your Aid (FAFSA4caster)

If you would like to estimate your federal student aid, but aren’t yet ready to apply for aid, try FAFSA4caster.

Estimate Your Aid: FAFSA4caster

FAFSA4caster is a simple eligibility estimator tool that can help you plan when it comes to paying for college.

FAFSA4caster gives you a free estimate of your eligibility for federal student aid. You must use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA?) form to apply for aid once you’ve decided to apply for admission and attend college.


FAFSA4caster is not an application for aid; it’s a planning tool. Complete the FAFSA? form when you are ready to apply for aid.

Understand Your Options with FAFSA4caster

FAFSA4caster is a helpful tool for anyone who is not yet ready to submit a FAFSA form—it’s recommended for high school juniors, and even as early as middle school. Parents of younger students can use FAFSA4caster to receive early estimates, create scenarios based on future earnings, and then establish college funding strategies. Adult students also can use FAFSA4caster to get an idea of how much and what types of federal aid they might receive.

Types of Questions Asked in FAFSA4caster

In FAFSA4caster, you answer financial and other questions that are used to estimate your federal student aid eligibility. You may be able to answer most of the questions easily, but some of the questions may ask you to reference your personal records (for instance, your federal tax information or your bank statements). For the most accurate estimate, be sure to answer all the questions on FAFSA4caster, even if you have to estimate or guess.

You can print each estimate once FAFSA4caster completes the calculation.

Information Provided by FAFSA4caster

When you have completed all the relevant questions in the FAFSA4caster, the screen displays a worksheet to help you determine the net cost of attending college. Here’s what you can expect to see on the worksheet:

  • You can enter the school’s cost of attendance. (There is a link to the College Scorecard in case you need to look up the cost.)
  • Next, you can see a number of sources of college funding. FAFSA4caster estimates your Federal Pell Grant amount (if any).
  • Then, you can fill in the amounts of state and college grants, and any scholarships, that you expect (or hope) to get.
  • Lastly, you can see the estimates for your Federal Work-Study amount (based on the average nationally), and maximum Direct Subsidized Loan and Direct Unsubsidized Loan eligibility.

Once you select "Calculate," FAFSA4caster summarizes the cost, the total aid entered, and the difference (the net cost of attending college). Your estimated Expected Family Contribution (EFC) also appears. You can compare schools by changing the cost of attendance, deleting state aid if you will be an out-of-state student at a particular school, or modifying the amount of aid available from the school, among other comparisons.??