Last Updated Jan 6, 2011 5:42 PM EST
If the Free Application for Federal Student Aid baffles you, don't get discouraged. Here are four free or inexpensive resources that can help cut through the confusion:
1. FAFSA on the Web.When you're wrestling with the FAFSA, you can get help from the FAFSA help line courtesy of the U.S. Department of Education. Here is the FAFSA phone number: (800) 433-3243. When you are working online with the application, you can also obtain help by clicking the "Live Help" button.
Before tackling the financial aid form, I'd recommend using the FAFSA on the Web Worksheet, which you can download from the federal student aid website.
2. TuitionCoach.This free site contains videos, financial aid backgrounders and a FAFSA calculator that can help you determine what your college costs could be. You'll also find worksheets that can help you complete the FAFSA and the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE.
Lumina Foundation, offers personal FAFSA advice at weekend events in January and February through the nation. Some events are starting as early as this week. You can find a calendar of events on the College Goal Sunday website.
Lynn O'Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution and she also writes for TheCollegeSolutionBlog.
FAFSA image by DaveKav. CC 2.0.