Free Application for Federal Student Aid
This is something that students (and their parents) need to fill out every year to see if they qualify for financial aid. Or if the student is applying for Stafford loans or any other type of assistance. Most schools requre it before the student gets their financial package.
It only takes an hour or so online. The renewal about half that. When you're done you get (postal) mail with the expected parental contribution. I have an easier way to do all this and it's pretty accurate.
Take the parents gross income, divide by 4 and thats about it. In our case it's just slightly more than Thing1's bill after his package has been applied so we get nothing. Oh well - make too much to get aid and too little to just write a check. Welcome to the middle class!