Some one told me that some colleges require a parent to file the FAFSA for the student to obtain a merit-based scholarship. That does not make sense to me, but do you know anything about that?
Each college will handle this differently so the financial aid office at each college will be able to tell you if the FAFSA is required for consideration of the institution’s merit-based programs. So unfortunately, you'll need to contact each office of the colleges you are applying to in order to get an accurate answer. While the FAFSA is designed by the federal government primarily for the purpose of identifying students eligible for federal financial aid, the EFC and the individual family data components have gained widespread use for a number of other financial aid related reasons, even if the student might not qualify for need-based assistance.
So, if the student qualifies for need-based aid, then the merit-based award could be reduced accordingly. This allows the student to be fully awarded while allowing the institution to recoup some of its merit aid to use for other deserving students.