The financial aid office at the school you end up attending calculates your EFC. Google it, and you can get some info on how it works.
Income is only one factor. For instance, lets say you made $25,000 last year at your job and you have three kids. BUT - you have a home with 100% equity, a paid-off car and $100,000 in the bank. Chances are you won't qualify for the best need-based aid since you are cash/equity heavy despite a low income.
I had a great year in 2006 financially, but I also paid off all the debt that I could (car, credit cards) - so I am relatively cash poor, despite a good income.
The people who should fair the best are students who are independent of their parents as far as the government is concerned, low income, low cash, no assets.