February 6, 2012
Remember to file your FAFSA early! You must complete the FAFSA form in order to qualify for most federal and state financial aid, including most school based financial aid programs. Check with your school to see their FAFSA Deadlines.
To file your FAFSA online, go to: http://fafsa.ed.gov
March 5, 2010
Attention parents! Today marks March 5, and school financial aid deadlines are here, or very close. The majority of schools require all paperwork to be in during this month in order to fairly distribute financial aid and have plenty of time to assemble students’ award packages.
So, what can you do to make sure it all goes smoothly?
1. Make sure your taxes are filed.
This may be a “what?” moment if you are new to the FAFSA process and/or this blog, but in order for your child or ward to file their FAFSA, they need information from you. Specifically, they need your Annual Gross Income figure from your 1040 or 1040EZ form.
If you are the type to hold off on filing taxes until April’s cutoff date, you are putting the student in a diminished position to get the maximum amount of aid possible for the upcoming school year. If you absolutely must hold off, have them file with the previous year’s numbers and then submit an amended FAFSA as soon as your taxes are complete. You can find all the relevant forms and processes on FAFSAOnline.com.
2. Gently, but firmly remind your child.
Nobody likes paperwork. However, if you and your family need aid money from the government or school to pay for your child’s education, you can’t afford to let the FAFSA sit on the back burner. If necessary, you should put a day on your calendar (in the very near future) to sit down with them and help them complete it; this will ensure it gets done, and is filled out correctly.
If you need any advice, or would like to know more about how the FAFSA works, check out the FAFSAOnline.com blog for lots of relevant and interesting posts.
January 7, 2010
As a parent in the midst of FAFSA season you are probably wondering what your role in the financial aid process should be. Here is a quick checklist to make sure you are on the right track:
- Obtain your own FAFSA PIN number at http://www.pin.ed.gov. Your PIN will act as your electronic signature on your child’s online FAFSA.
- File your taxes as early as possible, but do not delay the FAFSA due to your taxes not being done. You can estimate your financial information on the FAFSA, but you will have to finalize it later.
- Help your child complete everything on their “to do” list.
- File the FAFSA online- it is much easier and faster and your information is 100% safe.
- Examine the bill from the school your child chooses and make she you understand all of the fees and how they will be paid.
December 15, 2009
The 2010-2011 FAFSA will be available after January 1st. That is just two weeks away! If you are the parent of a high school senior it is important for you to take some time out of your schedule to learn about financial aid and how to properly fill out the FAFSA.
Mistakes on the FAFSA can cost you thousands of dollars in financial aid. If you have lingering questions about how it works make sure you talk to people who have been through it or financial aid experts. Luckily, this is the time of year when high school and communities hold financial aid workshops to help families of prospective college students understand the process better.
Contact you child’s high school guidance department to find out when they are holding a workshop. After you attend you will feel a lot more confident about the process and ready to help your child obtain financial aid for college.
October 28, 2009
Parents must complete a Plus loan application and Master Promissory Note to be eligible for a Parent Plus loan, but completion of the FAFSA may not be required. Parent borrowers only need to complete a FAFSA if the school the child is enrolled in requires it.
A parent may obtain additional loans for the same dependent student based on the original MPN for up to 10 years from the date the parent first signed it.
September 10, 2009
The EFC, or Expected Family Contribution is the amount you and your family is expected to contribute towards college education.
The federal government gives you an official federal EFC calculation after you have complete the FAFSA form. This calculation determines family resources available from a family’s income (less allowances for taxes and living expenses) and assets (less allowances for retirement). A percentage of these available amounts are earmarked as EFC. Read more about the Cost and your EFC.
The EFC formula is used to determine the EFC and ultimately determine the need for assistance from the following types of federal student financial assistance: Federal Pell Grants, subsidized Stafford Loans (though the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan [DL] Program or through the Federal Family Education Loan Program [FFEL]), and assistance from the “campus-based” programs—Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), Federal Perkins Loans, and Federal Work-Study (FWS).
August 28, 2009
With colleges heading back this week, you should have your financial aid already lined up, but it’s the perfect time to start planning for next year.
Let’s go over the basics:
* Fill out the FAFSA as early as you can. Financial aid is first-come, first-served so get your paperwork in early. If you ‘re waiting on a few last 1099s, use your existing paperwork to file early, and file an amendment when everything finally arrives. If you use a tax prefessionsal, they will often file the FAFSA for you for little to no additional charge.
* You need the FAFSA for all federal loans, such as Stafford, PLUS and Perkins loans. Some scholarships also require the FAFSA.
*Always exhaust your federal options first, such as Perkins, Stafford and PLUS loans, before looking at alternative sources of funding such as private loans or home equity loans. Federal student loan offer borrower incentives and protections that you will not find elsewhere.