February 6, 2012

2012 FAFSA Application

Posted in FAFSA, Grants, Scholarships, Stafford Loans, The Financial Aid Process tagged , , , , , , at 1:31 PM by Joe From Boston

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

Common misspellings include: FASFA and FASA

January 12, 2011

5 Financial Aid Tips for 2011

Posted in FAFSA, Parent PLUS Loans, Private Loans, Scholarships, Stafford Loans, Student Loan News, The Financial Aid Process tagged , , , , , , , at 1:19 PM by plusloans

Here is another list – this time about financial aid:

  1. Complete the FAFSA application to qualify for federal and institutional financial aid.  Applying early will increase your eligibility for aid.  Those who wait may loose out.
  2. Once you complete the FAFSA, apply for scholarships.  There are thousands of private and free scholarship programs.  Again, apply early to get the best chance of securing money for 2011.
  3. Research and apply for federal student loans.  These loans are great options.  The Stafford loan has a low rate and interest as well as payments are deferred until after graduation for the “subsidized” Stafford loan.
  4. Review private student loans and student loans from banks.  These loans offer some different options and may be at lower (variable) rates compared to the fixed plus loan rate.
  5. Dig deep into your savings – you’ll need it…

Good luck with funding the next year of school.  The costs continue to rise.

March 5, 2010

Running Out of Time for the FAFSA

Posted in FAFSA, The Financial Aid Process tagged , , at 3:33 PM by plusloans

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

A Parent’s FAFSA Checklist

Posted in FAFSA tagged , at 4:14 PM by plusloans

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 21, 2009

Are you ready for the FAFSA?

Posted in FAFSA tagged , , , at 1:47 PM by plusloans

FAFSAFAFSA season is right around the corner! Are you ready? If not FAFSA4caster is a website that will help you prepare. FAFSA4caster allows you to essentially do a test run of the real FAFSA. After you have gathered and submitted all of your information it will give you an estimate of your eligibility for financial aid. This FAFSA trial will help you cut down on costly FAFSA errors. After January 1, 2010 when you are ready to apply or you can conveniently transfer all of your information over to FAFSA on the Web. FAFSA4caster also gives you the option to apply for a FAFSA PIN and helps you increase your knowledge of the financial aid process.

December 15, 2009

Take Advantage of Financial Aid Workshops

Posted in FAFSA, The Financial Aid Process tagged , , at 1:52 PM by plusloans

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

Do I Need to Complete the FAFSA for My Parent Plus Loan?

Posted in FAFSA, Parent PLUS Loans tagged , , at 3:00 PM by dbonvie

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.

October 15, 2009

Independent Students Have Options Beyond the Parent Plus

Posted in FAFSA, Parent PLUS Loans, Private Loans tagged , , at 9:27 AM by dbonvie

The Parent Plus loan is a great option for parents to help their children with the cost of education, however, if your student is 24 or older they are viewed as an independent through the schools eyes which means the Parent Plus loan option is not a viable one. However, that certainly does not mean that your student is out of loan options.

If your student is viewed as independent the next best loan option is a private student loan which isn’t the worst thing. Actually, in some ways this loan alternative actually helps the parent because the parent is listed as the secondary borrower on the loan and not the primary. With the Parent Plus loan the parent is the primary. Interest rates are also at historic lows making this a great time to take out a private loan. In addition, repayment does not begin until after the student graduates.

APPLY for a Private Loan Today!

September 10, 2009

How is my EFC calculated?

Posted in FAFSA, Parent PLUS Loans, Private Loans, Saving for College, Scholarships, Stafford Loans, The Financial Aid Process tagged , , , at 1:22 PM by Joe From Boston

Calculate your EFC

Calculate your EFC

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

Financial Aid 101

Posted in FAFSA, Parent PLUS Loans, Scholarships, Stafford Loans, Student Loan News, The Financial Aid Process tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:57 AM by Joe From Boston

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.

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