· How the FAFSA works
· How to properly fill out the FAFSA
· Information is needed for the FAFSA
· Tips were provided to accurately complete the FAFSA
This week, In and Around the Quad will debunk some common myths about the FAFSA.
MYTH #1: I need to file my taxes before submitting the FAFSA.
· This is not true. A family can submit their FAFSA by providing a reasonable estimate of their previous year's income taxes. The Department of Education works with the Internal Revenue Service to help connect a family's FAFSA information with their tax return when completed. The sooner a family submits their FAFSA, the quicker the financial aid packages will be sent by the school.
MYTH #2: Families that make too much money should not fill out a FAFSA.
· There is no income ceiling to prevent a family from qualifying for federal student aid. If someone is offering to provide you with money and all you have to do is fill out a FREE form, why not fill it out? You have nothing to lose and only money to gain! In addition, there are several factors that go into the financial aid report besides money. Information such as size of family and the number of children in college concurrently. According to Sallie Mae, the typical family earning more than $100,000 received $5,451 in grants and scholarships during the 2012 academic year. Also, the FAFSA is only for federal student aid. Colleges can and will give out their own aid. The FAFSA is simply a starting point.
MYTH #3: Colleges only look at what is stated on the FAFSA, even though my situation has changed.
· The EFC is only a government recommendation. Parents are encouraged to contact the financial aid office at each college to appeal their financial aid package. This office can make adjustments if there have been changes to a family's income or assets. Examples of items that may not show up on the FAFSA; loss of a job, using savings to start a new business, medical bills and/or having another child.
MYTH #4: If both parents are divorced and remarried, all of the parents' information must be entered on the FAFSA.
· The information that should be entered on the FAFSA is that of the parent the student has lived with more than 50% of the time within the last 12 months. In addition, that step-parent's financial information MUST be included along with the student's tax information, if they filed an income tax. Unfortunately, the student cannot choose to enter the information of the parent/step-parent that makes the least amount of money to secure a lower EFC.