Friday, January 24, 2014

2014 FAFSA Myths

In our last post we discussed the 2014-15 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Topics that were highlighted:

  • An overview of the FAFSA
  • How to properly complete the FAFSA 
  • Information needed for the FAFSA
  • Tips to accurately complete the FAFSA

This week, In and Around the Quad will demystify the FAFSA.

MYTH #1: I need to file my taxes before submitting the FAFSA. 
•     False. A family can submit their FAFSA by providing a reasonable estimate of their 2013 income taxes. The United States Department of Education works with the Internal Revenue Service to help connect a family's FAFSA information with their tax return once submitted. The sooner the FAFSA is submitted, the earlier the financial aid packages will be sent by schools.  

MYTH #2: Families that make too much money should not fill out a FAFSA.
•     False. There is no income ceiling to prevent a family from qualifying for federal student aid. 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, but will need the FAFSA completed in order to make their decision. The FAFSA is simply a starting point.

MYTH #3: Colleges only look at what is stated on the FAFSA, though my situation has changed.
•     False. The Estimated Family Contribution (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.
•     False. 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.

As you can see, all of the myths were false. Do not believe everything you hear. If you need correct
answers to other college financial aid myths or perhaps have other college admission questions, please Contact Us.

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  1. Wow, this is eye opening. I totally believed most of these myths. Thanks, great info!