What is scarier than Michael Myers on Halloween Night? Having to fill out the FAFSA alone.
Well, I have great news! Peachtree College Planning is here to help you.
We want you to use the following information to jump start your work on filling out the FAFSA. This will help you whether you have a student in college or one going to college in the Fall for 2023. With October 1st here, you need to know the next steps to be successful in making college more affordable. If you don't complete this form wisely, you will leave money on the table.
Filing financial aid forms is necessary for most families.
All families benefit from filing, you just need to understand the reasons for it.
Now for the basics:
- It is the only way you can receive federal aid or a loan in your student’s name
- Almost everyone qualifies for loans
- Money is awarded on a first come first served basis
- It is easier (with this guide) than you think
- For affluent families, filing can sometimes give you an admissions advantage at some schools because you are documenting you high ability to pay for college
- You make too much money to qualify for aid
- October 1st is the filing deadline (it is first time you can access the form for the upcoming school year)
- Colleges see your entire college list from filing the FASFA
- You can’t change the FASFA once submitted
Now, why file?
- Submitting FASFA is the first step in qualifying and receiving federal student aid
- Some schools require it to be eligible for merit aid or to maximize your aid
- Specific student loans can be forgivable based on a student career pathway
- It generates your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), why is this important?
- Colleges require this number in their admissions process to award aid
- It helps you understand your financial aid position and leverage schools financial aid policy to your benefit
- You EFC is the guidepost for need based aid, so families can lower it to receive more free money from colleges
So, what are the steps?
- Step 1: Register for your FSA IDs at studentaid.gov
- You will have a student ID and ONE (1) parent id
- Pro Tip: Parents fill out the entire form for your student
- Pro Tip 2: When you create the student's profile use an email address you have access to in case you have to reset passwords down the road
- Pro Tip 3: Create the FSA ID for both you and your student using the same password (i.e. Fafsa2023)
- Pro Tip 4: Keep your logins/passwords in a safe place since you will need them annually
- Step 2: Collect Important Documents
- Tax returns
- Asset Information for Non-retirement accounts
- Step 3: DO NOT START the form before October 1st
- Step 4: Use the DRT (Data retrieval tool) if you filed your taxes prior to September
- Pro Tip 5: If you have rolled over a retirement account in any base income year (remember the forms ask for PRIOR, PRIOR tax year. (Example: if your student is entering college in 2023 – your base income year is 2021 tax year) DO NOT USE THE DRT since the retirement rollover amount will increase your EFC and lower you financial aid
- Step 5: Have your student’s college list ready since the forms ask for where you want the forms submitted.
- ProTip 6: If you have more than 10 schools, you will have to go back 3-5 days later and delete a few and add the new ones to resubmit.
- Step 6: Review and validate your information prior to submitting
Now, I know this already sounds like a pain, but I promise this FASFA guide will answer any unknown questions and cut your filing time in half.
If you have any questions about how best to pay for college and enhance your retirement, please feel free to give me a call: Schedule Strategy Call