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College Talk Blog

File an Estimated FAFSA?

Even though parents of students attending college in the fall are filing their taxes as early as possible, it's not unusual for them to file an estimated Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA to meet priority college financial aid deadlines. 
 
If your family filed an estimated FAFSA, don't forget to correct your FAFSA after your taxes are filed.  Correcting the FAFSA is quick as you only have to correct a few items. 
 
If you meet the qualifications for families who can have the IRS populate your FAFSA, it's a good idea to wait 14 days after your tax return was accepted by the Internal Revenue Service to correct your FAFSA.  Fourteen days is the estimated time the IRS has given for them to be able to populate your FAFSA from your tax return. 
 
The reason it is best for families to let the IRS populate financial information on the FAFSA is that it is likely to minimize the chances that the Student Aid Report (SAR) that you receive after filing your corrected FAFSA will be selected for a process called verification.
 
Verification requires submitting tax information directly to the financial aid office so that they can verify data on the FAFSA.  Unfortunately, verification will take more time this year because of new requirements for families to obtain official tax transcripts from the IRS for college aid offices to be able to verify their SAR.  The IRS is estimating that it will take as long as six weeks for families to get transcripts.  Six weeks is a long time for families to have to wait before their SAR can be verified.  More time will be added to that if there are corrections to the SAR as a result of verification.  Such delays can delay final awards.  Delays can impact financial aid award offers if the college runs out of types of aid for which students are eligible. When it comes to financial aid, time is money.

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