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College Talk Blog

FInancial Aid

File Financial Aid Now

This year parents and students file financial aid forms in October and November. Forms can be filed later but the later families wait, the bigger the risk that families will miss the priority financial aid deadline at their school.

To file the FAFSA, one parent and the student must apply for an FSAID at  www.fafsa.ed.gov. The FSAID is the parent and student userid and password for the FAFSA. Apply for the FSAID at least 2-3 days before attempting to file the FAFSA.

File the FAFSA at www.fafsa.

College Finance Made Simple

Every college website, somewhere in the financial aid page or the admissions page has a cost of education figure that represents the estimated cost of education at that college. That estimated cost figure is used by college financial aid and scholarship offices, college veterans affairs offices, federal and private lenders to determine how much total financial assistance a student can receive.

Families who have that number can subtract the EFC or Estimated Family Contribution from the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to determine the amount of need they have.

Why Parents of the College Bound Should File Taxes Early

If you have a high school student in your house who is a junior this year, you are in luck. Next year the government will allow you to use this year's 2015 tax return to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) which is required for students who want federal aid. 

Parents of this year's high school seniors however are not that lucky. They are expected to  use their 2015 tax return to file the FAFSA by college priority deadlines that range from February 1 to March 1.

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.

What to do when things change

Families have been filing 2012 FAFSA's since January 1, 2012 so that their children can be in the running for grants, scholarships and loans this spring.  Some worry about the fact that the FAFSA asks them about their income in 2011 because things have changed in their household. 
 
The good news is that the financial aid professionals at colleges and universities know that stuff happens:
  • Parents get laid off or have their hours reduced at work which causes their wages to drop