FAFSA – Must Know Information

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FAFSA Application Tips | Did you know that FAFSA Changed? Join Jean Burk and College Prep Genius. FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Here is the information you need now. | #homeschoolpodcast #podcast #collegeprep #FAFSA #scholarship Did you know that FAFSA Changed? Join Jean Burk and College Prep Genius. FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Here is the information you need now.

FAFSA 2024 
The rollout was late, and the problem with rolling out the new FAFSA is that it is three months late; schools have hard deadlines for applications, and this may mess up some of the college deadlines. Check with the college.
Everyone should fill out the FAFSA – even if you think you make too much money. Take advantage of it even if you do not qualify for other aid (Institutional aid). It has to be through this. Billions in scholarship and Federal money (listen for more information.)
 
A. Two Big Snafus :
  1. Historically, FAFSA opens for applications to be submitted on October 1, and there are college deadlines for various aid. This year, they opened FAFSA in January of 2024. A “soft launch” happened on December 30, yet the system wasn’t ready. The deadline had to be December 30 to meet federal guidelines.
  2. New software only has one formula inflation index, and it is huge. They admitted there was an issue. Many people will not be able to qualify for Pell Grants and other aid. They will qualify for less money. Hopefully, the colleges are aware of it.
B. 13 Changes (Good for some/tricky for others)
  1.  Every family situation is different. One of the reasons they changed it was because of the confusing terminology. EFC – Estimated Family Contribution. SAI or Student Aid Index: This is more accurate on what the college looks at.
  2. There are only 36 questions instead of 100
  3. October 1 date was not met. It was released in January.
  4. FSS – Fafsa submission summary — they increased the Pell Grant eligibility… US poverty tables that take into account family size, etc.
  5. The challenge for some families is if you have more than one student in college, it benefits. The middle class no more discount to having more than one student in college. (Maybe next year it will come back.) Colleges know this and hopefully can make adjustments.
  6. CSS – College Scholarship Profile. More institutional aid and discounts add back in more of your assets – home equity and retirement.
  7. They don’t distinguish between divorce and legal separation now. It used to default to a custodial parent; now it is AGI – or adjusted gross income.
  8. G. Good change: Prepare the younger kids. No financial consequences. 529 Plan (College Savings Plan) – invisible financial aid.
  9. IRS Data retrieval tool, your taxes are pulled from the IRS directly. Consent is required. (Maybe one spouse doesn’t want the other one to know what is going on.)
  10. You can list 20 schools instead of 10 beforehand. That will help you and save time and frustration.
  11. The rolls-based form – Roles-Based – students will have a section, and parents will have a section, so they are separate logs.
  12. The family size definition has changed, dependent or independent. It used to be only dependent students could apply, yet rules changed. Now, they then become independent (become married, military, etc.). Now you can change it.
  13. Provisional independence status – something that prevents them from entering the parent’s information. This is helpful. So they can enter their information individually as an “independent.”
C. Steps to File (Must do beforehand)
  1. FAFSA ID – students or parents. The name on your ID has to be the same as your ID; double-check—the name, the birthday, etc., needs to be the legal name, or the system will kick it out.
  2. StudentAid.gov to start the process.
  3. FAFSA.ed.gov — a waiting room. That waiting room is going to be there if there are many people filing at the same time. Stay there and wait.
  4. Documents you can get ahead of time. Worksheet. 2023-3=2024 FAFSA PDF you can download and fill it out. To double-check that you have not made mistakes.
  5. Completed tax returns, social security numbers for both you and your child, the cash you have on hand, the day you file the FAFSA – the base year is the day you fill out the FAFSA. Your investment, business, and network. Now it takes 20 minutes.
  6. Student Aid FAFSA estimator. StudentAid.gov/AID-Estimator (Not the FAFSA) It helps you get an SAI – Student Aid Index.

What is the base year:

If you have a child who is a sophomore or in their sophomore year, you don’t want big capital gains or selling stocks, etc. The year you fill out the FAFSA is the child’s senior year, typically in the Fall.

D. If FAFSA is Not Sufficient for College Dreams 
  1. College-bound – ALERTS – those are the steps to getting into college (podcast coming soon on this topic!)
  2. It is one piece of the puzzle. It is one part of the college process. You don’t get money from the FAFSA; the college gets it (COA-SAI=Need). The college is the one that gives the money. It is the starting and jumping-off point.
  3. To get the full rides, the parts to that (on air).

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