22 points of light regarding the FAFSA.
1) It’s THE form required at all colleges that accept and award federal aid. (Yes, there are a few that do not utilize federal funding – that’s a topic for another day.)
2) It’s the form that provides your college financial aid officers with the information they need to go ahead and create your financial aid package.
3) The initials stand for FREE Application for Federal Student Aid.
4) Hence, it’s FREE.
5) It’s available online at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov. NOT dot com, NOT dot org, NOT dot anything else.
6) You can still get a paper version, if you really, really, really want to. But you don’t.
7) It utilizes a July to June calendar. In other words, we are in the middle of the 2011-2012 year and “New Year’s Day” is July 1, when we move to the 2012-2013 year.
8) The 2012-2013 form is available for processing on January 1, 2012.
9) It helps determine the awarding of over $150 billion in federal aid.
10) If you have your 1040 available, the form can be fairly straightforward.
11) Unless your situation is not.
12) Do not pay someone $1500 to fill the form out for you to “maximize your aid potential”. Generally, the only one receiving more aid in that situation is the preparer.
13) It’s based on your current household and your current assets.
14) But last year’s income for that household.
15) If your parents are divorced or separated, it’s based on the parent you spent the most time with in the previous year.
16) And your step-parent, if there is one in that household.
17) Don’t send notes to the federal processor. They’ll just shred ‘em. Your concerns and questions should be directed to the financial aid office of the school you attend or are planning to attend.
18) Your parents saying that they won’t pay for College does NOT grant you independent status.
19) Here’s a link to a useful webinar about the FAFSA. (Useful, but 60 minutes in length)
20) Here’s a link to my favorite FAFSA video. (Enjoyable, only 5 minutes in length)
21) Here’s a link to my Facebook page – feel free to post any $$/FA questions you have.
22) After all of that, here’s a link to the actual FAFSA.
As always, I welcome your comments and questions. Please feel free to email me at email@example.com, call or text me at 908-403-3819, join me on Facebook on “College Counseling for the Rest of Us” and join me on Twitter at @MichaelCCR. And now on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/CCRMichael?feature=mhee.