Monthly Archives: January 2016

Lowering Your EFC at the Last Minute

The first step in lowering your EFC is to determine whether or not it’s worth doing. How to do that? Determine if you’re a need-based aid candidate at any of the schools you are serious about. You can use the FAFSA 4caster to estimate your EFC; just remember to add back any retirement plan contributions to your income or you’ll be way off. Continue reading Lowering Your EFC at the Last Minute

Two Common FAFSA Errors

Please avoid these two FAFSA mistakes at all costs:

  • Don’t put “Student” info in the “Parent” section or vice versa. Each gets different treatment. When you file online, the Parent financial information comes first, after the student demographics. The Student financial information is last.
  • Don’t brag. The FAFSA is the one piece of the college application process where you get to let your hair down. Generally speaking, you do not want to impress anyone with your FAFSA. Spend your cash before you file. Don’t exaggerate your income. If you have the financial equivalent of a muffin top, this is the place to rock it.

And of course, enter your driver’s license and Social Security information correctly.

How to Fill out the FAFSA 3: Assets

Once you’ve finished the income section of the FAFSA, you’re on the home stretch. What’s left? Assets. And once again, the form is deceptively simple: “As of today, what is the net worth of your parents’ investments, including real estate (not your parents’ home)?”

OK, so not the home. But what does count? Continue reading How to Fill out the FAFSA 3: Assets

How to Fill out the FAFSA 2: Divorced Parents

Divorce is one of the biggest question areas with the FAFSA. This may be because the FAFSA presents it so simply: it just asks the parents’ marital status; if “Divorced or separated” is chosen, it asks which parent’s information is going to be used. You have to read the fine print to figure out whose info the Department of Education thinks should be reported. Because of the different rules, divorced parents who are still at least cordial with one another Continue reading How to Fill out the FAFSA 2: Divorced Parents

Listing Colleges on FAFSA Step 6

This year’s FAFSA brought about a big change that many people likely won’t notice: Colleges will no longer see either where they were listed on the FAFSA or what other colleges are receiving the student’s FAFSA information. Prior to this year, colleges could see  Continue reading Listing Colleges on FAFSA Step 6