Category Archives: Financial Aid

FAFSA Income Surprises

Friends are having a FAFSA nightmare: their daughter’s EFC came back as 60% of their income. They suspect the reason for this is that he consolidated his retirement accounts, rolling several over into a single larger account, and that some or all of that rollover is showing as an IRA distribution. Fortunately they have the records to show that this was Continue reading FAFSA Income Surprises

FAFSA FAQs 2

Q: I won’t qualify for financial aid. Do I need to fill out the FAFSA?

A: Yes! Regardless of whether you think you’re eligible for aid, you should complete the FAFSA. You have to complete it if you (or your student) intends to take out federal student loans, which are available to anyone regardless of need. If you have any intention of borrowing, the Direct Student Loan should be your starting point. Plus, some Continue reading FAFSA FAQs 2

FAFSA FAQs

The FAFSA for the 2018-2019 school year is here. Here are some FAFSA FAQs:

Q: What does FAFSA mean by “income?” Gross, taxable, AGI? Something else?

A: All of it. FAFSA wants to know each parent’s gross income, including tax-deferred retirement plan contributions. The easiest way to take care of the income is to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) to directly transfer income information to the FAFSA. After Continue reading FAFSA FAQs

Aid Formulas

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, this is a bit of a refresher post.

There are three aid formulas: Federal methodology (FM), based on the FAFSA; Institutional Methodology (IM), based on the CSS PROFILE; and Consensus Methodology (CM), which uses both aid forms. Each is a different way of calculating a family’s Continue reading Aid Formulas

Home Equity and Aid Formulas

With price gains in most housing markets nationwide over the last few years, parents need to understand how aid formulas treat home equity. The good news: the FAFSA doesn’t consider home equity. The bad news: the CSS PROFILE requests information on home equity, and schools using the CSS PROFILE may calculate your home equity’s value for EFC purposes in one of three different ways: Continue reading Home Equity and Aid Formulas

What Colleges Can You Afford?

As fall kicks into gear, students begin looking in earnest at colleges. Kids tend to focus on a few core aspects of colleges when creating and narrowing down a list: majors available, location, big vs small. Later in the school year, I get calls from panicked parents whose students have fallen in love with and often been accepted to wonderful Continue reading What Colleges Can You Afford?