The 2021-22 Free Application for Federal Student Aid, commonly known as the FAFSA, which U.S. universities use to determine what, if any, financial assistance for families, opened on October 1, 2020. Parents and students can submit the form online, only requiring some time and patience to complete, what can, on first glance, be reminiscent of a complex tax form. Furthermore, many parents panic, rushing to complete the form, believing they must submit the FAFSA as close to opening day as possible in order to earn financial assistance as if financial aid offices work on a “first come. first-served basis.”
However, the FAFSA is neither a tax form, requiring professional expertise to both follow and seek the greatest discounts amongst the intricate tax codes, nor in the case of financial aid, game their finances to appear the least wealthy, thus worthy of the greatest financial assistance. Instead, parents can utilize the IRS Data Retrieval tool, which connects their latest Federal tax returns with their FAFSA account, thus self-populating many of the boxes, then amending the numbers if updates are necessary.
Additionally, students who submit the FAFSA by the priority deadline (which can vary by college so be sure to check the financial aid website of every college), will be considered for financial aid. Additionally, even after submitted, the data on the FAFSA can be updated, if needed and as many times as needed, should a family’s financial information or status change. So, no gaming needed.
Of special note, the FAFSA can be sent to as many colleges as the student is considering. If a student does not apply to a particular college where they sent their FAFSA, the college financial aid officers will simply ignore the student’s FAFSA information. Conversely, if the student applies to an additional college after the FAFSA was originally submitted, then the student can simply log back into their FAFSA account and send the FAFSA to the new college.
Creative Marbles experts assist clients with technical questions about the FAFSA, as well help families forecast out-of-pocket college expenses. Contact us for more details about how we can help your family find the greatest value in education.