Get The Most Money Out Of Your FAFSA It can get expensive to go to college, and if you’re like most students, you may need some financial assistance, whether that’s grants, scholarships or loans. While online title loans no inspection are useful for short-term college expenses that you’ll be able to pay back quickly, for […]
Get The Most Money Out Of Your FAFSA
It can get expensive to go to college, and if you’re like most students, you may need some financial assistance, whether that’s grants, scholarships or loans. While online title loans no inspection are useful for short-term college expenses that you’ll be able to pay back quickly, for other costs, you’ll need a long-term solution.
Your financial assistance all starts with completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Completing this application is a requirement to get any type of federal student aid, and you must do it every year. Here are a few key FAFSA tips that will help you get the most financial help.
Get It Done Early
After a change signed by Barack Obama in September of 2015, the earliest date you could submit the FAFSA was changed from January 1 to October 1 the year before the school year. The deadline is June 30 of the school year. It’s easiest to explain with an example. For the 2018-2019 school year, the earliest you could apply for the FAFSA is October 1, 2017. The latest you could apply is June 30, 2019.
Even though that seems like plenty of time, you’re much more likely to quality for financial aid by applying early. Many states and colleges have their own deadlines that are earlier than the federal deadline, and financial aid often gets awarded to applicants on a first-come, first-served basis.
It’s in your best interest to get your application in as soon as possible. You’re also better off doing your application online. Not only will it process faster, but it’s also easier, because the online app has skip logic and only requires you to answer relevant questions. Here’s how to apply online:
- Visit the FAFSA website.
- Click either the Start a New FAFSA button if this is your first time filling out the FAFSA for this school year or the Login button if you need to access a FAFSA application you already started for this school year.
Have All the Requirements on Hand
You’re going to need several pieces of information and documents to complete the FAFSA. Although you’re free to stop at any time and come back to the application later, even if you’re doing it online, it’s better to gather all the required FAFSA documents first to get yours done efficiently.
Here are some of the documents you’ll need for the FAFSA:
- Your driver’s license
- W-2 forms from two years ago for both yourself and your parents
- Current banking statements
You’ll also need your Social Security number and records of any untaxed income.
Minimize Student-Held Assets
What the federal government does when you submit your FAFSA is gauge how much money you and your family could reasonably contribute to your college education. The amount that the government estimates your family can contribute is known as the expected family contribution (EFC). The higher this is, the less financial aid you’ll quality for.
You probably can’t change how much money you or your parents earn, but there is one way to lower your EFC, and that’s by keeping your own assets to a minimum. The reason for this is because the government assesses student assets at a higher rate than parent assets.
Here’s how it works – the government takes 20 percent of your assets and takes that amount from your student aid package. Let’s say you have $10,000 saved. The government will reduce your student aid package by $2,000.
It follows a similar procedure with your parental assets, but the key difference is that it only assesses those assets up to 5.6 percent. If you transferred your $10,000 to your parents in the above example, your student aid package would only decrease by a maximum of $560.
As you can see, the best way to maximize your student aid is to put as much in your parents’ names as you can instead of your own.
Move Assets to Sheltered Accounts
Certain types of accounts are sheltered, which means the government doesn’t count them when assessing assets. This includes homes and retirement accounts.
Therefore, it makes sense for your parents to put more money into their retirement accounts and pay more of their mortgage off before you file the FAFSA. They will lower their assets in the process, increasing your student aid package.
On your end, it’s a good idea to transfer assets to your parents or to a 529 plan, which the government assesses at the parental rate even if your name is on the plan. If you need any school supplies, such as a new computer, buy that before you fill out the FAFSA to reduce your assets. If you’ve been thinking of filling out an online application for title loans because you need some quick cash, it’s best to do so after filling out the FAFSA so that the loan won’t be sitting in your bank account to be counted as assets.
The FAFSA plays a huge role in how you pay for college. Follow the tips above to get what you deserve.