The FAFSA was initially developed to determine your federal financial aid eligibility. Today almost all colleges use the FAFSA to determine financial aid eligibility for campus-based funds, state aid and college scholarships. If you are a U.S Citizen or eligible non-citizen enrolled at least halftime at a Title IV College, you should receive some form of financial aid as a result of completing your FAFSA application.
The importance of the FAFSA application in the financial aid process created a number of new problems. The danger with so much importance being placed on the FAFSA is that many people submit the FAFSA with errors or inconsistencies that can cause them to lose some or all of their financial aid they are entitled to. This means there is a very good chance you’ll be one of the parents or students who submits your FAFSA incorrectly and you could lose some or all of your financial aid!
This disturbing information is probably a contributing factor to the federal government issuing the FAFSA with the following warning label.
WARNING: you must fill out this form accurately. The information that you supply can be briefed by your college, your state or by the U.S Department of Education.
Regardless Of Income Or Assets You Can Qualify For Financial Aid
One of the most common questions we get asked by parents and students deciding whether to do everything themselves or retain our financial aid services is… “I don’t think we’ll qualify for financial aid, should I still bother completing the FAFSA or the other financial aid forms?
The Answer Is:
YES, and if you want financial aid you must complete the FAFSA, and you must complete your FAFSA correctly the first time, otherwise it will be rejected. Remember regardless of your income and assets and as long as none of your errors prevent your FAFSA from being processed, you are likely to be eligible for at least some financial aid whether it’s free college scholarships or federal student loans.
The Best Way To Complete Your FAFSA
There are two very important and common questions people ask us about the FAFSA. The answers will save you from a lot of frustration, hassles, and wasted time as well as save you a ton of money.
1. Should You Complete The FAFSA Online Or Use The Paper FAFSA?
It is easier for the federal government to process your FAFSA online. However it is not easier for you to complete it this way. Online you must complete approximately 63 different screens; have a compatible web browser and a properly configured printer. You may also encounter challenges with the server’s ability to handle the volume of users. If you’re lucky enough to get connected, pray you don’t get timed out. If you are going to do the FAFSA yourself you may find it easier to use the paper version. Whether you do the FAFSA online or offline it has no impact on your financial aid, none whatsoever! The difficulty most families have with completing the FAFSA is what led to us completing the financial aid forms for our clients.
2. How Can You Maximize Your Financial Aid Eligibility?
The function of FAFSA in principle is not that different than your 1040 form. The rules and regulations are very different but the function is similar. Learn how to organize the major various components of the FAFSA and you may qualify for more financial aid. Be sure your FAFSA is consistent with all the other financial aid forms or be prepared to endure the verification process.
- Reduce or shelter “included” assets. Converting included assets into non-included assets will increase financial aid eligibility.
- Take advantage of the differences in the way the need analysis process assesses the assets and income of the student and his or her parents.
- Take advantage of the different ways each school may value your assets. Choose a college where you’ll receive more financial aid.
There many different strategies available to help you receive more financial aid and free college scholarships. Helping families qualify for FAFSA financial aid is an integral part of our service. However if you don’t submit the FAFSA and the other financial aid forms the strategies won’t matter. Whether we complete your FAFSA through our financial aid services or you complete the FAFSA on your own, be sure you submit your financial aid forms correctly the first time if you want to receive financial aid.