While that phrase is meant as a greeting, parents of college kids dread the downside--it's time to refill out the paperwork for FAFSA--Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
Even if you filled it out last year, you get another chance to deal with all your paperwork. An added bonus is your tax appointment will likely go much quicker once you realize it's best to stay organized.
We started filling it out a little after midnite, but I'll admit I lost my pin from last year, and had to ask for another one this year. *sigh*
Yeah, I mentioned doing a new FAFSA to my husband earlier today...fortunately, we're organized enough so it's not a big deal. (On the other hand, if we lost his computer with all the data/details, we'd be in BIG trouble! Which reminds me, it's probably a good time to backup all the files...)44728
Our numbers are a little different this year--one of us is up, the other down, and we're both self-employed. Coupled with the fact that our son had direct deposit and can't quite find a cumulative work statement, we'll be needing to follow up.
The real downside is one of his scholarships will require his SAR (Student Aid Report) by February 15th and our official tax appointment is February 4th. Looks like a crazy winter for us.
The upside is that we won't have to go through the CSS forms with the College Board this year, so I can focus on only one set of forms.44729
We have 2 in two different colleges and 1 in high school. Which means we will soon have 3 in college at the same time !!! I have always wondered if it is worth it to fill out the FASFA (putting all my personal info out *there*) if you know your income is waaayyy too high to get any funds. We would appreciate help based just on grade point, community service, etc. but are aware we'll NEVER get any funds based on income. What's your opinion??44730
My opinion would be it's the same information you fork over to the IRS. And unless all three are at community college, there's a real possibility your kids could receive something at the Federal or state level. And many scholarships require FAFSA to be filled out before they consider an application, so I'd say go for it.44731
I've attended several FAFSA seminars, and would say that the two thing they try to impress on people is that "you never know until you try," plus "situations change."
The formula used by the "powers that be" doesn't expect as large a percentage contribution from parents income, as they do from student's income and assets. Your expected contribution isn't going to be 3 times as much as a parent with a single child. In fact, the more kids in college, the more likely you will qualify for federal funding. Obviously, I don't know your children's earnings situation, so if they've got high savings, it might not matter.
The seminar presenter did say that there have been cases where a parent who didn't qualify initially had a change of situation mid-year, and lost their job, or encountered large medical costs, so the fact the FAFSA had been filed by the initial deadline allowed it to be amended for the year, and then their students received assistance.
The last thing for parents to realize, no matter what their income, is that even if they don't qualify for free grant money, the FAFSA opens doors to federally-insured loan programs like the Stafford. Our family didn't get any grant money because my husband's income was too high, BUT we insisted our son take out a Stafford loan, so he has a "vested interest" in doing well in school. ( It's not just a case of "mom & dad footing the bill" for a year of partying or what-have-you.) We've told our son if he graduates with a particular GPA, we'll pay the loans off, but otherwise, they're his. If we didn't fill out the FAFSA, he could not have gotten the Stafford loan. 44732
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