High School Seniors – What to do on Sunday, October 1stSubmitted by Financial Planning Solutions, LLC on September 27th, 2017
Sleeping late, hanging out with friends, playing a soccer or lacrosse game, making it to the next level on your PlayStation/PS4—what else could a high school senior want to do this Sunday? –Fill out his/her FAFSA!
If you are going to apply for financial aid, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA from. The form for the 2018-19 academic year will be posted online on Sunday, October 1, 2017.
In years past, students had to wait until January 1st to fill this form out. Now, with an earlier release date, you have more time—or do you?
Not really. If you are applying for need-based or institutional aid, most of it is used up if you wait months after the release of this form. As such, early filers tend to have an advantage.
To get a jump start on filling out the form, gather what you will need in advance so that you’ll be ready to complete the form when it is available on October 1st.
Here’s what you need:
FSA I.D. – You’ll use this I.D. password to log into the US Department of Education website (fafsa.gov) where you will complete your FAFSA. Each student and one parent of each dependent student will need an FSA ID to complete the FAFSA process. We recommend creating your I.D. now so that you can avoid delays in the process.
Note: Do not create an FSA I.D. for someone else such as your child/student. The student should create their own I.D. If the parent is required to enter information on the student FAFSA, the parent should also create an FSA I.D.
Social Security Number – Most parents received their child’s Social Security Number after the birth of their child. If you don’t have it, you’ll need to apply for one ASAP. The form can be found at www.ssa.gov/forms/ss-5.pdf
Driver’s license/state I.D. card number – If you don’t have one of these cards, you can skip this step.
2016 tax returns – Starting this fall, you’ll need to provide information from your 2016 tax returns. You’ll need to provide your income and your parents’, as applicable. For some families, this is a problem because their expected 2017 income will be significantly lower than their 2016 income. Since you cannot change the tax return information, you’ll need to contact the individual schools and advise them of your unique financial circumstances.
This information is typically provided by using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT). Not everyone can use the DRT. So, you should have your tax return handy when you begin entering information into the FAFSA.
Information about untaxed income – This may or may not apply to you. Income such as child support received, interest income, veteran’s non-education benefits, and other sources are included in this category.
Asset balances – FAFSA requires you to provide current balances of checking, savings, investments, and real estate, except for your primary residence. Be sure to accurately report student and parent assets in this section. This is an area of common mistakes.
List of schools the student may attend – Schools you include will automatically receive your FAFSA information. They will use this information to determine your eligibility and amount of financial aid. You can list up to 10 schools at one time. You should list all schools you are considering, even if you have not applied or been accepted.
If you missed our College Financing Workshop last week and would like to see if our strategies might benefit you, give us a call or send us an email to set up a complementary 60-minute initial review. These strategies are not for everyone, but they could save you on taxes and help you successfully navigate the college planning process without sinking your retirement plans.
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Financial Planning Solutions, LLC (FPS) is a Registered Investment Advisor. FPS provides this blog for informational and educational purposes only. Nothing in this blog should be considered investment, tax, or legal advice. FPS only renders personalized advice to each client. Information herein includes opinions and source information that is believed to be reliable. However, such information may not be independently verified by FPS. Please see important disclosures link at the bottom of this page.