Plan For College

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Financial Aid Schedule: Deadlines Approaching!

The College Planning Group Blog Post 

Financial Aid Schedule: Deadlines Approaching!

What is FAFSA? "Free Application for Federal Student Aid"
If it's Free, it must be simple, right? No…it is a 14-page form that requires a lot of data and information and, if it is incorrect, you may get Less Federal Financial Aid!

When is it due? Soon! You should be working on in now…(Or have a College Advisor working on it!) If you are late or wait too long, the pile of money will be gone…

What mistakes do most people make? They make all kinds of mistakes but the most common is waiting too long! If you are off on your income or assets, these could affect your aid package…But if you wait even a month longer than most, you may have the perfect FAFSA but miss out anyway!

>> Here are some tips and links:

> Federal FAFSA Deadlines: You can file a FAFSA for the 2017-2018 school year as early as October 1, 2016 so do it quickly to maximize your chance of federal monies. The latest they will accept applications is (not recommended!) June 30, 2018 and any corrections or updates must be submitted by September 15, 2018. See https://fafsa.ed.gov/
> State Aid Deadlines: As far as MA students pls visit the website for the Office of Student Financial Assistance at the  Massachusetts Department of Education  www.osfa.mass.edu. This is the official website of the Massachusetts Department of Higher Ed. For RI, CT, see your local state websites.

> You will need various tax forms and historical tax data. You may be able to use 2015 or 2016 tax returns depending on your situation. The College Planning Group are not tax advisors but we know exactly how to navigate the FAFSA and get it right the first time…NOTE: any mistakes will lower your chance of financial aid!

> You can always edit your data on the FAFSA website but do it before you commit the data. You can edit income, assets, debts, addresses, etc etc at any time but once you commit that is it.

> If you have large assets or cash accounts or liquid investments that you think would disqualify you, Do Not Assume you should list them…not all assets need to be listed! The FAFSA is not an department of the IRS so be careful in detailing your financial picture.

> If you are separated or divorced and have sole-custody or joint-custody, these need to be handled very carefully: Do Not Assume that, if you have 100% custody of a child, that you alone should fill out the FAFSA…an ex-spouse may be included in your financial picture in many cases to show increased need.

As always, consider using a College Planner who has filled out hundreds of FAFSA forms (and is likely filling out dozens for students right now!) Make sure they know all the tricks for getting you the most Financial Aid…Many "experts" just fill it out assuming old rules and statutes without learning the new laws and requirements, and, as a result, do not maximize your Financial Aid.

Hope this helps!

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The College Planning Group
Canton MA     800-985-8569






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