Most people relish the idea of figuring out how to get some free aid to help their families when it comes to taking care of college education. However, year in and year out, families make multiple mistakes when it comes to filling out the Free Application For Student Aid (FAFSA). This year, FAFSA has made multiple changes that need your attention to ensure your family has the best opportunity to reach your goal of getting some cash. Here are the smart money moves you need to know:
- The Start Date Is Much Earlier
- Applications officially can be filed October 1st – January 1st
- This is a permanent change within the FAFSA system.
- It Will Much More Simple For Pulling Tax Information
- FAFSA will now use a ‘prior-prior’ method. This means that they will really be using two years prior to give everyone a chance to fully complete their tax extension.
- Students applying for 2017-2018 tax year which would be the current application will use 2015 tax year as the correct year.
- There is an easy IRS data retrieval tool to ensure you get the correct information by scraping directly from the IRS.
- Create Your FSA ID ASAP
- Your FSA ID is now legal the electronic signature for FAFSA. This is going to be important as opposed to using a PIN.
- Make sure you fill out the correct year on the application. We’ve seen parents literally click the wrong drop down in the menu and disqualify themselves by submitting the wrong calendar year.
- Gather All Of Your Household Financial Data
- You really need to know what financially you should include and what you should not on the FAFSA forms. Far too often, families that make good income assume they won’t qualify for aid and hinder their chances by inadvertently overstating their assets.
- Equity in your residence, 401(k)’s, IRA’s, and business ownership all do not belong on FAFSA forms. Could this be one reason to pay off your mortgage quicker?
- Prepare College Applications and Financial Aid At The Same Time
- Even if this is the very first time your child is applying to college, you should list any schools you’ll be applying to when filling out FAFSA forms. You can always add or subtract other colleges later, and this might be a great time to start on the college applications now.
- Remember, The early bird gets the worm! FAFSA is doled out on a first come, first serve basis.
Filling out FAFSA forms or even deciding how you play your investment strategy with respect to FAFSA are never easy decisions. Shoot us an e-mail if you want to talk more about how to snag more of this free financial aid.
Go to www.oxygenfinancial.net to request a consultation with the leading experts for Generation X in the country.
Ted Jenkin is a frequent guest columnist for the Wall Street Journal and Headline News Weekend Express. He is the co-CEO ofoXYGen Financial. You can follow him on LinkedIn @ www.linkedin.com/in/theceoadvisor or on Twitter @tedjenkin.
Securities offered through Kestra Investment Services, LLC (Kestra IS), member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Kestra Advisory Services, LLC (Kestra AS), an affiliate of Kestra IS. oXYGen Financial is not affiliated with Kestra IS or Kestra AS. Kestra IS and Kestra AS do not provide tax or legal advice.