Is it worth filing FAFSA even if you know you'll get nothing?

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Big Dog
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Re: Is it worth filing FAFSA even if you know you'll get nothing?

Post by Big Dog » Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:10 am

At my undergrad, you were not eligible for work study jobs unless you had completed a FAFSA. Those jobs weren’t need based,
Generally, work study IS need-based. Its a federal program which reimburses the college 2/3rds of the wage paid, and the federal program is designed for low income kids.
I stated that based on anecdotal evidence.I was told by someone that the school their child was applying to required filling out FAFSA. They didn't want to do it because they didn't expect any financial aid, but they had to.

And why look at financial information for merit based aid? That seems like a contradiction.

Colleges want to be absolutely sure that merit winners are not eligible for any state or federal aid before providing their own college money. (See Teen Persuasion's post immediately above mine.)

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GoldStar
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Re: Is it worth filing FAFSA even if you know you'll get nothing?

Post by GoldStar » Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:18 am

Big Dog wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:10 am
At my undergrad, you were not eligible for work study jobs unless you had completed a FAFSA. Those jobs weren’t need based,
Generally, work study IS need-based. Its a federal program which reimburses the college 2/3rds of the wage paid, and the federal program is designed for low income kids.
I stated that based on anecdotal evidence.I was told by someone that the school their child was applying to required filling out FAFSA. They didn't want to do it because they didn't expect any financial aid, but they had to.

And why look at financial information for merit based aid? That seems like a contradiction.

Colleges want to be absolutely sure that merit winners are not eligible for any state or federal aid before providing their own college money. (See Teen Persuasion's post immediately above mine.)
Slight correction to above statement:
SOME Colleges want to be absolutely sure that merit winners are not eligible for any state or federal aid before providing their own college money.
None of the colleges/universities my second child applied to required it for merit based aid.

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Re: Is it worth filing FAFSA even if you know you'll get nothing?

Post by goodenyou » Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:39 am

Just wrote the check. We didn't need to be told that our EFC exceeded the cost of attendance.
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texasdiver
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Re: Is it worth filing FAFSA even if you know you'll get nothing?

Post by texasdiver » Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:53 am

Oldest daughter is an out-of-state junior at a big public university (SEC school).

I didn't bother with the FAFSA and it has never once come up with the school. As long as the invoices for tuition and fees are paid up they don't seem to care one bit. She is a very median student so merit scholarships were never really on the table.

I suspect that some of the more selective schools simply want the FAFSA data so that they can compile a more complete demographics profile on their student body. they want to know what percentage of students come from each income tier and that sort of thing. So they can adjust their recruiting and admissions processes to the extent that they feel necessary to attract a more diverse student body. This is primarily going to be a thing with more selective schools. The big public universities mostly have completely automated admissions processes and so it isn't really important. My daughter was admitted simply on the basis of HS GPA and SAT scores, nothing else. There were no 'intangible" factors that one encounters at more selective schools.

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munemaker
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Re: Is it worth filing FAFSA even if you know you'll get nothing?

Post by munemaker » Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:28 pm

SimonJester wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:33 am
Something else to think about, a lot of scholarships require your to be under a certain EFC number. Several actually wanted the SAR report when applying.
Is an award that requires financial need really a "scholarship" in the true sense of the word? Having low family income is not really an achievement, is it?

Definition of scholarship:
a grant or payment made to support a student's education, awarded on the basis of academic or other achievement.

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Re: Is it worth filing FAFSA even if you know you'll get nothing?

Post by texasdiver » Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:41 pm

munemaker wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:28 pm
SimonJester wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:33 am
Something else to think about, a lot of scholarships require your to be under a certain EFC number. Several actually wanted the SAR report when applying.
Is an award that requires financial need really a "scholarship" in the true sense of the word? Having low family income is not really an achievement, is it?

Definition of scholarship:
a grant or payment made to support a student's education, awarded on the basis of academic or other achievement.
You can quibble with definitions all you want regarding the difference between a grant and a scholarship. But there are basically four categories of financial aid provided by universities:

Grants/Scholarships
Loans
Work study jobs (and assistantships for grad students)
Tuition waivers (mostly for employed grad students, student athletes, and the children of university employees)

Qualifying for any of these is likely to require submission of a FAFSA.

Scholarships from 3rd parties and ordinary off-campus college jobs are likely the only dollars to be had that don't require going through the university and being subject to their disclosure requirements.

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munemaker
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Re: Is it worth filing FAFSA even if you know you'll get nothing?

Post by munemaker » Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:52 pm

texasdiver wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:41 pm

You can quibble with definitions all you want regarding the difference between a grant and a scholarship.
I find it annoying when people brag about receiving "scholarships" when their only accomplishment is having a low income.

DIFAR31
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Re: Is it worth filing FAFSA even if you know you'll get nothing?

Post by DIFAR31 » Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:29 pm

munemaker wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:52 pm
texasdiver wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:41 pm

You can quibble with definitions all you want regarding the difference between a grant and a scholarship.
I find it annoying when people brag about receiving "scholarships" when their only accomplishment is having a low income.
A lot of schools, for whatever reason, apply the term "scholarship" to need-based grants, so your annoyance is possibly being misplaced. In reality, a scholarship is a transfer of money to be used by the recipient for academic purposes that has been awarded for any number of reasons including: academic achievement, athletic ability, demonstrated ability in a certain skill, and yes, even financial need.

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Re: Is it worth filing FAFSA even if you know you'll get nothing?

Post by GoldStar » Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:46 pm

DIFAR31 wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:29 pm
munemaker wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:52 pm
texasdiver wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:41 pm

You can quibble with definitions all you want regarding the difference between a grant and a scholarship.
I find it annoying when people brag about receiving "scholarships" when their only accomplishment is having a low income.
A lot of schools, for whatever reason, apply the term "scholarship" to need-based grants, so your annoyance is possibly being misplaced. In reality, a scholarship is a transfer of money to be used by the recipient for academic purposes that has been awarded for any number of reasons including: academic achievement, athletic ability, demonstrated ability in a certain skill, and yes, even financial need.
Probably why a lot of schools and students now say "merit based scholarship" so clear.
Most of the schools my kids applied to did NOT require FAFSA for merit based scholarships but you need to ask. Incidentally the one school that did was also the same school that said they wouldn't commit until after enrollment on how AP credits could be used (so my daughter didn't apply).

HereToLearn
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Re: Is it worth filing FAFSA even if you know you'll get nothing?

Post by HereToLearn » Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:17 pm

texasdiver wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:41 pm
munemaker wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:28 pm
SimonJester wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:33 am
Something else to think about, a lot of scholarships require your to be under a certain EFC number. Several actually wanted the SAR report when applying.
Is an award that requires financial need really a "scholarship" in the true sense of the word? Having low family income is not really an achievement, is it?

Definition of scholarship:
a grant or payment made to support a student's education, awarded on the basis of academic or other achievement.
You can quibble with definitions all you want regarding the difference between a grant and a scholarship. But there are basically four categories of financial aid provided by universities:

Grants/Scholarships
Loans
Work study jobs (and assistantships for grad students)
Tuition waivers (mostly for employed grad students, student athletes, and the children of university employees)

Qualifying for any of these is likely to require submission of a FAFSA.

Scholarships from 3rd parties and ordinary off-campus college jobs are likely the only dollars to be had that don't require going through the university and being subject to their disclosure requirements.

My son received scholarship awards from a handful of private universities and one public, and I never filed FAFSA. These were merit awards. I suppose I would use the term scholarship instead of grant as colleges will sometimes use the term grant when describing a need-based award.

There are true non-need based merit awards that do not require submission of FAFSA or CSS.

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celia
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Re: Is it worth filing FAFSA even if you know you'll get nothing?

Post by celia » Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:26 pm

rkhusky wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:09 am
celia wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 3:36 am
The only drawback I saw was that one college he applied to but didn't attend had their database hacked. Son and parents were sent a letter and free credit reporting.
I don't see why colleges need access to the raw data. It wouldn't be so bad if the Education Department held the raw data and just sent the EFC to the colleges to which you apply.
I think it is part of the student's identification (to distinguish between similar names). The colleges also need the student's SSN if you want them to generate a 1098-T, to show how much tuition you/the student paid. You'll need that if you want to claim the tuition and fees deduction or education tax credit on your taxes (assuming they were not changed by last year's tax law changes).

munemaker wrote: Is an award that requires financial need really a "scholarship" in the true sense of the word? Having low family income is not really an achievement, is it?
What if the scholarship is meant for those going into a certain career? What about a scholarship for the students who are the first in their family to go to college? Or a scholarship for foster kids? Rather than always requiring "an achievement", it is a qualifier limiting who the money is meant for. Getting into the college is the "achievement".

HereToLearn
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Re: Is it worth filing FAFSA even if you know you'll get nothing?

Post by HereToLearn » Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:35 pm

celia wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:26 pm
rkhusky wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:09 am
celia wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 3:36 am
The only drawback I saw was that one college he applied to but didn't attend had their database hacked. Son and parents were sent a letter and free credit reporting.
I don't see why colleges need access to the raw data. It wouldn't be so bad if the Education Department held the raw data and just sent the EFC to the colleges to which you apply.
I think it is part of the student's identification (to distinguish between similar names). The colleges also need the student's SSN if you want them to generate a 1098-T, to show how much tuition you/the student paid. You'll need that if you want to claim the tuition and fees deduction or education tax credit on your taxes (assuming they were not changed by last year's tax law changes).

Even if you are not eligible to claim the AOTC, the university will insist the student provides SSN once enrolled. No other financial info is required, but student SSN must be provided.

And yes, the AOTC survived last year's tax law changes unscathed.

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Re: Is it worth filing FAFSA even if you know you'll get nothing?

Post by sco » Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:46 pm

rkhusky wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:09 am
celia wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 3:36 am
The only drawback I saw was that one college he applied to but didn't attend had their database hacked. Son and parents were sent a letter and free credit reporting.
I don't see why colleges need access to the raw data. It wouldn't be so bad if the Education Department held the raw data and just sent the EFC to the colleges to which you apply.
Actually it would probably be worse, as there would only be one place to target for all info, for every student in the US.

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celia
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Re: Is it worth filing FAFSA even if you know you'll get nothing?

Post by celia » Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:58 pm

sco wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:46 pm
rkhusky wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:09 am
celia wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 3:36 am
The only drawback I saw was that one college he applied to but didn't attend had their database hacked. Son and parents were sent a letter and free credit reporting.
I don't see why colleges need access to the raw data. It wouldn't be so bad if the Education Department held the raw data and just sent the EFC to the colleges to which you apply.
Actually it would probably be worse, as there would only be one place to target for all info, for every student in the US.
Would you really want another government agency holding all the data you put on the FAFSA?

No, thank you.

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Re: Is it worth filing FAFSA even if you know you'll get nothing?

Post by sco » Tue Oct 16, 2018 12:47 am

celia wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:58 pm
sco wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:46 pm
rkhusky wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:09 am
celia wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 3:36 am
The only drawback I saw was that one college he applied to but didn't attend had their database hacked. Son and parents were sent a letter and free credit reporting.
I don't see why colleges need access to the raw data. It wouldn't be so bad if the Education Department held the raw data and just sent the EFC to the colleges to which you apply.
Actually it would probably be worse, as there would only be one place to target for all info, for every student in the US.
Would you really want another government agency holding all the data you put on the FAFSA?

No, thank you.
They already do, you put it into the FAFSA form, which they just distributed to each of the 10 colleges that you picked. They also got a copy of most of that info from the iRS..

So now you can worry about the IRS systems, the FAFSA systems, and the college systems.. But given that all of this info, except for today's cash is already known by the government. I am not sure why 10 semi-random colleges are the concern.

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siamond
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Re: Is it worth filing FAFSA even if you know you'll get nothing?

Post by siamond » Tue Oct 16, 2018 4:45 am

Pigeye Brewster wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 8:42 pm
White Coat Investor wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 4:45 pm
Some schools make you fill it out even to be eligible for merit based scholarships.
My son's college gave $1K in aid for filling out FAFSA.
Yup. Same here. I was a high earner by then, and my son didn't get any other scholarship, so we paid in full, except for that $1k. Well, it was worth the few minutes required to fill the FAFSA. It would take less time for the OP to fill it than to read all the answers on this thread... :wink:

Now the CSS, which is required by some colleges, is another matter. This one does require more work to fill it.

About Federal loans, I don't remember the exact terms, but I was shocked by the interest rate, which was completely decoupled from the current treasury rates, or any car/home loan we could get at that time. No way in hell I would make my children take such a rip-off loan. That would be terrible financial advice.

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Re: Is it worth filing FAFSA even if you know you'll get nothing?

Post by dcabler » Tue Oct 16, 2018 6:22 am

Did ours on Sunday. Really, it doesn't take much time as much of the info is automatically transferred over by the IRS. Like the OP, probably will get zippo, but did it anyway.

A couple of interesting tidbits.
1. It only allows one to choose 10 schools. If you want to add more, then you go back in and delete, say, 2, then add 2 new ones. The original 2 still have all of the data, unless you go back and change any of the other info. Rinse and repeat for however many schools the kid wants to send the data to.
2. We have a TX tomorrow fund for our daughter. Like a 529, it's treated as a parental asset. After some googling, it appears that one is supposed to use the current refund value as the value of the asset. FAFSA doesn't break this sort of thing out, but in TX having this fund can not be considered in determining eligibility for state-funded student financial aid.

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Re: Is it worth filing FAFSA even if you know you'll get nothing?

Post by rkhusky » Tue Oct 16, 2018 6:46 am

sco wrote:
Tue Oct 16, 2018 12:47 am
They already do, you put it into the FAFSA form, which they just distributed to each of the 10 colleges that you picked. They also got a copy of most of that info from the iRS..

So now you can worry about the IRS systems, the FAFSA systems, and the college systems.. But given that all of this info, except for today's cash is already known by the government. I am not sure why 10 semi-random colleges are the concern.
Who knows what sort of security that colleges have and how closely they follow their own security protocols. The more people that have access, the more likely that the information could be used for nefarious purposes. And it seems unnecessary for colleges to have most of the information on the form, so the only reason for them to have access is idle curiosity. And most of the information that might be necessary for them to have, such as where the student plans to live, could be asked on the college's own application form.

sco
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Re: Is it worth filing FAFSA even if you know you'll get nothing?

Post by sco » Tue Oct 16, 2018 12:52 pm

Colleges are notoriously bad at information security. But the Government is no gem either.

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goodenyou
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Re: Is it worth filing FAFSA even if you know you'll get nothing?

Post by goodenyou » Tue Oct 16, 2018 1:04 pm

Your data is very valuable to the colleges.
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LilyFleur
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Re: Is it worth filing FAFSA even if you know you'll get nothing?

Post by LilyFleur » Tue Oct 16, 2018 1:10 pm

munemaker wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:52 pm
texasdiver wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:41 pm

You can quibble with definitions all you want regarding the difference between a grant and a scholarship.
I find it annoying when people brag about receiving "scholarships" when their only accomplishment is having a low income.
Some of us Bogleheads did everything correctly--got educated, lived frugally, scrimped and saved and bought houses, drove old cars, saved for our retirement... but bad things happen to good people. Stage III breast cancer, a horrible divorce, and ageism had a very negative effect on my income-earning ability. I did not have the luxury of not filling out the FAFSA.

I did not, however, brag about my children's grant money being a "scholarship." And, they go to state schools. They--and I--did not want them saddled with huge debt for a private university.

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