FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

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BlackStrat
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FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by BlackStrat » Fri Dec 28, 2018 9:33 am

I started a college fund nearly the day my son was born (he's now a HS senior) and feel I'm prepared to cover tuition/expenses for a reasonable 4-year college stay. Most of the schools he applied to are saying we need to fill out the FAFSA.

Besides not really wanting to share my personal financial information with who-knows-who, I'm wondering if there's any benefit for those of us who've sacrificed to save so our kids wouldn't graduate college saddled with debt?

From what I understand, FAFSA is strictly to determine whether you're eligible for either federal aid or federal loans. We're strictly middle class so I seriously doubt we'd receive any aid (and like I said, we don't need a loan), but I don't want to turn down any available scholarships or incentives based on filling out the FAFSA (a couple of colleges offered some $$$ off yearly book expense with a completed FAFSA).

Basically I don't want to be that 'chump' that pays the full amount for the same product as others get the break. Am I looking at this correctly?

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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by MikeG62 » Fri Dec 28, 2018 9:42 am

Many threads on this. Search the forums using the keyword FAFSA. I think you’ll find what you are after.
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LiveSimple
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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by LiveSimple » Fri Dec 28, 2018 9:44 am

I think you are correct. We filled in the first year and then did not bother to fill in the next years.

Yes some small scholarships do look into this Fafsa to be completed.

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DanMahowny
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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by DanMahowny » Fri Dec 28, 2018 9:47 am

I did not fill it out. Not willing to trade intimate detail of my finances with no possibility of any benefit.

The end result is the same. I pay for everything.
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GoldStar
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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by GoldStar » Fri Dec 28, 2018 9:50 am

Ask the colleges he is applying to "Why" they are saying it should be filled out.
Some say to do so because they assume you may want to take the unsubsidized loan (and will tell you so, at which point you need to know you don't need to fill it out) while a few colleges don't want to hand out merit aid if you are eligible for financial aid (in this case - you might want to do so but only if the school says with your son's scores/grades he would be eligible for merit scholarships).

For all the schools my kids applied to it would have been a waste of time but you should check with each school (my daughter received merit aid without the need to fill out FAFSA - most don't really require it).
Last edited by GoldStar on Fri Dec 28, 2018 9:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Fri Dec 28, 2018 9:51 am

Never filled one out; knew we were not eligible for need-based aid based on income. Kids did not get merit-based aid. Kids had no difficulty getting stipends.

That said, if you're not sure on the finances, do NOT assume that you won't get need-based aid. There are aid opportunities at very generous institutions even for high income and high asset families. For example, look at https://admissions.yale.edu/financial-a ... e-students
At Yale, 23% of students whose families made more than $250k and applied for aid got some need-based aid.
Last edited by TomatoTomahto on Fri Dec 28, 2018 9:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Clever_Username
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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by Clever_Username » Fri Dec 28, 2018 9:53 am

I don't have kids and I'm a teacher, so keep that in mind when I write this.

It is my understanding that some scholarships, including some merit-based ones, require FAFSA to have been filled out.

Also, I suspect the people who see your info at FAFSA would have access to it if they really want it anyway, even if you don't fill it out.

In your shoes, I probably would fill it out, just in case there are some scholarships your kid(s) qualify for.
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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by smitcat » Fri Dec 28, 2018 10:01 am

BlackStrat wrote:
Fri Dec 28, 2018 9:33 am
I started a college fund nearly the day my son was born (he's now a HS senior) and feel I'm prepared to cover tuition/expenses for a reasonable 4-year college stay. Most of the schools he applied to are saying we need to fill out the FAFSA.

Besides not really wanting to share my personal financial information with who-knows-who, I'm wondering if there's any benefit for those of us who've sacrificed to save so our kids wouldn't graduate college saddled with debt?

From what I understand, FAFSA is strictly to determine whether you're eligible for either federal aid or federal loans. We're strictly middle class so I seriously doubt we'd receive any aid (and like I said, we don't need a loan), but I don't want to turn down any available scholarships or incentives based on filling out the FAFSA (a couple of colleges offered some $$$ off yearly book expense with a completed FAFSA).

Basically I don't want to be that 'chump' that pays the full amount for the same product as others get the break. Am I looking at this correctly?
About 8 years back we visited the choices our daughter was interested in and spoke with a person we got to know in admissions at each college. In most every case the FAFSA was a requirement to get any aid, scholarships, grants and/or loans at the places we went. They included scholarships for grades, location specific grants, athletic scholarships, leader scholarships as well as others. At the location she selected the total of grants/scholarships added up to about $18K per year and the no interest loans (until graduation) were much less. So about $75K over 4 years but she was required to maintain a 3.2 in order to receive all of them.

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GoldStar
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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by GoldStar » Fri Dec 28, 2018 10:02 am

Clever_Username wrote:
Fri Dec 28, 2018 9:53 am

Also, I suspect the people who see your info at FAFSA would have access to it if they really want it anyway, even if you don't fill it out.
They might (if they tried and broke a few laws) - but all the schools they send all your data to would not.

arf1410
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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by arf1410 » Fri Dec 28, 2018 10:12 am

We needed to do one for my son to get a job in an on campus research lab.

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munemaker
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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by munemaker » Fri Dec 28, 2018 10:16 am

Do a search. This question has been answered and debated many times in the past.

For us, the answer was no. It was not worth filling out and giving up our personal information. We were reluctant to do so but did under advice of friends. "You might be surprised," they said. We weren't. Regretted doing it once for the first child and never did again.

There are some web sites where you can do a trial run and see if you qualify. We were not even close.

We paid cash on the barrel. Full price. No subsidies. No help. We did receive a small benefit on the tax return though.
Last edited by munemaker on Fri Dec 28, 2018 10:22 am, edited 2 times in total.

pindevil
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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by pindevil » Fri Dec 28, 2018 10:18 am

I had a friend in college that received a grant covering all tuition and even money toward housing. Since the grant was paying for everything he eventually took the money his father saved for tuition and bought a new house. I'm not sure exactly how much cash daddy had given him for college but after paying 400k for a house he still had money left to burn on a new car.
I guess my point is you never know what kind assistance you can get unless you try.

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munemaker
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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by munemaker » Fri Dec 28, 2018 10:21 am

pindevil wrote:
Fri Dec 28, 2018 10:18 am
I had a friend in college that received a grant covering all tuition and even money toward housing. Since the grant was paying for everything he eventually took the money his father saved for tuition and bought a new house. I'm not sure exactly how much cash daddy had given him for college but after paying 400k for a house he still had money left to burn on a new car.
I guess my point is you never know what kind assistance you can get unless you try.
Your friend's father must have been a lot better at financial planning and managing his money than we are! No idea how he could pull that off.

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LiveSimple
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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by LiveSimple » Fri Dec 28, 2018 10:22 am

arf1410 wrote:
Fri Dec 28, 2018 10:12 am
We needed to do one for my son to get a job in an on campus research lab.
Heard this one, but in our case the less privileged students got the job based in FAFSA.

SimonJester
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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by SimonJester » Fri Dec 28, 2018 10:22 am

Its a pain but many of the merit based scholarships require it just to apply for them as well. Once the FAFSA is accepted it will generate a SAR report which some of the scholarships wanted a copy of when applying :(

Also your son will be the one filling it out asking your for that personal financial information so just be prepared to discuss that with your son. Also the IRS Data retrieval tool is a great time saver, it did not work for me in 2018s FAFSA but it did for the 2019 one.

I declined our Son's financial aid offer which was of course a very large parent plus loan. No thanks!
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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Fri Dec 28, 2018 10:42 am

It really depends on the college. When my son was looking to transfer from his mediocre engineering college to a top one, he included Boston University as a better, but fallback option. He was accepted with $13k in some random scholarships. They both seemed to be named after dorms on campus. Our EFC was $93k and although BU is expensive, it's not that expensive. We did do the FAFSA. I have no idea if they used our FAFSA or not. Some colleges use the numbers directly and not the EFC. For many private colleges, they require FAFSA, paid CSS and even a separate college generated application for aid. Where my son ended up, the college form seemed to know all the tricks. "Does anyone have a 529 plan with the student named as a beneficiary?". "Will anyone other than the student or parent pay any part of the student's expenses?". They're filling in the holes that FAFSA doesn't presently catch for grandparent 529s that will be used in later years or for grandparent checks written directly to the college to go around the max unreported annual gift requirement. Both of these are actually easily circumvented.....name another younger child in the 529 and change the beneficiary as the older one is past the FAFSA reporting......and use a bank check to pay the tuition (the college will be unable to trace who wrote the check beyond the bank).
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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by workerbeeengineer » Fri Dec 28, 2018 11:17 am

In our case, we knew our (parents) income and assets were too high to qualify for need based aid. Filled in the FAFSA anyways since DD was applying to both relatively affordable University of California campuses, but also some higher priced privates as well. Two of the three privates also required the even more invasive CSS. Like others here, we gulped hard at providing our financial data. If DD was only applying to the UCs, we might have declined to fill out the FAFSA. DD did receive merit scholarship offers from the two privates that accepted her, so guess that somewhat justifies doing the FAFSA. BTW, one of the two privates that accepted her and offered merit aid was the one that did NOT require the CSS. In the end, DD went with her first choice, which was one of the UC campuses. Zero financial aid at UC except the ability for the student to take out student loan and parents (DW & I) take out parents PLUS loan. We declined both loan offers as we have 529 funds and other assets available, plus cash flow. But we did just submit FAFSA again for 2019-2020 school year. We did that mostly for risk mitigation. Having FAFSA on file supposedly enables appeal to the school for aid if life circumstances change (i.e.job loss, death of parent!, etc.). While my job is fairly secure, layoff (of an admittedly old worker) is always a possibility. Also might have DW take up offer of minimal student loan in senior year just to help establish credit record through prompt repayment. However, after reading multiple horror stories on now privatized Sallie Mae and other outfits misleading borrowers on repayment options, I'm not sure I want to subject DD to anything like that.

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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Fri Dec 28, 2018 11:33 am

It's up to you. If you are willing to do the research you can answer the question yourself. If you are not, no one on this forum can help you.

It depends on the specifics of your finances, and which schools your kids apply to, and how desirable they are as applicants.

If the schools that your kids apply to offer generous financial aid to people with your level of resources, filling out the FAFSA is probably worth it. You can find that out by using the Net Price Calculator tool on the college web sites.

If the schools that your kids apply to make any of their merit aid/grants contingent on filling out the FAFSA, it is probably worth it. You can find that out by looking at the college web sites, it will be clearly stated.

We were able to look at websites of the colleges our kids applied to and decide against it. You may have different results.

DIFAR31
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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by DIFAR31 » Fri Dec 28, 2018 11:48 am

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Fri Dec 28, 2018 10:42 am
Where my son ended up, the college form seemed to know all the tricks. "Does anyone have a 529 plan with the student named as a beneficiary?".
Someone (relative, family friend, etc.) may own a 529 that names your son as the beneficiary and you and your son were never informed. So, "I don't know" is a perfectly reasonable answer to this question.

"Will anyone other than the student or parent pay any part of the student's expenses?". They're filling in the holes that FAFSA doesn't presently catch for grandparent 529s that will be used in later years or for grandparent checks written directly to the college to go around the max unreported annual gift requirement. Both of these are actually easily circumvented.....name another younger child in the 529 and change the beneficiary as the older one is past the FAFSA reporting......and use a bank check to pay the tuition (the college will be unable to trace who wrote the check beyond the bank).
Sure, but once these payments are made for the benefit of the student, they must be reported as untaxed income to the student.

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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by shawndoggy » Fri Dec 28, 2018 11:59 am

I'd suggest doing a FAFSA calculator (https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa/estimate) to see what your EFC is (ballpark). If the EFC exceeds the true cost of attendance at university of choice, you have a pretty good idea that you won't be getting any aid and that that FAFSA will be a waste of time.

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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by DIFAR31 » Fri Dec 28, 2018 12:03 pm

shawndoggy wrote:
Fri Dec 28, 2018 11:59 am
I'd suggest doing a FAFSA calculator (https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa/estimate) to see what your EFC is (ballpark). If the EFC exceeds the true cost of attendance at university of choice, you have a pretty good idea that you won't be getting any aid and that that FAFSA will be a waste of time.
There are plenty of situations where completing FAFSA can be a benefit, regardless of what the FAFSA EFC is.

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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by jharkin » Fri Dec 28, 2018 12:11 pm

munemaker wrote:
Fri Dec 28, 2018 10:21 am
pindevil wrote:
Fri Dec 28, 2018 10:18 am
I had a friend in college that received a grant covering all tuition and even money toward housing. Since the grant was paying for everything he eventually took the money his father saved for tuition and bought a new house. I'm not sure exactly how much cash daddy had given him for college but after paying 400k for a house he still had money left to burn on a new car.
I guess my point is you never know what kind assistance you can get unless you try.
Your friend's father must have been a lot better at financial planning and managing his money than we are! No idea how he could pull that off.
Not better at financial planning per say... but definitely better at hiding assets.


As somebody who got FAFSA aid that covered well over 50% of my education though scholarships and most of the rest in subsidized loans - because my parents where dirt poor - this angers me to no end.

And to those who dont want to give away financial info I'm curious. Have there been confirmed reports of universities actually using this information for nefarious purposes?

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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by kacang » Fri Dec 28, 2018 12:12 pm

DIFAR31 wrote:
Fri Dec 28, 2018 12:03 pm
There are plenty of situations where completing FAFSA can be a benefit, regardless of what the FAFSA EFC is.
This. We did it last night for Georgia Tech which requires FAFSA, CSS and their own application for merit-based scholarships. FAFSA is annoying but CSS is more invasive.

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teen persuasion
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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by teen persuasion » Fri Dec 28, 2018 12:13 pm

shawndoggy wrote:
Fri Dec 28, 2018 11:59 am
I'd suggest doing a FAFSA calculator (https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa/estimate) to see what your EFC is (ballpark). If the EFC exceeds the true cost of attendance at university of choice, you have a pretty good idea that you won't be getting any aid and that that FAFSA will be a waste of time.
Was curious how accurate it was vs the FAFSA formulas, and what information it asked for. It's glitchy - I couldn't get past the birth date field. For some reason it entered blank characters instead of the numerals I entered (though numerals displayed correctly in the income earned field below it).

OP could just do it by hand with the EFC calculation: https://ifap.ed.gov/efcformulaguide/ ... Guide.pdf
No need to enter your income/asset/personal information into a random website, either.

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munemaker
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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by munemaker » Fri Dec 28, 2018 12:16 pm

jharkin wrote:
Fri Dec 28, 2018 12:11 pm
Not better at financial planning per say... but definitely better at hiding assets.
If "hiding assets" is done legally, then it IS part of financial planning.
Last edited by munemaker on Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Fri Dec 28, 2018 12:44 pm

jharkin wrote:
Fri Dec 28, 2018 12:11 pm
munemaker wrote:
Fri Dec 28, 2018 10:21 am
pindevil wrote:
Fri Dec 28, 2018 10:18 am
I had a friend in college that received a grant covering all tuition and even money toward housing. Since the grant was paying for everything he eventually took the money his father saved for tuition and bought a new house. I'm not sure exactly how much cash daddy had given him for college but after paying 400k for a house he still had money left to burn on a new car.
I guess my point is you never know what kind assistance you can get unless you try.
Your friend's father must have been a lot better at financial planning and managing his money than we are! No idea how he could pull that off.
Not better at financial planning per say... but definitely better at hiding assets.
As somebody who got FAFSA aid that covered well over 50% of my education though scholarships and most of the rest in subsidized loans - because my parents where dirt poor - this angers me to no end.
And to those who dont want to give away financial info I'm curious. Have there been confirmed reports of universities actually using this information for nefarious purposes?
I agree with you, those kinds of things anger me too. OTOH, perhaps pindevil didn’t know the details, and perhaps those were merit based awards, in which case, it’s not only legal but ethical.

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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by 123 » Fri Dec 28, 2018 12:55 pm

Even though you expect no aid it can be beneficial to fill it out. Sometimes on-campus employment, which can be academically desireable and not need-based, requires a FAFSA filing due to the way the college/university payroll system is integrated into things. In a way its similar to the use of the SallieMae student loan system by many (often public) colleges and universities to handle tuition billing and payments. Even though your student is not receiving any financial loans from SallieMae your tuition billing and payments may be funneled through their system.

I'm all for personal privacy and non-disclousre of financial information but the colleges and universities often seem to be largely driven by the FAFSA and SallieMae systems (there may be others) so don't be surprised.
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DaftInvestor
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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by DaftInvestor » Fri Dec 28, 2018 3:28 pm

I wasted time filling it out for child #1. The college then assumed we wanted the unsubsidized loan and kept sending paperwork and such for it. They wanted us to sign something to NOT get it. Every college for child #2 that asked for FAFSA back down when I asked why (and child #2 got sizable merit scholarship packages from 2 different universities without it).
It is a waste of time in most cases but you should simply verify with the schools applying to.

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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by multiham » Fri Dec 28, 2018 3:37 pm

I took me about 1.5 hours to complete for the first time this year. Did the link to the IRS so that a good chunk of the financial information would be provided by IRS. Knew that we would not qualify for Financial Aid, but one of the college's my son applied to required it for a merit based scholarship. As others have said, check with the relevant colleges to see if they require for scholarships.

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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by MathWizard » Fri Dec 28, 2018 3:49 pm

I filled it out every year. One of my kids could get subsidized loans. The other
had a substantial scholarship and did not need it.

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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by goodenyou » Sun Dec 30, 2018 6:19 pm

I didn't. I didn't need to be told that my EFC was far in excess of the cost of attendance. I just cut the check(s). I have watched my peers that make a lot of money, and spend most of it, scramble when it came time to pay for college costs. If you make a lot of money (by FAFSA standards), be prepared to have colleges tell you that you can afford >$70k+/year. Making a lot of money and having enough excessive cash flow to fund college or colleges (multiple kids less than 4 years apart) are very different.
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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by prairieman » Sun Dec 30, 2018 6:39 pm

I don’t know why a truly middle class parent would not fill out the forms. There is no way I could have paid full price for my kids’ college expenses: one went out-of-state and the other went to an expensive private college. Moreover, our kids were close in age which cut our EFC per kid in half in years they overlapped. Our kids were very good students and so the colleges worked with us to arrange funding such that we only paid our EFC. One kid graduated with no debt, the other with only $25K in student loans.

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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by HIinvestor » Sun Dec 30, 2018 6:44 pm

Some Us (which S refused to apply to) required students to complete FAFSA (& other FAid forms) to be considered for MERIT aid. He decided to only apply to Us who would give merit aid based on his test scores, grades and ECs with NO financial info of any kind from us or him. He got several generous offers of merit awards from 3 Us-->1/2 tuition to full-ride. We never provided any financial information. One of my relatives DID provide financial information as she had 3 kids in college--1 as a freshman in a private OOS U and one as a grad student and one as a law student. Her freshman got offered WorkStudy. Didn't hear whether either of her other kids got any post-grad aid but suspect only loans were offered. I believe she opted for a home equity loan instead.

We were and are very skittish about providing financial info except to those who strictly NEED to know (eg our CPA). We are weary of all the "leaks" of sensitive data that seem to be a regular occurrence. :oops: :moneybag

Also, when we had applied for FAid for our kids to attend their private HS and had less income, we were given a number that exceeded the Cost of Attendance at that private HS, so we figured there was no point in even trying to request any FAid. Others have been happily surprised to find they do qualify for some FAid--run the Net Price Calculator for each of the Us your student is applying to as a start. If you want federal undergrad loans, you must complete the FAFSA.

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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by SurfCityBill » Mon Dec 31, 2018 1:40 pm

Can't speak to anyone else's circumstances, but in our case we have one student at an in-state public university and one at an out of state public university. Never filled out a FAFSA and it has not affected merit scholarships or negatively affected us at all.

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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by silkuk » Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:00 pm

Our junior college wanted our daughter in their drama program, and offered her a scholarship, but to get it, we'd have to fill out the FAFSA. We told them we were positive she would qualify for 0 assistance based upon need. But just in case they decided to award it to her (but not based on need, just that they wanted her in their program) we filled it out. Of course it came back with 0 financial need. The worst part was they told us the FAFSA was now a part of her records and she had the legal right to see it if she wanted. Very upsetting, she had no idea of our net worth. Not to mention other people in the office who might have known us and could look at it. In the end she didn't take the scholarship because she calculated that she could earn the amount of the scholarship, and more, by working the same hours she would have been required to put in the drama program.

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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by DIFAR31 » Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:16 pm

silkuk wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:00 pm
The worst part was they told us the FAFSA was now a part of her records and she had the legal right to see it if she wanted.
The FAFSA is the student's document, not the parents'. The student has to sign the FAFSA under penalty of law, certifying that all information on the document is complete and true. Thinking that parent financial information on the FAFSA should be shielded from the student is naïve.

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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by Bronco Billy » Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:22 pm

DIFAR31 wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:16 pm
silkuk wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:00 pm
The worst part was they told us the FAFSA was now a part of her records and she had the legal right to see it if she wanted.
The FAFSA is the student's document, not the parents'.
Not sure i agree with you on this. If its the student document, they why do they need all the parents information?

RetiredCSProf
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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by RetiredCSProf » Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:26 pm

The FAFSA is needed for students to be eligible for on-campus work-study programs, even if they do not qualify for need-based scholarship.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:33 pm

RetiredCSProf wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:26 pm
The FAFSA is needed for students to be eligible for on-campus work-study programs, even if they do not qualify for need-based scholarship.
It might reflect my not understanding specifically how on-campus work-study differs from on-campus work, but I’m not sure that is always true. My kids worked during summers for the university and TAed during the school year without a FAFSA.

ETA: never mind, I looked it up.
Work-study is a federally and sometimes state-funded program that helps college students with financial need get part-time jobs. ... You have to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be eligible.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

OnTrack2020
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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by OnTrack2020 » Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:39 pm

silkuk wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:00 pm
Our junior college wanted our daughter in their drama program, and offered her a scholarship, but to get it, we'd have to fill out the FAFSA. We told them we were positive she would qualify for 0 assistance based upon need. But just in case they decided to award it to her (but not based on need, just that they wanted her in their program) we filled it out. Of course it came back with 0 financial need. The worst part was they told us the FAFSA was now a part of her records and she had the legal right to see it if she wanted. Very upsetting, she had no idea of our net worth. Not to mention other people in the office who might have known us and could look at it. In the end she didn't take the scholarship because she calculated that she could earn the amount of the scholarship, and more, by working the same hours she would have been required to put in the drama program.
FAFSA does not require value of home or 401ks, IRAs, or any other retirement accounts, so it really doesn't paint a good picture of someone's actual net worth.

Nutmeg
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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by Nutmeg » Thu Jan 03, 2019 6:37 pm

My children were eligible for merit aid but not financial aid. They didn’t complete any merit aid applications that required financial information to be provided, and we did not complete FAFSA. I did not want to provide any financial information because of privacy concerns, and I knew that they would not be eligible for financial aid.

In my view, a merit scholarship that requires financial information is not truly a merit scholarship.

After extensive research on my part, I determined that the time, effort, and loss of privacy as a result of completing financial aid forms (or merit aid forms that also asked for financial information) would not justify the remote possibility of some benefit accruing to my children.

DIFAR31
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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by DIFAR31 » Thu Jan 03, 2019 6:50 pm

Bronco Billy wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:22 pm
Not sure i agree with you on this. If its the student document, they why do they need all the parents information?
It's the student applying for financial aid for the student's benefit. The parents are not going to college and are not applying for financial aid. FAFSA is used to determine eligibility for federal, and in some cases state, need-based aid. Need is determined by looking at the overall financial situation of the student and the custodial parent or parents. For need-based aid determined through FAFSA, the student and the custodial parent(s) are expected to contribute to higher education expenses. That's why parent financial information is needed.

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beyou
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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by beyou » Thu Jan 03, 2019 9:13 pm

2 kids finishing college now.
I knew no finaid was possible, there are many ways to find out if you are “in the ballpark”.

Merit at private schools was offered with no fafsa (nor css).

Merit at public schools mostly did not require fafsa, except one school wanted it for their “merit” scholarship. Apparently if you are eligible for finaid, they wanted you to at least get govt funded grants to offset their “merit” scholarship. But most publics did not have this policy, just 2 of many my kids applied to.

Bronco Billy
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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by Bronco Billy » Thu Jan 03, 2019 10:19 pm

OnTrack2020 wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:39 pm

FAFSA does not require value of home or 401ks, IRAs, or any other retirement accounts, so it really doesn't paint a good picture of someone's actual net worth.
Can you tell me where you read that you dont have to include 401 IRA and ect? You maybe correct but that was not how i remember the question. If you are correct my daughter got screw. We included everything.

Bronco Billy
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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by Bronco Billy » Thu Jan 03, 2019 10:21 pm

Bronco Billy wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 10:19 pm
OnTrack2020 wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:39 pm

FAFSA does not require value of home or 401ks, IRAs, or any other retirement accounts, so it really doesn't paint a good picture of someone's actual net worth.
Can you tell me where you read that you dont have to include 401 IRA and ect? You maybe correct but that was not how i remember the question. If you are correct my daughter got screw. We included everything including last years taxes.

mnnice
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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by mnnice » Thu Jan 03, 2019 10:37 pm

Bronco Billy wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 10:21 pm
Bronco Billy wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 10:19 pm
OnTrack2020 wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:39 pm

FAFSA does not require value of home or 401ks, IRAs, or any other retirement accounts, so it really doesn't paint a good picture of someone's actual net worth.
Can you tell me where you read that you dont have to include 401 IRA and ect? You maybe correct but that was not how i remember the question. If you are correct my daughter got screw. We included everything including last years taxes.
You don’t have to include retirement funds

https://www.nitrocollege.com/fafsa-guid ... nvestments

DIFAR31
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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by DIFAR31 » Thu Jan 03, 2019 11:10 pm

Bronco Billy wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 10:19 pm
Can you tell me where you read that you dont have to include 401 IRA and ect? You maybe correct but that was not how i remember the question. If you are correct my daughter got screw. We included everything.
From the FAFSA instructions (see pg. 9 of the current FAFSA):

Investments do not include the home you live in, the value of life insurance, retirement plans (401[k] plans, pension funds, annuities, noneducation
IRAs, Keogh plans, etc.) or cash, savings and checking accounts already reported in questions 41 and 90.


https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/sites/defa ... -fafsa.pdf

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William Million
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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by William Million » Fri Jan 04, 2019 5:10 am

Zero tuition at Calif community colleges for 1st time freshmen is one of the best deals around, but you have to fill out FAFSA. You get it regardless of income, and courses transferable to UC/CSA systems and most other colleges.

Ready3Retire
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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by Ready3Retire » Fri Jan 04, 2019 6:50 am

I hope to find out in a few months. My youngest - junior in an in-state university is planning to do a study abroad program this summer. I encouraged him to apply for merit scholarships (has a 3.5 gpa) to defray the cost of the program. At both the freshman college parent orientations my wife and I attended, during the study abroad pitch, we heard that study abroad can be cost neutral as there are many scholarships available - and many go unawarded. We'll see if this is true. My son applied to 10 merit scholarships :shock: . Most scholarships required the FAFSA. My son filled out the student portion, and I filled out the parent portion of the FAFSA. I previously filled out the FAFSA prior to his freshman year and it came back as eligible only for loans. I agree 401K and home value were not required. I'll try to report back in a few months...

Bronco Billy
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Re: FAFSA - is it worth filling out?

Post by Bronco Billy » Fri Jan 04, 2019 7:38 am

DIFAR31 wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 11:10 pm
Bronco Billy wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 10:19 pm
Can you tell me where you read that you dont have to include 401 IRA and ect? You maybe correct but that was not how i remember the question. If you are correct my daughter got screw. We included everything.
From the FAFSA instructions (see pg. 9 of the current FAFSA):

Investments do not include the home you live in, the value of life insurance, retirement plans (401[k] plans, pension funds, annuities, noneducation
IRAs, Keogh plans, etc.) or cash, savings and checking accounts already reported in questions 41 and 90.


https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/sites/defa ... -fafsa.pdf
Thanks, You are correct. It seems its my fault for not checking notes on Page 9 but why would you put those notes under the question 91.

91. As of today, what is the net worth of your parents’ investments, including real estate?

To be honest i was not very happy having to fill it. (no way she would qualify) But she was told it was required to get any help or work at school. I am not sure it would be worth anything to go back and correct it.

After your FAFSA has been processed, go to FAFSA on the Web at fafsa.gov,
log in to the site, and follow the instructions for correcting your FAFSA.
Last edited by Bronco Billy on Fri Jan 04, 2019 7:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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