Archive for February, 2013

Your Time is Running Out to File Your FAFSA

Monday, February 18th, 2013

This post is for those who are waiting to complete their 2012 taxes before they file their senior’s FAFSA for the 2013-2014 school year. I know that the website for FAFSA tells you that you have until June 30th to file but the truth is that most of the aid money available will be gone by March 1, 2013. The schools work on a first come first serve basis and over the last 5 years students are filing sooner because of this. Please look at the website for the schools that you are sending the FAFSA to and note if they have a priority date for filing the financial aid paperwork. Your best opportunity for aid is during this filing period.

The FAFSA provides for estimating your taxes and will ask that you correct the final numbers when you do complete your 2012 taxes at a later date. When you file please note that the SAR (Student Aid Report) is issued by FAFSA usually within 24 hours of submitting, they will tell you then if you are required to submit documentation called verification. This is not like a IRS audit, they are required to ask for this documentation and check that it matches the submitted FAFSA. Remember that this is a federal form and you do not want to submit with fraudulent information, this is how they check for misinformation. The school will send you the request for the specific documentation they are looking for via email and tell you how to submit it to them. You will also want to check each school’s website to make sure that you send all required paperwork and forms that the school requires.

This is a stressful period since the state schools are sending out their acceptance notices in February with the private schools following by March if not sooner. I know that every student has that one school that they really want to get into but, if you are told by that school you are wait listed, the odds of receiving financial aid from that school are not good. What will happen is that by the time that school does accept you all their financial aid will be gone even if you were perfectly on time with the FAFSA and any aid paperwork. Make sure you are working with your second choice school and keep your options open before your final decision on May 1st, 2013

File your FAFSA as soon as possible each year and make sure all paperwork is complete. This is one key to receiving the financial aid available to your student. You should see your award letters from private schools before the end of March, they have been sending them sooner over the last few years. The state schools have still been sending the final award letters by the middle of April. In case you do not see your award letter from a school during these months you need to get on the phone and check that they have your financial aid information. Mistakes do happen and you do not want to let someone else’s mistake effect your future in college.