Why You need to Complete the FAFSA Even if You Don’t Apply for Financial Aid

The 2019 FAFSA becomes available on October 1, 2018 and should be FAFSAcompleted as soon as possible after that date. You can find it at www.FAFSA.gov Even if you do not plan to apply for financial aid, you should file a FAFSA because there are some merit scholarships that you cannot get unless there is a FAFSA on file.  (I know! That is ridiculous but it is fact.)

I came across this tutorial and it may be helpful to you:

https://www.finaid.ucsb.edu/Media/FAFSASimplification/index.html 

Here are some additional tips from a colleague, Jeff Levy, of the California-based Personal College Admissions:

  • About 250 colleges and universities also require you to submit the CSS/PROFILE. This can be accessed and submitted at https://cssprofile.collegeboard.org/beginning October 1, 2018.
  • The deadline to submit these forms varies college to college. Check each college’s website or financial aid office to find out the final deadline for each. Missing these deadlines will seriously impact your child’s eligibility for financial aid.
  • A growing number of colleges now have a November 1 or November 15 financial aid deadline for Early Decision and Early Action applicants.

How to get started with the FAFSA:

  • The FAFSA belongs to the student, although many parents complete this FAFSAform on their child’s behalf. To begin the FAFSA, the student must create their own FSA ID (Federal Student Aid identification number). This ID is like an electronic fingerprint, and each person wanting to access a student’s FAFSA will need their own. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to do this:
  • ttps://ifap.ed.gov/eannouncements/attachments/050415FSAIDReplaceHowToCreateFSAIDGuideATTACH.pdf
  • Parents wanting to complete the FAFSA on their child’s behalf will need their own FSA ID.

 Who should file the FAFSA and/or the CSS/PROFILE:

  • Anyone wanting to receive need-based aid who believes they might qualify
  • Anyone who thinks they may require financial aid at any point during their child’s undergraduate career. Many colleges will not consider a financial aid application from a current student admitted as a full-pay freshman if they did not submit the FAFSA
  • Anyone who expects to have two or more children in college at the same time, which significantly lowers the threshold for need-based eligibility
  • Anyone applying for merit aid at institutions that require either the FAFSA or PROFILE for consideration for such awards

If you have any questions about whether or not you should file, please contact me directly during the next few weeks: [email protected] or 803-285-1920.

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