< Back To Article List

What do I need to know about submitting the FAFSA?

The FAFSA, which stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is the federal government’s financial aid application. Though the thought of completing it may inspire a collective groan from parents each year, this form is the prerequisite for many different types of federal and college financial aid, including loans, grants, scholarships, and work-study. So filling it out should be one of the first things on your list if your son or daughter will need some type of financial aid to attend college.

Even if you don’t think your child will qualify for aid, you should still consider submitting the FAFSA in two instances. The first is when you want your child to have some “skin in the game” by taking on a small loan. In this case, filing the FAFSA will make your child eligible for an unsubsidized Stafford Loan each year–up to $5,500 for freshmen, $6,500 for sophomores, and $7,500 for juniors and seniors. Unsubsidized Stafford Loans aren’t based on financial need and are available to any student attending college at least half-time.

The second situation for which you might file the FAFSA is when you want your child to be considered for college financial aid. Colleges generally require the FAFSA, along with the CSS Profile form, before they’ll determine whether your child is eligible for any college need-based grants and scholarships.

The FAFSA is available online at fafsa.ed.gov. A new sign-in method (as of May 2015) requires creating an FSA ID, which consists of a username and password. The FSA ID replaces the prior PIN sign-in method and is meant to be more secure.

The FAFSA should be filed as soon as possible after January 1 for both new and returning students because some aid programs operate on a first-come, first-served basis. Practically speaking, many families wait to submit the FAFSA until after they have completed their tax returns, but you don’t have to wait. The FAFSA can be submitted with estimated tax numbers and then updated later with final tax numbers by simply adding the final numbers manually or using the government’s online IRS Retrieval Tool. Regarding the filing timeline, look for a change on the horizon. Starting with the 2017/2018 school year, families will be able to file the FAFSA as early as October 2016 using their 2015 tax information.


Have questions?

We’re here to help. ┬áPlease fill out the form below and we will call you to discuss your needs.

Disclaimer of Liability Our firm provides the information in this newsletter, on its website, and related free information distributed via email for general guidance only, and it does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services, investment advice, or professional consulting of any kind. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional tax, accounting, legal, or other competent advisers. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a professional adviser who has been provided with all pertinent facts relevant to your particular situation.

Tax articles in this newsletter, on the Firm website, and those distributed through emails are not intended to be used, and cannot be used by any taxpayer, for the purpose of avoiding accuracy-related penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer. The information is provided “as is,” with no assurance or guarantee of completeness, accuracy, or timeliness of the information, and without warranty of any kind, express or implied, including but not limited to warranties of performance, merchantability, and fitness for a particular purpose

Although Hoyle, CPA, PLLC has made every reasonable effort to ensure that the information provided is accurate, Hoyle, CPA, PLLC, and its owner and staff, make no warranties, expressed or implied, on the information provided. The participant accepts the information as is and assumes all responsibility for the use of such information.

This communication is strictly intended for individuals residing in the state(s) of AL, AK, AZ, AR, AA, AE, AP, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, GU, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, PR, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VI, VA, WA, WV, WI and WY. No offers may be made or accepted from any resident outside the specific states referenced.

Prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. Copyright 2017.