We know how important your involvement is in your child's education - we also know how difficult it can be to stay on top of all of the important steps in planning and preparing for college.  

Below you'll find this month's content - LEARN (info to know), DO (action to take), and TIPS (insights for success)


The Free Application for Federal Student AId (FAFSA): Truths & Myths

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, otherwise known as the FAFSA, is the online form that your family will file with the US Department of Treasury, the largest collegiate monetary provider, annually for each year that your student is going to be in college. You will file the FAFSA for the first time in the fall of the year prior to the first year of college (approximately 12 months prior to the start of college).

The FAFSA’s purpose is to help determine your family’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which determines your household’s eligibility for need-based financial aid.

In addition to asking about the student’s financial information, it will also ask about family size, how many students are currently in college, the student’s age, demographic information, and, if the student is a dependent, the form will require parental information as well.

Many people think that if a student is deemed an “independent student” that they will go to college for free.  That is not true.  And the distinction of independent student is strict.  You can find the official information here: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa/filling-out/dependency

Parents regularly state that they “make too much money to get anything from the government.”  This, too, is very often untrue.  With the rising costs of colleges, even the most financially comfortable families can find that they are allowed some financial assistance.  

Additionally, the FAFSA can be like an insurance policy: if your family states Income A in the fall, and then an employment catastrophe happens and your family is left without the proper resources to fulfill the financial obligation to the college, the FAFSA will show this and you can receive emergency aid.  Without the FAFSA, there is no way to account for your family’s situation.

It's easiest to fill out the application online at www.FAFSA.ed.gov.  Not only is this the fastest way to get a result, it also stores your information, making the next year’s re-filing much easier and faster, too.  However, if you don’t have access to a computer, paper copies can be requested by calling 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).

The materials you will need to file the FAFSA can be found on the FAFSA Checklist at this link: www.studentaid.ed.gov/sites/default/files/info-for-fafsa.pdf

If you have questions about the FAFSA, seek answers from the website www.FAFSA.ed.gov or from a licensed college financial planner or accountant.  Additionally, you can see the FAFSA for First Time Users guide at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/resources#complete



The FAFSA 4Caster

You’ll most likely be completing the FAFSA in the upcoming fall.  But for now, you can get a sense of your family’s expected contribution.  

Go to the FAFSA.ed.gov website and scroll to the bottom of the homepage to find the FAFSA 4caster.  This will help you estimate your family’s EFC before you ever touch the FAFSA form. The website will also answer any questions you have about the process, the form, and can help you get in touch with a knowledgeable professional from their team of experts.  

TIP #1

Summer School - A summer class is a great way to stay sharp during those months off of school.  They typically last 3-6 weeks during the morning and may even be offered online.  Colleges will love to see that extra initiative on the application!

TIP #2 

Starting a career with a summer job!  A summer job isn’t just for the extra cash.  Summer jobs build important skills that will help your teenager be successful in college – responsibility, dependability, time management, collaboration…to name a few.

Think about looking for a job that is connected to a potential career interest – your son or daughter can start to build valuable connections for networking down the road!

myOWNEDU for Schools!

We work with schools to bring college planning courses to students and offer free College Planning Presentations for parents.  Learn more by clicking here.