Currently having one daughter in college,, NCSU, and another one heading to college,,Appalachian State, I have filled out the FAFSA, Financial Student Aid form way too many times. And, it looks like that trend will continue for another 4 yrs or so.
So i have figured out the hard way some tip and tricks to the FAFSA form.
1.) Fill that sucker, FAFSA, out early. I start in mid January. We try to get income taxes filled out and filed ONLINE by late feb to first part of march. (you can estimate income or use AGI from last year)
2.) Coming up this year, 2017, the FAFSA will be available earlier, You can start the process of the application in Oct for the next year. That is great.
3.) If your kid (s) works and get a W2 be sure to do their taxes ONLINE and if any money is owed PAY it with credit card. We got tripped up on that carp this year as FAFSA uses the “IRS retrieval tool” to verify your income tax number are correct.
4.) If you do a paper 1040 form you will NOT be able to use IRS retrieval tool till at least june at best and that is not good for financial aid, why….
5.) If you live in NC especially, and your income is below 75K AGI you may qualify for NC Education lottery money. Now this is a pot of money, so to speak ,and they reach in and grab a handful and start putting it on your plate, and the next guy/gal get some, and the next and so on and so forth. This continues until the pot is empty and then they stop. (this is a very simply way to look at this wonderful benefit from NC, but you get the jist. )
6.) There are other grants, scholarships, assistance funds and then you get into the loans. Loans come in several flavors. Federal subsidized, unsubsidized loans, the ole Perkins Loan and a parent loan..Yes now you the parents can go in debt, dumb idea, for your kids school cost.
7.) The subsidized loans means you are not charged interest on the money till 6 months after you graduate, but that time flies by quick.
8.) The unsubsidized loans create interest from the first month of usage. My daughter had a nice summer intern job and was able to pay off almost $1200 in unsubsidized loans her jr summer.
9.) The Perkins loan does have some neat features like loan forgiveness for wide range of options. check out Wikipedia and search “Perkins Loan” to see more.
10.) You can get a bunch of money from loans and all the rest but remember you have to PAY it back at some point. Its not real smart to go to college for 4 yrs, get a degree in Art or some other low pay area, take all the money that is available and have a $300 dollar a month payment just to pay back loans.
11.) Work part time and go to school. Try to be debt FREE at graduation or have less and 13K in loans. Your life will be much more stress free for sure.
So there you have it some tips for FAFSA form from the US Government. Now go have a beer and prepare for battle..:)
(this is not to be considered an authoritative guide to FAFSA, just my comments and some thing I have learned. Use at your own risk. ) peace out….