A Parent’s Guide to the FAFSA: Student Financials
This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Vinay Bhaskara in a CollegeVine livestream. You can watch the full livestream for more info.
Filling out a student’s financials in FAFSA can be tedious, but there is a straightforward way to approach the FAFSA form. In this article, we will break down exactly what needs to be included under a student’s financials. For a more in-depth guide over the entire FAFSA application, check out our article: The Ultimate Guide to Filling Out the FAFSA.
Reporting Student Income
Any income a student has made from work needs to be included here. Even if you reported their income on your taxes, you still have to fill in that section with their earnings breakdown.
The same questions that the parents have to answer, the student has to fill out as well. If the student received child support, work earnings from an education program, or a work-study experience, all of this will need to be reported.
Overall, anything that is being reported on a student’s taxes will need to be included in their FAFSA information as well.
Why Does FAFSA Ask About Student’s Assets?
A student’s assets will also need to be reported in the FAFSA. This includes any retention, pension and retirement plans.
One thing to note is that a parent’s assets are assessed at 5%, but any assets under the student’s name are assessed at 20%. This can be tricky when it comes to leaving money in your kid’s checking or saving accounts. Be careful if any properties are in the student’s name because colleges are going to go after 20% of any asset under the student’s name.
Listing Colleges on FAFSA
Once you have reported all of the student’s income and assets, you will need to sign and submit the FAFSA application. As a reminder, once you submit your FAFSA, you can go back into the colleges you selected and delete some and then replace them with others. Your FAFSA account will only list 10 colleges at one time, so this will help if you are applying to more than 10 colleges.
Wondering How Much College Will Cost Your Family?
The actual cost of each college can vary significantly for the same family, and you can’t trust the sticker price to tell you your personal cost of attendance. After financial aid, expensive private colleges can actually be cheaper than in-state public schools for some families.
Want to estimate your cost of attendance? You can use each individual school’s net price calculator, or check out our free Financial Aid Calculator for an estimate at hundreds of schools in just 3 minutes.
Our free Chancing Engine will also tell you your chances of acceptance based on your grades, test scores, extracurriculars, and demographics. Use these free tools to improve your profile and plan for your college finances!