Live FAFSA Walkthrough

Recorded Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 10:00 PM

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About this livestream


Learn how to complete the FAFSA and apply for financial aid. Vinay Bhaskara will provide an in-depth, step-by-step walkthrough of how to complete the FAFSA. He'll discuss common mistakes to avoid, how various questions and fields are used, and much much more. He'll also open the floor for a Q&A session to field any and all questions about the FAFSA or financial aid.

Video Transcript


Cool. All right. Hello, everyone, and welcome to tonight's live stream. Before we get started, I do want to just do a quick audio and video check. And just make sure that everyone in the audience can hear me and see me. Okay, I once I get confirmation on audio and video, we're gonna go ahead and get started.


All right, awesome. It looks like everyone can hear me and see me. Okay, so we're going to go ahead and get started. I want to thank you all for attending today's live stream, which is going to be about the FAFSA or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. So the FAFSA is the primary financial aid form that you will be using in the college admissions process, and it's released every year in October, and then you're gonna have to submit it as you go through the admissions process with your schools. So the fact that is used by every college as a way of checking your eligibility for federal financial aid, and then it's also used by a lot of colleges to check your eligibility for institutional financial aid. So it's very important form. Basically, pretty much any public college in the country is almost exclusively going to use the FAFSA, there's about 300 private colleges that use the CSS Profile, which is offered offered by the College Board for their financial aid forms. But the vast majority of the colleges in the United States, the FAFSA is going to be your primary financial aid form. So we're actually going to take a look at pretty much everything you need to know about the FAFSA, basically, just starting with, you know, getting signed up and everything like that, and then going all the way through to completing the FAFSA form. So let's go ahead and get started really at the basics, which is, you know, signing up for your account. So first things first, you're going to access the [email protected]. This this URL, but basically, if you just Google FAFSA, it'll take you to it, make sure you're at link though, because there's a lot of websites that talk about the FAFSA, but don't actually host the FAFSA. So we're going to go ahead and get started with the signup process here. Alright, and we're just waiting for the signup process to come through. All right, and it looks like the student here is basically logging in. So we're going to log in, depending on your account. And now depending on who you are in the audience, you're either going to choose that you're the student, or that you are a parent prepare or a student from associate and see see, we're going to just choose the the the student side for simplicity. But the parent side is a complete different one, right. Now, if you're the parent, you're going to have to enter the following details. So we'll just use some, some basic ones here, enter these in. There's a fake social security number, by the way, I just put that in. And then we'll just add and data.


Okay, cool. So that's the kind of things that you need to enter from the parent side. And then, yeah, just David here, and we're gonna go ahead and get get moving.


All right. And I'm getting some feedback that the fastest screen is really, really blurred. Let me try and fix that for all of you. Just give me one second here to dig into that. Give me one second. I'm going to go ahead and dig into what's going on there. Okay. Okay.


Alright, sorry about that. Just give me one second to try. sharing my screen this way and seeing if that makes it any better.


All right, please let me know if this view is any clear, and it's easier to read the FAFSA.


All right, awesome. So it looks like everyone can see the FAFSA, Okay, at this point here, so we're going to go ahead and switch over to this view in order to be through the FAFSA. Okay, so first things first, the, you know, basically, we're gonna enter in here, and we're gonna start the 2021 2022 FAFSA, which is the FAFSA for the upcoming cycle. And then you're going to create a save key, just, you know, fake numbers and data here.


Looks like I'm having some trouble with this? Yeah. Okay, perfect.


All right. So we now have a save key entered. And there's some student information here, that allows you to get some more information about FAFSA. And then we'll go from there. Sorry, second, get that way. Okay, cool. And so you have information here that gives you some more help information about what's going on with the FAFSA. And one thing that's important to note is that you can, you don't have to complete the entire FAFSA in one sitting. In fact, you can actually save the application for up to 45 days, and then walk through it. You know, on your time like that. I'm just gonna make the screen a little bit bigger. So it's a little bit more visible.


All right, here we go.


All right. So let's kind of move forward into the actual FAFSA, everything a little bit bigger so that everyone has good visibility. All right.


So quick note, obviously, is it throughout when something says you or your that's going to refer to the student, whereas when it asks for the parents information, that's going to obviously refer to the parent. So this is the information that we entered previously, again, all fake, but just information and you basically need to have your social security number which you need to create an account, first name, middle initial last name, as well as the date of birth. This is the student demographics section. Next up in the student demographics section needs students email address, so it would be very quick. Re-enter that. And then also enter account a telephone number.


Then you'd share your parents or your permanent mailing address. And it's important here that if you like live at a boarding school or something like that, that you put them in the address, you want actual mail to be sent to me, including a mailed copy of your expected family contribution and your details from the FAFSA. So your current mailing address can be whatever just really depends on kind of what you want to put in. I'm just going to put it again a fake address.


Okay, again, just to make address there for simplicity's sake. Next up, they'll want to know your residency. So in this case, have you lived in Massachusetts for at least five years? I'll just say yes. For simplicity's sake say no. They'll want to know your state of legal residents. If that's still mass, that's fine. We also wanted to when you became a legal resident of Massachusetts, it similar to when you started high school. So you can kind of answer that truthfully and then you got to share what your citizenship statuses This is really critical, because I'm sure many of you in the audience are international students, you are eligible to use the FAFSA and apply for student aid if you are a, a US citizen, or be an eligible non citizen, and eligible non citizens are usually permanent residents, or depending on some sort of refugee status. That's the other, the other category of eligible non residents, and I'm just gonna zoom in a little bit more so that everyone's has visibility into what I'm looking at.


All right, so they'll ask if you are a US citizen. So you kind of answer that depending on your background. This case, I'm going to say yes, we're gonna move on here. Now, the next question is going to be when you begin College in 2021 22, what will be your high school status, so usually will be a high school diploma or maybe a GED if you're homeschooled something pretty similar, and then none of the above if you're not going to graduate from high school. So it's usually harder to go to college, if you haven't graduated from high school yet.

Then next up, so have a question about, you know, what college degree or should you be working towards, for most of you in the audience is going to be either your first bachelor's degree or your associate's degree, maybe a certificate or diploma, certainly not a college graduate, graduate or professional degree or a second bachelor's degree. It's really more so I think for most of the audience going to be your first bachelor's degree, that's your, your core, you know, going to a four year college for the first time degree. So you can kind of enter that there, then they'll ask if you have your bachelor's degree, obviously, no, will be your college grade level when you begin 2021 2020 school year. So this is a really important thing, actually, you you fill out the FAFSA each and every year that you apply to colleges. So for example, if you apply to colleges on one call colleges in your freshman year, sorry, you when you apply to colleges, you have to fill out the FAFSA, but then in your sophomore and junior year, when you're back on campus, you're still going to have to fill out the FAFSA again and again.

In fact, you fill out the FAFSA every single year that you're aiming for financial aid, either from the school or from the federal government or for both. So go here first year. And then the next question is are you interested in being considered for work study? Now the thing about work studies, and there's a whole site you can go to to learn more about work study. Basically, what work study is, is it's a job that you can get on campus that's administered by the university, and work study jobs allow you to make money that then goes to defray the cost of your tuition. It's considered financial aid that you're receiving work study. So you want to kind of keep that in mind. But basically, work study programs are just another way of getting extra financial aid. But unlike saying normal financially, you do have to put in some work against it. So it's a little bit tough. Alright, so next up is that, you know, you basically select whether or not you're interested being considered for work study, and then you move on from there. In general, I would say, if you feel like you really need the money work study is a good way to get some additional financial aid. But keep in mind that works that he's only going to be up to like four or $5,000 per year at the absolute maximum, and for most of you is going to be $2,000, or $1,000. So generally, I wouldn't recommend, I wouldn't recommend counting on work study, but it's a nice money to have you if you need it, I'd accept they're gonna ask your gender, and they only have male or female.

So this is going to be really actually more asking your biological sex. Um, so this is basically your sex assigned at birth. And then they don't really have gender identity on here so much, but that you're done. And then if you're male, they're gonna ask whether you're registered for the draft, you'll notice that if you're female, you don't have that. So it's only a question for men. But basically, are you registered with selective service system to get drafted, um, in order to so so then, you know, in order to typically receive financial aid, I do believe you have to be registered with the selective service system, right. And in general, if you want financial aid, and you're a male, you do have to be registered for the draft. In fact, stones been drafted since the 60s. So it's not going to really have that much of an impact on you. But if you're a male, you do have to do this. Otherwise, a lot of colleges will consider you ineligible for financial aid.


See that, that cool? Then they'll ask for your driver's license number. If you have one, as well as your driver's license state. That's totally up to you, if you want to fill that out. If you have one, though, you are required to fill it out. Then they want to know a little bit more about your background. So if you were a foster youth, right, they'll want to kind of know about that aspect. And they'll also want to know about your parents. Now, this is usually gonna be either your parents or your guardian, whoever's basically completing the FAFSA form and it's going to be the primary person funding your education. That is a parent or guardian, right. See college and beyond. High School completed by parent number two, depends, right? religious, okay. All right. Now, the next piece, so that's a student demographics section. The next section we're going to look at is the school so election, right? And so basically here, they're going to look at a few different components, right? So first of they're gonna ask for the name of your high school. In this case, we're just going to use a fake or a real high school in Massachusetts that you can kind of leverage. So we'll go ahead and add that in. And then they'll ask you to actually enter in your exact High School. So in this case, we have the Lexington High School. Okay. So then they'll ask for you to enter in the colleges that you are looking at. So if you know the college's FAFSA code, and so the different colleges actually have a FAFSA code. So for example, Yale has a FAFSA code of 001426. So if we enter Yale's fat, federal school code, or FAFSA code like this, you're able to find the school and add it in directly. If you want to add more schools, you can either enter them directly why their FAFSA code, which you can just look up via Google, it's super simple. So for example, Northeastern FAFSA code is 002199. So enter that in here, you hit search, and it's super, super easy to add schools to your FAFSA, to your FAFSA like that.


Then, next up, so Oops, sorry. So these are schools you've already added in here, and then you can add more schools. Now in general, your add, you're allowed to add up to 10 colleges at a time on your FAFSA. If you're applying to more than 10 colleges that are going to need the FAFSA, you need to make sure that you basically need to make sure that you submit the first 10 schools obviously when you submit your FAFSA, then once you receive your Student Aid Report, you can actually make that information available to more colleges, right. And so what you do is you basically go to make once you submit the FAFSA to the initial 10 schools, you you log into your FAFSA account, you hit make FAFSA correction, remove some of the colleges that are listed on there, add the additional school code, and then submit it again. So basically, you're going to submit your FAFSA, you're going to get a student aid report back in response, and then you're going to resubmit the FAFSA again.


So that's that.


Um, so yeah, those are schools, but then you can also search for colleges via their search functionality. So let's say we wanted to find UC Irvine, we didn't want to look up their their FAFSA code for some reason. So you go ahead and search for California schools in Irvine, and then we'll add the University of California, Irvine. Okay, then you can go back to your info on the college's stuff with that. And these are the three on our list. And we'll kind of move on earlier, like I said, obviously, you can add up to 10 schools, but you know, initially, and then for each of the schools, they do want to know what your housing plan is, because that affects how much aid you can expect to receive. schools where you're not going to be living on campus will then generally give you less aid, because obviously you won't have the cost of room and board. So now you've added schools to your list. Next up, they're going to look at the status. Now here critically, it is the status of the student, so whether the student is married or not. So for the vast majority of you, I'm sure it's going to be single, but you could be married, separated or divorced or widowed.


Now again, because the FAFSA is used by both like you know, high school students coming right out of high school as well as adult learners, they do have some questions about kind of more adult, you know, components. So for example, they want to know, if you have children, or you have children will have children who will receive more than half of your support. Basically, they want to know if you have any dependent children, for most of it's going to be no give any other dependents other than your children or spouse again, for most of you, it's going to be no. Now if there's any military vets or like people like that in the audience, it may be yes for all of you. But no, you don't have to necessarily calculate that in. Alright, then the next question is, the next questions are around some other additional student status components. And so here the colleges want to know, eight if you're currently serving on active duty in the US Armed Forces for purposes other than training, whether you're a veteran of the US military or any of the Armed Forces, whether you were in foster care or dependent or ward of the court. Were you an enhanced emancipated minor, and if someone other than your parent or stepparent has legal guardianship of you, the tribes determined by court in your state of legal residence. Now for a lot of you this is gonna be none of the above. The more common ones are gonna definitely be these three and then if some of you are ex military, those are going to be options as well. Now, the college's also do want to know if you were homeless or self, you know, self supporting or at risk of being homeless, right. And I do want to clarify that you shouldn't feel afraid to answer this Question, the colleges will not hold it against you. In fact, they want to know more about your situation, so that they can support you appropriately. So I would definitely say that you shouldn't be worried about answering this question. So I'm going to put no here. But you could also put Yes, it just really depends.


Okay. Now, I'm, at any time after July 1, basically, so after July 1 of this year, did you receive a determination from any of these entities listening that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless, self supporting or at risk of being homeless. And so this is even if you don't consider yourself to be those things? Or sorry, you know, who determined this basically right for you. So it could be your high school, school district director of a homeless youth center, Director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program, or any of the above. And so you can just pick which one applies to you. So, kind of circle back, and you'll see that that question disappears, if you mark No, for whether you were homeless, right? And so you'll notice that the FAFSA is smart. Basically, if you enter no or you enter something, that means that a question isn't relevant to you, it won't ask you to complete that question. Okay, based on the answers to the dependency status questions, you're considered dependent student means that you must provide parental information. Now, if you have a certain circumstance, and you can't provide information from your parents, you might be able to submit your FAFSA without it, you have to like I am unable to provide information about my parents. So we'll see what that looks like. And then we'll circle back to say that you can provide them great programs.


Now, one thing to keep in mind is that if you don't provide your parent information, you won't be able to get an EFC. And you might be limited in the types of financial aid that you can receive. So it's really going to be usually in your best interest, obviously, to provide information about your parents, and go from there. Alright, now, for those of you that are students in the audience, that's obviously something you have to look at. For those of you that are parents in the audience, this is where you're going to really, really take over. And so just keep in mind that when it refers to your parents, if you're the parent filling out this form, it really refers to you. So as of today, what is the marital status of your parents, basically, you know, you've never married, unmarried, remarried, or married or separated or widowed. And this is about your biological parents. So it's about where their status is right.


Now, if you have parents and step parents, that's obviously going to be something that comes into play when your parents or your parents are divorced or separated, right. Now, one thing to keep in mind with the FAFSA, is the FAFSA is looking for the information from your custodial parent. So let's say parents are divorced, they got divorced in November of 2007, just for argument's sake, okay. Now, when you select which parents information will be provided, you're going to be picking the parent who we spent the most time living with over the past year. Now, it's very critical that you understand, it's the parents who spent the most time living with over the past year, not necessarily part of the most financial information, not who you love the most. It's literally which parent you spent the most time living with over the past year, usually, that's gonna be different that has custody if they have joint custody, you know, it's basically whoever you spent more days with in the calendar year. So this case, let's say we're going to provide the mother's information right. And then we'll go from there. So in this case, we have the mother's social security number, there's a bunch of demographic information that you have to add in for for the mother.


Again, mother's date of birth, completely arbitrary, but we'll just enter in some dates to make sure that this is all filled out. And then your mother's email address again, and then go from there.


The next question we'll ask about is your parents residency. And so obviously, you can kind of enter that information.


And then the next thing that we're going to look at is your household size, how many people are actually living in your household, and they're going to look at, obviously, you yourself, your mother's other children. So if you're if you have any siblings, or if you any step siblings, they can also go through they also need to be added in here. And then other people who your mother supports, right? If of any sorts this other dependence, and then the number of people in your household that will be college that will be college students, between now July 1 2021 and June 30 2022. So one thing it's important to note is that when you're filling out the FAFSA, you're actually filling it out for the subsequent year obviously, right um, So that's sort of where that comes from. And then in terms of how many people in your household will be college students, right, this is where you're going to get a benefit or cost for being, you know, probably more college students and households. And in general, the more college students in the household, the more aid you will receive, and the lower your EFC is going to be created as essentially.


Oh, the other thing to keep in mind, obviously, is that you are going to enter in one for yourself. So if you and a sibling are both going to be in college, you're going to enter two.


So now we're gonna come to the main section of the live stream, probably, which is the parent financial section. So in terms of the parent financials, the first thing they're gonna ask is whether your parent has completed their IRS income tax return or another tax return. And from there, you're able to enter in the setup, so let's say your parent has already completed their IRS tax return, you're going to look at what type of texture and they formed the majority, it's going to be an IRS 1040 form. And then what is the tax filing system status according to the parents capture, so we go from there. Alright. Um, now what so one thing that's important keep in mind is that you can actually use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to just pull in a lot of the data, you need to fill out the FAFSA, in order to, you know, in order to make it go faster, so you can actually click link to the IRS. And then what you need to do is you'd need to enter in the parents FSA, Id username and password, and then go from there with your federal student aid ID. In this case, I'm going to skip it. So I can actually just walk through all the data fields that it pulls in. But, you know, you can definitely use that I encourage you to use it as long as you have access to your FSA ID. So the first thing that you're going to look at is the adjusted gross income for 2019. This is line eight beyond the form 1040. This is basically just your standard AGI so we'll just enter in a number hypothetically right?


Then from there, we're going to add in how much was earned from working, you know, let's just say it's the same number for the sake, that's really just going to depend. Right, this next up, we'll have the amount of income tax that was paid. Let's say this was $25,000. Fine. And then they're going to ask about some special situations. So that was the pain, and then they're going to ask about some special financial situations. So first up, if one of your parents is in the military, right, to get combat pay or special combat pay, this needs to be added in as long as it's added in the mother's or the parents adjusted gross income. Then any student college grant or scholarship money reported to the IRS in the parents income also needs to be reported.


If you have received if the parent has received a American Opportunity Tax Credit or life from learning tax credit, from IRS Form 1040, that's going to also be reported here. Any untaxed portions of IRS IRA distributions or pension distributions from IRS forms 1040, that's going to be layered in here. Any IRA deductions and payments to self employed Sep simple, basically retirement plans, that's going to be layered in here as well. And then any tax exempt interest income that's earned also needs to be added. And I think for the vast majority of you, these are not going to be common cases that you'll be looking at. But if you do sort of look at these, that's definitely something to kind of consider. Alright, now before we move forward, I do want to mention that we do have an upcoming event this Thursday, which is a live walkthrough of the CSS Profile. And so like the fact that the CSS Profile, like I said, is another financial aid sort of form that you have to fill out, especially in many private colleges, right. And so you want to basically, you know, if you want to get kind of a similar walkthrough to the CSS Profile, definitely feel free to check out that you get Alright, so I'll send over the link to that in a second.


So basically, the parent you look for these special finance situations, and then you're going to move into some of the other financial items. The first is any child support paid by your mother as a result of endorser separation. This does not include support for children in your household. It's really just for children that are you know, that the other person that's got to do basically Great. All right, and then you know, if this if your parent had any earnings from work under a cooperative education program offered by college, or any taxable earnings from the base employer And employ variants such as federal work study, or need based employment, portions of Philips fellowships and assistant ships. Um, so again, all pretty straightforward. Basically, if you have any special financial circumstances, this is where kind of that gets looked at. Okay. And for those of you asking in the chat if this video is being recorded, yes, yes, it is. And if your parent hasn't had a chance to fill out their taxes, then obviously, you know, for the most part, this information will be there, you will be required to put in a sort of financial situation, if your parent didn't file taxes, we can get a circle back to what that looks like in a second.


Now, there are some additional things that you will get again, there's a lot of specific quite interesting, facets going to look at. So first is if you received any child support, and so on, if your parents are divorced, this definitely will often happen. Any housing or live food or living allowances for members of military clergy, such as cash payments, or the cash value benefits, does not include the value of on base military housing, or basic military allowance for housing. If you made any payments to tax deferred retirement or pension savings plans, either paid or direct, you know, either if you're paid it or you made it out of your own pocket or if it was withheld earnings, you do need to report those any veterans non education benefits such as disability death pension, or again to see if your parents are veterans, and then any other untaxed income not reported that is workers comp, or disability benefits. So there's a lot of financial situations that are being taken into account. Next up, they're going to ask about your parents assets. And so for context, as of today, you know, does the total amount of your your parents assets exceed $600, it's below $600, you don't do anything. If it's above, then you do have to fill this out. The first thing we're looking at is your total balance of cash savings and checking accounts. Okay?


Now, you want to be careful because a lot of different accounts that are included in here, in particular, a basically like for the cash savings and checking account. This is pretty straightforward. This is just any again, cash accounts, checking accounts or savings accounts. And then they're going to ask about investments. So investments includes everything except for your primary residence. So it includes your investment accounts, brokerage accounts, mutual funds, all that stuff. But it also critically includes the 529 plans, the 529 plans are treated as a parent investment. And it's very important that you put them into that value, because if you put them into the value of the student financials, it's going to get assessed at a much higher rate. Student income and student assets are assessed at a higher rate than parent income and parent assets. Parent assets are assessed at a 5% rate, whereas student assets are assessed at a 20% rate. So make sure you put the 529 plan here in this section under parent information. Next question is, as of today, what's the net worth of your parents current businesses or investment farms? Now businesses and or investment or farms, right? If there's a family farm or small business that you own, with fewer than 100, few hundred employees or employee equivalents, it's not considered on the FAFSA, these size businesses are considered on the CSS Profile. So you don't need to know that information. But you don't need to know it for the FAFSA. So just go ahead and answer some basic numbers.


We'll go from there. And then you're going to go into student financials. But before we do that, I do want to just quickly cover the case where both parents are married to make sure that we're seeing both sides of the equation. So the first thing that you're gonna look at is you have to go back to parent demographics, and we're gonna really quickly grab this, we'll hit married, and then we'll kind of show that off from there. So this is go through from there. And then what now if your parents are married, you're gonna have to enter information for both parents. So we'll do yeah: Seana Carl, and then you'll go through from there.


And then you have to enter information for your other parents. So in this case, it's the mother that's being entered in for here. And then they want to know if your parents have lived in Massachusetts, really five years, you can kind of enter that carefully. add that in there and then enter in how many college students all that stuff is gonna remain the same. Now the key difference is the parent financial, are going to depend a little bit on how your parents filed their taxes. So if it's single, you're gonna have to enter information for both of them. If it's married, filing jointly or married, filing separate, you're gonna have to enter into Just for one, not gonna leave their house again.


And then that's what that looks like.


Um, but if your parents are filing separately, then you're there and asked for both parents information, right? So we'll go from there. So parents adjusted gross income, that's a combination. Like I said, there's an income estimator that you can use if you don't have the exact IRS Form, right. And then when you have both your parents married, they're going to ask for each parents information separately. So you'll go through from their parents income tax, and then they'll ask these questions again, but for both parents, so you need, you just answered information for both parents, make sure that that's all taken care of. And then you enter the asset information again, and then go through from there. Now on the student financial side, same principle, right? Do you know if you file taxes, you'll enter this in for the vast majority of you, I'm sure you're not going to file taxes. So you'll then go through from there, then they'll ask you the same, same questions from you.


So how much you earn from working $6,000, whatever. Child support you paid any of this stuff. Again, for most of you in the audience, this is not going to be that I do see a question in the audience, which asks, If I recommend linking the IRS tax return? Yes, I do recommend linking those two, right. Um, it's much easier to use the IRS to fill this out, then for you to fill it out individually. Oftentimes, you'd have to read these individual tooltips, to make sure you know what to fill out, I definitely recommend using the IRS tool. Yeah. All right, then same thing, child support all this stuff here, kind of going from that, again, pretty straightforward. And then any money you have in your accounts, that's a really critical piece. If you are a parent or student, I'm sorry, if you're a student, rather, your income gets assessed any higher rate. So in general, so your assets get assessed at a higher rate. So in general, if you have money in a student's account, it's often better to move that money into the parents account, because it's going to get assessed at a lower rate. So if you have 1500 dollars in a student account, that's going to make it harder than if you have 1500 dollars in the parents account.


We'll just enter zero for that.


Um, not sure what's happening there, but we'll kind of just do that.


Okay, there we go.


Now, the last year of repair, that's usually going to be pretty rare, and then you'll sign in submits. In this case, I'm actually just quickly change the email to one that we can you.


Oops, sorry. Just give me one second, I was changing the email so that we can kind of see the results. But basically, you're just required to go in here, sign and submit information, you have all your student demographics. And you're actually able to see, basically, you're able to see information, and then go through from there, and you're able to go back to any individual questions and then re enter the data, it'll actually take you back. So it's a nice little review thing that they have.


And then they'll go through from there.


Now, it's very critical that both the parent and the student need to sign the FAFSA. And that's what that will look like. And you have to agree to the following terms, pretty straightforward. And then you have to actually enter your FSA ID and username in order to get the FAFSA signed. And then you'll go through from there. And you'll do the same thing for the student. And then once you sign you'll get a confirmation. So in a nutshell, that is the FAFSA. Let's go ahead and pause there and move on to some q&a. I'm gonna take a quick one minute break to grab a drink of water and then we'll go ahead and move into the q&a. Um, so any questions please start entering them into the chat and I'll be answering a few of those questions before we wrap up.


Whoops, sorry, I will be right back to jump back in to answer quick questions for the q&a. Okay.


Alright folks, I'm back for the Q&A, I'm going to go ahead and pull up a few of your questions. So we're the first question we have is from Allison, who asks, Do you recommend the student not having their bank account? What if it's below $2,000? Would you still recommend it? Ah, yeah, I mean, I think in general, it's easier to just have all the money in the parents accounts. If it's under $1,000. You know, it's going to be an extra $400 a year that you're gonna be paying out of pocket. For somebody that's meaningful. Some for some of you that's not that big of a deal. It really just depends. But I would say generally recommend moving all the money to the to the parents account much easier.


Okay. The next question, if our family income is 200 K, and above, we know that we don't get any aid. Presently only one student will go to college. Are we still supposed to submit the FAFSA? The only reason you want to submit the FAFSA if you're not going to receive any aid is if you want to take out federal student loans. If you don't, if you don't want to take out federal student loans, it pretty much there's no reason to fill out the FAFSA. All right, next question. Can the FAFSA offer free money like grants you don't have to pay back? The FAFSA does offer grant aid, right? Particularly Pell grant from the federal government as well as institutional grants from the colleges, but that's often determined by either the federal government or the colleges.


Okay, next question is who qualifies for using the FAFSA? So you qualify for using the FAFSA if you are a US citizen, a permanent resident or someone usually on like a refugee status? In general, if you're a non US citizen, that's not one of those categories, you usually don't qualify for using the FAFSA.


Next question, do you have to fill out the FAFSA to attend college? Not necessarily. In fact, you can fill out the FAFSA, you don't have to fill out the FAFSA. If you don't plan to apply for financial aid. You only need to fill out the FAFSA if you want financial aid. All right.


Next question. Thank you for the info. Where do I get a FSA ID? So the way that you get an FSA ID is pretty simple. I'm going to actually just reshare my screen real quick. Let's go from there. So really quickly. The way you set up an FSA ID is super, super simple. All you do is you go to FSA And you create an FSA, an FSA ID. It's very straightforward. It's a username and password that gives you access to federal aids, online systems and can serve as your legal signature. Super straightforward.


Alright, next question. Am I allowed to add a school name after submitting the FAFSA? Yes, you are. The way you do that is by going in and clicking make corrections to my FAFSA. So you're able to do that after you submit Next question. If you're looking for merit based scholarships, did you still fill out the FAFSA? No, typically, the FAFSA is only used for financial aid. So if you're looking for merit scholarships, that's simply not going to be using the FAFSA, it's going to be using the college's own application something very, very different.


All right, next question here. Do we need to enter investment details from other countries? Typically, yes, you the, the colleges do require you to do that. Now, um, you know, in practice, they, if you have an investment that's like, hard to value in US dollars, or is like is not liquid? Sometimes they'll they'll, you know, it's not as necessary to put those in. But in general, they do look for you to add your investments from other countries as well. Yes. Okay.


All right. Um, that's that. The next question is, does the student or parent fill in the FAFS? So both the student or the parent can fill in the FAFSA, what usually happens is that this the parent is usually the one that's filling out the FAFSA because they know the financial details, but honestly, either can.


Next question, what is the EFC. So the EFC is the expected family contribution. It's basically the amount that the FAFSA formula is calculating, saying that you must fill out sorry, that the amount of money that you must pay across tuition, fees, room and board for your college, essentially. So if you're an EFC of 35,000, that says that you're expected to pay $35,000 per year out of your pocket, using your income and your investments to colleges. If your EFC is 15,000, you're expected to pay $15,000 per year.


Next question, can we transfer funds from our checking or savings account to someone else's account? Show less balance? yet? Yes, you can, but that typically means that I mean, look, in general, you can try it. But oftentimes the colleges will require income statements and stuff like that it goes a further ways back. And so if you have a if you have a high income and low checking account, that will trigger a flag for them. And then they may ask to see your statements from a year ago or two years ago. So in general, you're better off just not trying to kind of cheat the system like that.


Next question, do we need to add in 401k and 457? In the parent message section? Yeah. So actually, I did want to clarify this in the parent investment section. Any retirement accounts are not considered fair game for financial aid assessment. So basically, if you have money in a tax protected retirement account, that's not going to be included in the EFC calculation.


Next question, can you fill out FAFSA in later years? If you need federal loan? Basically, can you skip the first two years? Yes, that is correct. You can you can actually fill out the FAFSA whenever you need it. So if you don't need it first or second year, don't fill it out. If you need a third year, fill it out then.


Next question here. If the student has retirement accounts within an IRA, those funds get counted against the student. No, they don't. So just one parent as a parents, if you're a student, and you have a IRA accounts, you don't need to that that doesn't get counted or assessed against you. Right.


Okay, next up here. On the parent asset info you only report on in retirement accounts. Yes, that is correct.


Next question. The FAFSA is only filled [email protected] and then sent to all colleges, correct? Yes, that is correct. Question, where do we set where do we show loans? So you show loans. You don't show loan? So this is another thing that's true about the FAFSA that's very annoying, which is that they only look at the value of your assets. They don't look at the they don't look at the cost of your loans. They only look at your raw assets, not your variable assets, not your net worth they look at your just raw assets, not your net worth sorry.


Next question, what is the most appropriate time to sign for the FAFSA? I honestly recommend signing up for the FAFSA as soon as possible, and filling it out as soon as possible. A lot of colleges have these limited financial aid budgets, and oftentimes you're actually not able to get the FAFSA. You know, if you fill out your FAFSA later, you might end up with less financial aid from the colleges.


Should we submit the FAFSA to specific colleges before submitting our college applications for eligible fundings before funding before they're depleted? You could honestly if you don't fit your financial aid situation to change, definitely submit that in, and then you can choose to submit your application down the line.


Alright, uh, whoops. Next question here is can the FAFSA be submitted before your college application? Or is there a sequence? Yes, the FAFSA can be submitted before your college application.


If you are a US citizen, but your parents are a foreigner, can you apply for the FAFSA? Yes, as long as you're a you're a US citizen, you can apply for the FAFSA.


How much should your net worth be for aid and loan eligibility? It really does depend. But what I would say in general is if you're below a million dollars of net worth, essentially, after you take out the value of your primary residence, typically, that's something that you would see in terms of being able to be eligible for financial data. So basically, if you are below $1 million dollars of net worth, that's typically the category at which you're able to qualify for financial aid if you're above 1 million. Usually you can't get financial aid at that.


Next question, can a sophomore in high school sign up for the FAFSA? Note? Typically, you're going to want to submit the FAFSA in your senior year when you apply.


Next question, doesn't mean that the tax year for return for last year we use if you're submitting the FAFSA now, Yes, that is correct. You use the prior year's tax return. So if you're applying for school, and during fall 2021, you're going to submit your FAFSA with your tax info for 2019.


Is Puerto Rico considered US citizens? Yes, you're considered US citizen if you're a citizen of Puerto Rico.


Next question, do you put the value of our house as an asset? No, No, you don't. So for the facts, at least on your primary residence, you don't have to put in the value of your primary residence. If you have any rental properties or vacation homes, they do consider those values. So what I would say is basically, if you are your primary house or your primary residence is considered on the FAFSA, it is going to be considering the CSS.


Next question. If your parents are divorced, you only fill out information for one parent. Yes, that is correct. Now for each of your parents, you may also have to fill out information for each step parent.


Next question, if I have two kids in college in the fall 2021, do I fill up too FAFSAs? Yes, that is correct.


If I have more than 10 schools in the past, so the second time I submitted it, I clear all the schools that I spent the first time? Yes, you should and then you should resubmit with the new schools.


Next question. What items are included in your $1 million approximate estimation, income investments, etc? Yeah, so basically any investments that are non retirement or health savings accounts, as well as any income, any checking or savings accounts, all that is counted in that 1 million, but your retirement accounts are not. And if it's small family business or small family farm, that's also not counted in the FAFSA.


Next question here. We have time for a couple more questions. I'm sorry, just one second. I'm trying to pour through here.


Just making sure it's a 2019 Tax info? Yes, that's correct.


If I'm a junior class of 2020 2022, when should I fill out the FAFSA, you're not gonna fill out the FAFSA till next year. So the FAFSA is something that you need to fill out next year, it's not something that you need to fill out right now.


My daughter's have 50/50 time with each parent, we are divorced, which parent should file the FAFSA? Um, I would just pick one tie goes to the runner, honestly, you know, whatever it is, or it really just depends. There, you can honestly probably just pick whichever parent makes less money, you get more aid.


Next question, Please repeat where does the 529 College Savings Plan get entered? It gets entered as a parent investment account. Right, the government treat treats it as a tax protected account from colleges perspective, it's just another parent investment.


All right, and we have time for maybe one or two more questions here. Um, is it worth wiping FAFSA if you don't have savings in college? Yes, the FAFSA is actually very little dependent on your siblings, it's much more dependent on you know how much money your parents make, and how much money they have in assets.


You mentioned child bank accounts are assessed at higher rates. What about Parent Child joint bank accounts? So if you have a parent child joint bank account, I would put all of the value in both accounts or in both sides of the account on the parent side, and then you're you'll be fine.


Next question, how long is the FAFSA form available to complete? It's available to complete until like next June or something. The only thing is, is that in practice, most colleges have like a February or March deadline for completing the FAFSA.


Next question, does one have a lot of negative numbers? Usually it does not.


Next question. If you are living abroad, what currency do you use? Typically, you're going to convert to US dollars, which is what you have to do for your taxes anyway.


Next question, we don't need to report assets is the total cash and investment including 529. Excluding primary residence is $590,000? No $590 -- very different. You have to report assets, as long as you have more than $600 of assets like 600.00, not 600,000. I want to clarify that.


Where do you show loans like vehicles? You can't, there's no way for you to include the value of your loans. And do keep in mind that all the information you report here, the colleges are gonna ask for verification. So you are required to have bank statements and stuff like that prepared as well. In fact, what I would recommend doing is taking either a screenshot or downloading a statement with your bank account details for all the assets and stuff that you report.


And we have time for a couple more questions.


If you have two 519 plans, but only one child's going to college, do you still have to add them to the parent section? Yes, you do you have to add both 529 plans.


If I'm a permanent resident with a green card visa, am I eligible for financial aid from filing the FAFSA? Yes, you are.


Um next question here.


My son is a junior and we'll be submitting FAFSA next year if I put a lot of money in the 401k this year will count as income on FAFSA? No any income that you donate to FAFSA will be reduced from your income for this calendar year.


Next question, is the website store info for submitting if it store info if you're competing for twins. So what I would recommend if you're competing for twins and make sure you have a parent FSA ID, because then what you're able to do is you're able to re enter that information, just repull the parent information from the FSA ID you still have to complete different accounts for the student but at least the parent information will be saved across both parents.


All right. Next question here is what his loans are greater than assets? Even then you're still not going to get any credit from colleges. Unfortunately, it's actually one of the worst things about the admissions process that I really, really hate from the college's


Alright folks. With that, that's going to go ahead and wrap up our presentation for this evening. Thank you all for attending tonight's event. And hopefully, this was helpful to all of you. With that, we're gonna go ahead and wrap things up and stay tuned for future live streams from CollegeVine. Thanks, everyone, and have a great evening.

Your host

Undergrad College: University of Chicago

Major: Economics

Work Experience: As a Co-Founder of CollegeVine, I lead the data science and admissions curriculum teams. I have worked with thousands of students and families over the course of 8 years. I have also spent time as a senior analyst in aviation operations, strategy, and marketing.


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