Knowing more about FAFSA in advance is a smart move so you will learn how to improve your chances of getting financial aid award when the right time comes. In order to obtain the most lucrative aid package for your kids, here are some of the tips shared by experts.
1. Fill out the form accurately and completely.
Mistakes can delay the processing of your application. If there are fields that do not apply to you, you must write an "0." Good thing is that if you apply online, then you will be alerted when you have left fields blank.
2. Apply early
There are some states in the US that distribute aid money on a first-come, first-served basis until financial assistance funds are depleted. The ideal time to obtain FAFSA is January. You can file your taxes first and use it as a reference point when applying for FAFSA. On the other hand, experts also recommend putting an estimate amount on FAFSA fields using your last year's tax return.
If you are not sure that you will get financial assistance, you must still file. According to experts, households that only earn up to $180,000 are likely to obtain financial aid. Keep in mind that students who do not apply for aid when they enter college are no longer allowed to ask for institutional aid. So if you are a student and your family's financial status has changed, it will be harder for you to obtain an aid. Stafford Loans, Parent Plus Loans and other sponsored loan programs do require filling out FAFSA first.
3. Spend your savings
If you have a large amount of savings, you can spend some of it before filing your FAFSA. You can use it to pay off your credit card debt or repay your mortgage. In this way, you will have lower asset base before being assessed for financial aid program. But you must only consider this tip if you have big savings.
4. Make an appeal.
If you think that the financial aid package is not enough for your kids, then you can still negotiate in order to obtain a better award. You may call the financial aid office and express your disappointment. However, when expressing yourself, you must be polite and grateful. You must avoid complaining about your current financial situation.
5. Avoid lying.
If you are planning of lying about your income or assets when filling out FAFSA just to get a better financial aid package, then you must stop now and think about your children's future. Keep in mind that lying about your financial situation is punishable by a fine that requires you to pay up to $20,000 and forfeiture of financial aid awards. You may also get into prison. These days, schools are getting savvier when it comes to dealing with fraudulent applications.
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