When should I file the FAFSA?

The FAFSA, which stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is the federal government’s financial aid application. The FAFSA is a prerequisite for federal student loans, grants, and work-study. In addition, colleges typically require the FAFSA before distributing their own need-based aid and, in some cases, merit-based aid.

For the 2020-2021 school year, the FAFSA can be filed as early as October 1, 2019. Whether you have a senior in high school or a returning college student, it’s a good idea to file the FAFSA as early as possible to increase your child’s chances of getting financial aid, because some aid programs operate on a first-come, first-served basis. (For high school seniors who haven’t yet been accepted at a particular college, you can list all the schools your child has applied to on the form.)

The 2020-2021 FAFSA relies on your family’s current asset information and two-year-old income information from your 2018 tax return. The form is available online at fafsa.ed.gov.

In order to file the form, you’ll need to create an FSA ID if you haven’t done so already (be sure to follow the online instructions). You can save time and minimize errors on the FAFSA by using the built-in IRS Data Retrieval Tool, which electronically imports your tax data.

Even if you don’t expect your child to qualify for need-based aid, you still might consider submitting the FAFSA. All students attending college at least half-time are eligible for federal unsubsidized Direct Loans regardless of financial need. So if you want your child to take out a loan (or your child needs to do so), you’ll need to file the FAFSA. (Unsubsidized Direct Loan amounts are capped each year: $5,500 freshman year, $6,500 sophomore year, and $7,500 junior and senior years.)

Keep in mind that you’ll need to resubmit the FAFSA each year that you want your child to be considered for aid. Fortunately, renewal FAFSAs take less time to complete.

 

 

 

Content provided by Forefield for use by Eliot M. Weissberg, CFP®, CFS, of Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. The Investors Center, Inc. is an independent company. The information contained in this report does not purport to be a complete description of the securities, markets, or developments referred to in this material. The information has been obtained from various sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any opinions are those of Eliot Weissberg and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. Expressions of opinion are as of this date and are subject to change without notice.

This information is not intended as a solicitation or an offer to buy or sell any security referred to herein. Past performances may not be indicative of future results. You should discuss any tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional.

M19-266712 through 8/2/20


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