Financial aid is FAFSA free money

Routes to finance

It can be a lot of work completing the FAFSA, this all-important application that is used to calculate the amount of financial assistance your child can receive. There are some political movements trying to simplify the FAFSA, but that is not helping the families dealing with this year's version. Here are some money-saving tips that could help minimize your college expenses and maximize the amount of college financial aid your child will receive:

  • Use the official website only : There are scammers out there trying to lure you with promises of scholarships or guarantees of financial aid, so make sure you only use the official government website to complete the FAFSA. It is located at www. fafsa. ed. gov and is free.
  • Fill it out : There are still some families who miss out on financial aid because they don't even graduate from FAFSA. They might have fallen victim to a FAFSA myth, believe they are making too much money, or think it is too difficult. Even if you don't qualify for financial assistance, you may still need to complete the FAFSA for certain types of federal student loans.
  • One time it's good to get older : While most people don't like to admit that they are getting older, it can actually be a good thing when it comes to college financial aid. The age of the oldest parent is taken into account when calculating the amount of the expected family contribution (EFC).
  • Have more children in school: Having more than one child in college at the same time can be a financial problem for parents. The government understands and wants to motivate larger families to send all of their children to college, so there's a break in the EFC. Even if you are not qualified for financial assistance with just one child in college, it is worth reapplying as soon as a second child starts participating.
  • Your house size doesn't matter: You will be surprised to find that the resources you have in your household are not taken into account when providing needs-based help.
  • Keep going with retirement accounts: Some parents may be tempted to withdraw money from their retirement accounts to pay for their children's education. This may not be the smartest financial move as retirement accounts are not included in the EFC calculations. Speak to a professional financial advisor to determine whether a withdrawal or borrowing is best for your individual situation.
  • Be careful how much money is in your child's name: You might think that transferring some money to your child would be a good idea to make your financial position weaker, but this strategy could backfire. The valuation of a child's wealth is 20% while it is for the Parents' wealth is only 5.6%.
  • It might help pay some bills: If you have a large amount of money in your checking or savings account, it can help to settle some of your bills or pay off your mortgage. The FAFSA does not ask about money you owe, it asks about your cash and cash equivalents. If these balances are lower, your child could qualify for additional help.

Most of all, don't be afraid to seek help. The federal student aid website has many excellent resources, and you can also consult a professional financial aid advisor. Making the right decisions now could affect your family's finances for years to come.