Your Questions About Fafsa

Helen asks…

How can the FAFSA form for the 2010-2011 school year have a priority deadline of February 1st?

Some parents don’t even get their W2 forms until after February 1st, so they don’t know what their gross income is, let alone their adjusted gross income. If somebody that is filling out the FAFSA 2010-2011 school year form or somebody else who knows can help me clear this up, that would be great. Thank you.

John answers:

When filling it out choose “WILL FILE” then enter the information from 2008, if it’s about the same. Later you can update it with “HAS FILED” and the correct information. :)

Maria asks…

Can a son receive the FAFSA if his father is currently receiving the FAFSA?

My boyfriend is applying for the FAFSA and he’s an independent under 24 with divorced parents. He’s unsure whether to report his father’s earnings or his mother’s. His father (who has four other dependents and lived off of food stamps in the last 5 years) was approved for the FAFSA and is currently using it. His mother made 90k last year but declared bankruptcy a week ago. My question is, would it hurt him to report his father who is on the FAFSA more than his mother?

John answers:

If your boyfriend is still a dependent he will need to provide the information of the parent who provided the most support to him during the past year (provided that he doesn’t live with either of them). This could be a parent who bought him any clothes or food, etc. If neither parent contributed anything to him, then he is supposed to use the information of the parent who makes the most money (this is all on the fafsa website in the FAQs section).

Yes, a son and father can both receive fafsa at the same time. In addition, your boyfriend would probably get more money reporting his father’s income, as bankruptcy makes no difference… It’s purely income. He will also have to report his income. If he’s asked for verification, he’ll have to prove that he was correct in choosing the parent that he did — by proof of support. Good luck to you.

Sandra asks…

Why does the Department of Education FAFSA laws dictate a family’s choice to raise independent children?

FAFSA app has 7 criterions one must meet in order to claim independent status. Most students parents raise them to be independent to handle their own college costs so the parent(s) can save for their retirement. It is so easy for the government to say its the parent’s responsibility to pay their child’s education; but the schools & the govt have a business relationship with each other in order to stick parents with even more debt for the sake of educating their children. As a parent, I taught my child to be financially responsible and independent because I have to also save for my retirement. At 18 years old, a child can apply for credit, rent apartments and apply for car loans. Why can’t the same child apply for school loans under FAFSA? Esp. under the circumstances the parent(s)saving for their retirement& not be dependent on their kids in their elder years. The DOE is such a joke because it appears to give grants to schools to help students only to issue $$$ loans and a $50 grant!

John answers:

Actually, it’s not the Department of Education. Congress determines what calculations are used for an EFC and whether a student is Independent or Dependent. It’s part of the Higher Education Act of 1965. It is subject to “reauthorization” where Congress has to review the Act. This link provides some of the bills and legislation: http://www.nchelp.org/elibrary/index.cfm?parent=1791

Schools use the EFC (Expected Family Contribution) in conjunction with the school’s COA (Cost of Attendance) to determine what types of aid a student is eligible for. So it’s not the DOE per se that determines what financial aid a student will receive.

I know it’s very frustrating! All I can suggest is to contact your congressional representatives and express your concerns to them regarding the FAFSA. Good luck!

Laura asks…

When filling out the FAFSA, do I need to include my unemployment benefits as income?

I’ve been on unemployment since September ’10 (it ends either this October or next October) and I want to go to school full time. Will getting unemployment benefits affect how much financial aid i can get based on my income? Or does FAFSA not count unemployment benefits?

John answers:

It will be taken into consideration how much FA u will get. It will be computed accordingly

George asks…

How do I apply for FAFSA without involving my parents?

This may sound silly but is there really no way to bypass having to involve my parents in filling out a FAFSA application? I live on my own but I am not over 24yrs old. I guess that is the big kicker…

I live alone and will be paying for the college courses myself so I didn’t see any need to contact my parents about this.

Help?

John answers:

You have to be able to answer yes to one or more of the following questions:

http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/FOTWWebApp/fotw0809/WorksheetServlet?locale=en_US&wstype=WSDEP

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