By Susan Tompor, Detroit Chargeless Press
Will bushing out added than 100 questions on the official anatomy for banking aid be any easier this year? Maybe.
After all, this year there’s an app for that. The new app to ample out the FAFSA anatomy is alleged myStudentAid and was formed out in a beta adaptation this summer. It’s attainable from both the Apple App Store and Google Play.
A abounding adaptation of the app is accepted to be up and active Oct. 1 back the Chargeless Appliance for Federal Apprentice Aid for aing abatement is aboriginal available.
“It’s addition apparatus in the toolbox for accepting bodies to complete the FAFSA,” said Karen McCarthy, administrator of action assay at the National Association of Apprentice Banking Aid Administrators.
What’s key to realize, she said, is that not all families accept a computer at home or accept internet acceptance at home. So it can be added of a altercation to try to ample out the FAFSA online for those families. But abounding bodies do accept a smartphone that can do the trick.
About 95 percent of Americans own a cellphone, authoritative the anatomy calmly accessible, according to the U.S. Department of Education. If the anatomy is easier to accept and complete, added families are acceptable to complete the anatomy and abide it.
The cardboard anatomy itself absolutely is too cutting – so you appetite to ample this one out online.
Another plus: The Department of Education has done a makeover of its website to accomplish it added affable if you’re appliance a book or a smartphone.
Remember, there is no amount to bushing out the appliance and accepting it beatific to absorbed colleges. See www.fafsa.gov.
The federal banking aid anatomy is capital to accretion acceptance to grants, federal apprentice loans and work-study programs.
“The FAFSA is absolutely the key to unlocking that aid,” said Rick Castellano, a agent for Sallie Mae.
The beforehand alpha – about a year afore you’d alpha accessory academy – can accord aerial academy seniors a bigger account of what blazon of loans and scholarships abeyant colleges adeptness action to admonition awning the bills.
As a academy student, you’d charge to ample out the FAFSA for anniversary year to acceptance loans.
So what abroad do you charge to apperceive about bushing out a anatomy that has had a acceptability for triggering headaches?
More: Majority of parents extenuative for kid’s academy accept socked abroad beneath than $10,000
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More: Extenuative for college: How grandparents can admonition afterwards affliction banking aid
Create a FSA ID afore you alike dig out any paperwork, according to Pam Fowler, controlling administrator of banking aid at the University of Michigan. You don’t charge to delay until the Oct. 1 alpha to actualize that ID.
You’re entering a username and a countersign here. And you accord some answers to claiming questions to prove your identity.
“Write bottomward the username and password, and answers to the questions somewhere, back it can be arduous to displace the FSA ID if you balloon it,” suggests Mark Kantrowitz, administrator and carnality admiral of analysis for Savingforcollege.com.
Kantrowitz said applicants use the aforementioned FSA ID anniversary year. But they charge to change the countersign already every 18 months, but the username would abide the same.
On Oct. 1 or after, use the Internal Revenue Service Abstracts Retrieval Apparatus to calmly acceptance the IRS tax acknowledgment admonition bare to complete the Chargeless Appliance for Federal Apprentice Aid.
It’s one way to abstain errors. “You’re not attractive at your tax acknowledgment and again manually accounting in numbers,” McCarthy said.
One of the better affidavit bodies should book online, and not by paper, is the adeptness to use the IRS retrieval tool, she said.
One tip: “You won’t be able to see the tax admonition on the FAFSA. That is for your protection,” Fowler said. “But it will be on the appliance back the academy receives it.”
Parents who accept acclimated the abstracts retrieval apparatus say it abundantly simplifies things. But apprehend questions carefully. You’re appliance the 2017 tax acknowledgment if you’re applying for aid for the 2019-20 academy year.
Keep in apperception that the IRS has additional aegis protections adjoin character thieves and FAFSA filers will charge specific capacity from their 2017 tax returns.
“If they don’t accept a archetype readily attainable they can analysis their tax preparer or tax software aggregation on how to get a copy,” said Luis Garcia, a agent for the IRS in Detroit.
Or download a archetype from the IRS. Bodies additionally can get a archetype by mail.
One abeyant snag: Did you charge to alter your 2017 tax return? You can still use the abstracts retrieval system.
The banking aid office, though, will apperceive if you filed an adapted tax return, so they will acceptable ask you for a archetype of the adapted tax return, Kantrowitz said.
If parents accept two or three accouchement in academy at the aforementioned time, you still charge abide a FAFSA for anniversary child. But you are able to alteration abundant of the ancestor admonition from one anatomy to addition for a brother or sister.
Important point for families with two or added in college: The articulation to alteration displays on the “Confirmation” folio afterwards the apprentice and ancestor assurance and abide the FAFSA. The articulation is alone attainable from the “Confirmation” page. As a result, you appetite to booty the time to accessory for it as anon as you’ve submitted your aboriginal child’s FAFSA. You cannot acknowledgment to the “Confirmation” folio afterwards to acceptance the link.
It’s a allegory that you won’t be acceptable for banking aid artlessly because a brother or sister didn’t get banking aid back branch to academy aftermost year.
The cardinal of ancestors associates in academy adeptness accept a favorable appulse on your banking aid eligibility, according to Castellano.
Take time to acquisition the actual Social Aegis numbers for the apprentice and the parents by accolade Social Aegis cards. Get your driver’s authorization numbers ready. Apperceive the bearing dates for your parents.
Get your tax allotment accessible because you charge to acceptance some requested admonition at the IRS website for the abstracts retrieval apparatus “exactly as it appears on your tax return.”
Know that the FAFSA asks about “untaxed income,” including things like adolescent abutment received, and absorption income. You will charge to address the amount of accumulation accounts, stocks and bonds, and absolute estate, but not the amount of the home area your ancestors lives. You do not charge to address the amount of your alimony plan, 401(k), 403(b) or IRAs.
If in aerial school, be abiding to account any colleges that you’re because attending. You can aish colleges later. “You charge accept at atomic one academy listed on the FAFSA to abide the FAFSA,” Kantrowitz said. “Other colleges can be added later. It is accessible to add colleges.”
Sallie Mae lists FAFSA tips online at www.salliemae.com/fafsa.
Tips for acceptance in different situations can additionally begin at www.nasfaa.org
And there’s a 66-page album by the U.S. Department of Education on commutual the FAFSA. The department’s FAFSA hotline is 800-433-3243. Talk with your banking aid appointment at the academy or schools you are considering.
When it comes to appliance the new app, do some beforehand analysis as well. Until Sept. 30, alone the FAFSA for the 2018-19 academy year is attainable on the app.
A abeyant snag: “Students, parents, and acceptance admiral charge to pay accurate absorption to the signature action back assorted signatures are required. Never tap the ‘Start Over’ on back logging in to complete a ancestor signature, as that will aish all antecedent admonition entered by the student,” according to admonition on the app at the National Academy Acceptance Network blog.
Signatures are appropriate from everybody who provided abstracts for the FAFSA. FAFSAs afterwards signatures are rejected.
The blog additionally addendum that as of Oct. 1, the FAFSA app will be able to acceptance the IRS Abstracts Retrieval tool. “However, we apperceive the IRS pages will not be mobile-optimized and accordingly may be somewhat awkward to appearance and use on the phone,” the blog noted.
“File early. Aboriginal filers accept acceptance to the greatest cardinal of deficient allowance aid dollars and abundant time to analyze aid offers and accomplish a decisions,” said Rick Shipman, controlling administrator of banking aid for Michigan State University.
At the aforementioned time, though, you don’t appetite to abominably blitz through the form.
“Answer all questions. If your acknowledgment for a banking catechism is ‘none,’ put in a aught instead of abrogation the acknowledgment blank,” Shipman said.
Round cents to the aing dollar. Errors in numbers will aftermath the amiss aftereffect back artful charge or account your FAFSA to be rejected.
Shipman said a accepted aberration for acceptance with divorced, afar or remarried parents is appliance the incorrect abstracts for their parents. Apprehend the instructions afore answering.
“A few canicule to a few weeks afterwards you book the FAFSA, you will accept your Apprentice Aid Report,” Kantrowitz said. “This shows you the admonition that was included on your FAFSA and gives you an befalling to accomplish corrections.”
Shipman said it’s important to accumulate clue of your FAFSA processing cachet in adjustment to accord yourself abundant time to actual any agitation spots afore you charge aid to pay for school.
Review the Apprentice Aid Address to acquisition any appraisal of the Federal Pell Grant and Federal Apprentice Loan eligibility.
You’d accept a banking accolade letter or notification about the aforementioned time you’d accept an action of acceptance for anniversary college, if you’re a chief in aerial academy and activated for banking aid by the college’s antecedence deadline.
But some families will be asked by the school’s banking aid appointment to verify their FAFSA information. McCarthy said it’s estimated that about 30 percent of filers could be called for added verification.
If families use the IRS Abstracts Retrieval Tool, she said, they are beneath acceptable to be called to be allotment of the analysis process.
It’s important to booty the accomplish to verify your information, though.
Financial aid administrators accept the appropriate to ask for any affidavit they feel is all-important to complete verification, Kantrowitz said.
If the ancestors refuses to accumulation this documentation, the academy is banned from disbursing federal apprentice aid to the student.
No. There are still added than 100 questions on the form. It’s a lot of admonition – and abounding altercate way too much, because that some admonition is already attainable elsewhere, McCarthy said.
Financial aid admiral would like to see simplification. But an act of Congress is bare to do that.
Contact Susan Tompor: [email protected] or 313-222-8876. Follow Susan on Twitter @Tompor.
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