As tax season comes to an end a new season begins in our office. It is college FAFSA season, and boy does it get busy quickly.
Now that everyone has their taxes done (unless you filed an extension), it may be to your advantage to use your current year tax return rather then your 2016 return.
To make sure you get the most out of your FAFSA avoid these common 5 mistakes.
- Missing Financial Aid Deadlines – Make sure that you are aware of the federal, state, and college deadlines. All of these may have different deadlines, which could hurt you dramatically.
- Filing the Wrong Year’s FAFSA – Do yourself and your college bound child a favor, check that you have the correct academic year on the form you are filling out.
- Not Including a Stepparent’s Income or Assets – It isn’t always the case, but you may have to include your new wife or new husband’s income when filling out the FAFSA forms.
- Including Retirement Plans as Investments on FAFSA – You don’t have to report your 401(k), 403(b), pension, or IRA as an investment on the FAFSA. However, watch out for your Brokerage accounts, they do need to be reported.
- Not Reporting Unusual Circumstances – If you have something that you feel may change the outcome of the financial aid package, it doesn’t hurt to call and alert them. I’ve seen it happen when someone becomes very ill and by reporting it to the school the financial aid package was substantially more.
There are many other mistakes to be cautious of. As we head into this new season, education is key in determining the correct way to handle the FAFSA forms.
We will be offering a Complimentary College Planning Workshop on Saturday May 12, 2018 with three convenient times. This workshop is designed for Parents of 2019, ’20, and ’21 high school graduates. For details and more information visit our registration page.
Till next time, stay well!