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Current senior in COLLEGE, needs to submit FAFSA for grad school...

mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 62,353Registered User Senior Member
My son is a senior in college and graduating in May. He's in the process of grad school apps. Some of the colleges have recently sent letters offering fellowships/assistantships/stipends/whatever and have said that if he fills out FAFSA, he could get more grant money from the schools.

We've never done a FAFSA for our kids for undergrad, so not sure how a senior in college does this. Right now, he's still an undergrad, but in the Fall, when he goes to grad school, obviously he will have already graduated.

So, if he submits a FAFSA now, would he be considered Independent or not? On one hand, I think he might be independent...but on the other, I think he might not be since he hasn't graduated yet. I don't know if the same rules apply like they do for an undergrad who's getting married in the Spring...if such a person files NOW, he/she is still dependent...if they file after the wedding, they get to say they're married/independent.

Obviously, if he gets to file as an independent, his income will be low. If he has to file as a dependent using our income/assets, then...poof...no institution grants. LOL
Post edited by mom2collegekids on
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Replies to: Current senior in COLLEGE, needs to submit FAFSA for grad school...

  • thumper1thumper1 Posts: 36,902Registered User Senior Member
    Mom2 your son is applying for aid for NEXT year when he will have completed his bachelors degree...in most cases students who have bachelors degrees are considered independent for financial aid purposes. The notable exceptions are SOME (not all...some) medical schools and law schools. Some of these professional schools DO still require parent financial information for students who would otherwise be independent. You would need to contact each school to see if they require parent info. If they do, you will have to provide it.

    As an FYI, grad school financial aid is not the same as undergrad aid. While some schools DO consider student need, the vast majority do not award financial aid based on need (simply put...most grad students have little or no income). Most grad school aid is awarded based on the merits of the student's application and strength of it.

    Anyway...I'm digressing here. Your son will need a PIN number to file his FAFSA. He should get that NOW. He should also look at the school deadlines for when the FAFSA is to be submitted...and he should also see what (if any) supporting documentation is required and the deadlines for submission for those. And he should contact the schools to see if the parental info is required. Wasn't your son looking at medical schools? If so, he should ask the questions. If the answer is NO, then he just uses his own info. If it's yes, he uses yours as well.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 62,353Registered User Senior Member
    ^^^

    Thanks....

    That's what I thought. I was just concerned because I've seen kids who are getting married in the summer have to file as dependent, even tho they will be married when they are in school in the fall. So, I wasn't sure if the same premise applied in this instance.


    Yes, I know that FA for grad school is not the same as it is for undergrads. I know that much is merit based for grad schools.

    So, far, he's been offered free tuition and $20k-30k stipends (depending on the school), but they have said that the school (not the feds) will give him MORE money (more institution money) if he submits a FAFSA. I guess they want to make sure that he doesn't have a bunch of money somewhere. If he gets to apply as an independent, then I think he'll get a low EFC.


    This is not the pre-med son. That son is only a soph in college. We'll be tackling all that stuff soon. Yuck...that, we know we'll have to pay for. LOL I know that some/many med schools want parent info.
  • thumper1thumper1 Posts: 36,902Registered User Senior Member
    Great....then just have your son submit his FAFSA. He should try to complete his 2010 tax return ASAP and then use it to complete the FAFSA. All he should need is that 2010 tax return and the amount of money IN his bank accounts (and any other investments) as of the date of his FAFSA filing.

    It's not a hard form to complete. And with the "skip logic" that has been built in this year, he may not even have very many questions to answer beyond the income one.
  • chaospaladinchaospaladin Posts: 747Registered User Member
    Why hasn't M2CK's children filed FAFSA while the said children were in undergraduate school? Why has M2CK's son decided to file FAFSA all of a sudden during his senior year for graduate school?

    Also I never had to file a tax return before. When I file a FAFSA for graduate school (I have always been filing FAFSA since high school to take classes at community college and state colleges for free), it asks how much fellowships, scholarships, assistantship stipends, etc. I have received for the following school year (which I will begin). If the university is still discussing budgets, grants, funds, etc. and have not finalized a number, should I just leave it at 0 and then change it appropriately after?
  • bluebayoubluebayou Posts: 21,446Registered User Senior Member
    ^^Well, I would guess, and this is only a guess, is that momof2 is full pay, and did not need federal loans to send her kids to college. And/or, they received scholarships which did not require fafsa.

    Grad schools might require it for research assistantships, etc. And/or the grad school wants to give out federal money before it gives out its own.
  • kelsmomkelsmom Posts: 12,519Super Moderator Senior Member
    Chaospaladin, the FAFSA does not ask for next year's fellowship, grant, etc information. They DO ask for the amount of those items THAT WERE REPORTED AS INCOME TO THE IRS ON A FEDERAL TAX RETURN for 2010.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 62,353Registered User Senior Member
    Why hasn't M2CK's children filed FAFSA while the said children were in undergraduate school? Why has M2CK's son decided to file FAFSA all of a sudden during his senior year for graduate school?

    [/I}


    Both our kids got very good merit scholarships for undergrad, and we paid for the rest. We knew that our EFC would be too high for any aid besides unsub loans, so no point in filing.

    However, at least one of son's grad school offers has indicated that along with full tuition and stipend, they would give him MORE money if he files FAFSA (I don't know the exact source of this money...donor money? university grant money? dept money??? )

    so, it's worth it to my son to file FAFSA, even if it only means getting a couple more thousand. Right? LOL
  • thumper1thumper1 Posts: 36,902Registered User Senior Member
    Yes Mom2...it is very worth it for your son to file the FAFSA for grad school. It's FREE and if it nets him some free aid, it will be well worth the time. In addition, he may decide he needs a Stafford loan (hopefully not, but you never know). He will be eligible to receive one as a grad student by completing the FAFSA. Amounts are different than for undergrad...but the option is there.

    Especially since a school indicated that completing a FAFSA could net more aid...get it done.
  • chaospaladinchaospaladin Posts: 747Registered User Member
    Chaospaladin, the FAFSA does not ask for next year's fellowship, grant, etc information. They DO ask for the amount of those items THAT WERE REPORTED AS INCOME TO THE IRS ON A FEDERAL TAX RETURN for 2010.

    So let's say I begin graduate school in Fall 2012, start receiving stipend, file IRS Federal Tax Return in like March 2013 for the year 2012, then for line 43d on the FAFSA, I just input the amount I filed on my IRS 1040 form, right?

    Also when does a student actually start filling out IRS Tax forms? Like when they start graduate school and start receiving a stipend? Are stipends and fellowships taxable? Meaning if I do receive those in graduate school, do I have to pay tax and file a 1040 form for the IRS for it?
  • thumper1thumper1 Posts: 36,902Registered User Senior Member
    Also when does a student actually start filling out IRS Tax forms?

    My kids started filling out tax forms when they were 16. Both had summer jobs and money was withheld for federal taxes. They were due refunds so they both filed.

    Chaos...haven't you ever had a job?
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 62,353Registered User Senior Member
    Are stipends and fellowships taxable? Meaning if I do receive those in graduate school, do I have to pay tax and file a 1040 form for the IRS for it?



    In my son's latest grad school offer, it clearly states that the tuition part is not taxable, but the stipend is.
  • 'rentof2'rentof2 Posts: 4,327Registered User Senior Member
    Mom2CK, the question on FAFSA about degree completion asks if your first bachelors degree will be completed by July 1, 2011. So it won't ask your son about whether he's an undergrad now, but what his status will be in July.
  • kelsmomkelsmom Posts: 12,519Super Moderator Senior Member
    Chaospaladin, you will want to become very familiar with the IRS guidelines regarding scholarships and grants. If the portion of your assistance that exceeds tuition is above the IRS filing requirements for your situation (depends on whether or not someone else is claiming you on taxes), you will have to file a tax return & pay tax.

    My D earned $4000 last summer for research. If that had been her only income, she would not have had to file ... she only has to file if her total earnings are more than $5700. They were, so she had to file. Every situation is different, so you need to read the rules & see how it applies to you. Fortunately, there are quite a few samples on the IRS website.
  • kelsmomkelsmom Posts: 12,519Super Moderator Senior Member
    And yes, if your only taxable earnings are from the stipend, you do put the amount you list on the tax return as taxable earnings in the question about taxable earnings from scholarships/grants. This allows the money to be removed from the EFC formula.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 62,353Registered User Senior Member
    ^^^

    Good to know that for next year....this year he doesn't have any stipend earnings.
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