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Planning ahead questions

WyanokieWyanokie Registered User Posts: 33 Junior Member
my son is currently a HS soph, so will be applying to schools in fall 2014. I've been reading up on the forum, tinkering with some NP Calcuators and trying to get a handle on it all. I have a couple of questions if anyone has the chance to help. We will be borderline on the possibility of getting any need aid. From the NPC's it seemed that some schools may offer about 10K and others nothing. But then 2 years after that we will have 2 kids so presumably there would be more aid available. And 10K of course would be helpful....

1. when do we fill out the FAFSA and CSS online forms? Is it fall of senior year with previous year's tax info? (in this case 2013 tax returns) Or, would it Jan/Feb of senior year with 2014 tax returns?

2. when are savings accounts and investments looked at? Do they want numbers as of the time of the FA app? Or is there a look back period?

Like many out there, I need to make some decisions about distributing some money between savings and sheltered retirement savings.

Post edited by Wyanokie on

Replies to: Planning ahead questions

  • vballmomvballmom Registered User Posts: 3,135
    1. FAFSA is filled out in Jan/Feb of the senior year with the prior year's tax returns. Some Profile schools want a preliminary Profile filled out in Oct of the senior year, especially for EA/ED schools. The Profile is then updated with actual income/assets in Jan/Feb.

    2. The asset number you put down for FAFSA is a snapshot of assets as of the day you file. There's no look back period, and no look-ahead period either for that matter.
  • wstewartwstewart Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    regarding the timing of the CSS profile filing...i'm a little confused. if an application deadline is 12/1/12, when should i be filing the CSS? was i supposed to file it back in october before filing the actual application? the collegeboard site says
    "you should file no later than two weeks before the EARLIEST priority
    filing date specified by your colleges or programs" what does that really mean?
  • happymomof1happymomof1 Registered User Posts: 25,347 Senior Member
    Contact the college/university in question, and ask when they need the information. If you have to file the CSS Profile early, use your own best estimate for that year's financial situation, and then update it when you have the final figures.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 63,483 Senior Member
    Wstewart...check the financial aid website sections for each of your colleges. You will find the items needed as well as the DEADLINES for submitting these forms. Do NOT miss the DEADLINES. You really want to submit everything as early as possible after January 1. You can do so using good estimates for 2012 based on end of year pay stubs.

    If you are applying ED or EA there could be an early priority date for filing the Profile. This will be on the schools' websites.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Registered User Posts: 82,545 Senior Member
    But then 2 years after that we will have 2 kids so presumably there would be more aid available. And 10K of course would be helpful....

    Not necessarily. Many schools do not give you more aid later when a second child starts school. That's shocking for many folks.
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse Registered User Posts: 26,432 Senior Member
    As the others have said, you will file the applications after the January 1 of your child's senior year of high school. In fact the forms are not even available until January 1. You need to report all income for the entire year before and the forms these days are cross checked with tax returns.

    If your student applies early and you want an estimate of aid, the school will give you instructions on how to procede and estimated numbers are used in that case. Adjustments are made when the real numbers are available..

    Be aware that most schools do not guarnatee to meet full need, and do not tend to do so. Those that do, define the need and packages may include loans and work study. Those schools that do not guarantee to meet full need, may not adjust the awards when other kids go to school. These are questions to ask when you compile your list of schools.

    The NPCs tend to be the most accurate at schools that guarantee to meet full need and that give only need based aid. Once you have merit money in there, it starts to get dicey since averages are used. When you are talking averages, you can have your head in the freezer and your backside on fire and be considered comfortable over all. A school that, on average, meets so much need of its student isn't going to help you if your kid isn't one of those kids. There can be a lot of play in those numbers.
  • onetruething2014onetruething2014 Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    I had kind of the same question. If my daughter is going to apply Early Decision for Class of 2014 will ANYTHING be looked at for this year (2012) regarding my income or taxes? Or will she just apply and then not do FAFSA until January 2014 and it will all be based on next year's (2013) income?
  • happymomof1happymomof1 Registered User Posts: 25,347 Senior Member
    The ED school will ask for enough information from 2013 so as to create a projected aid package. The actual aid package will not be drawn up until the finalized aid application is completed early in 2014.

    Please note that on occasion the final aid package is significantly different from the estimated one because of changes in the information supplied to the college/university.
  • onetruething2014onetruething2014 Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    Thank you so much happymomof1. I was kind of lost. I just received an Inherited IRA equal to a year of my salary (not much!) and was unsure if I should cash it out, take the penalty and pay some bills before December 31st. I guess so. Or else it will show up in my 2013 tax stuff and that is the year they will look at for my daughter's freshman year (2014). So.... I guess I should cash it out and take the hit in my taxes.
  • happymomof1happymomof1 Registered User Posts: 25,347 Senior Member
    How much is it? The principal of that inherited IRA will not show up on FAFSA. Run some NPCs to see how much the principal affects your NPC for some of the Profile schools. It might not. Yes the withdrawals will sho as income, but since the minimum you ate required to take each year will be based on your age, it might be pretty small. It is my understanding that with an inherited IRA there is no penalty for pulling it out "early". Rather that you can take as much as you want provided you meet the minimum each year. The rules are not the same as for regular IRAs. If I an correct you could take the minimum for as long as that works for you, and then withdraw more should the need or a superior option arise.
  • happymomof1happymomof1 Registered User Posts: 25,347 Senior Member
    Sorry for the typos. I can't go back and edit with the I-touch.
This discussion has been closed.