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2018-2019 FAFSA... Here we go

ChristiGabiChristiGabi Registered User Posts: 46 Junior Member
It's October 1st, which means I'm sitting at the computer and slogging my way through the FAFSA. My daughter is close at hand, bringing me her social security card, drivers license, and other necessary information. It's cloudy, dreary, and cold outside (in Colorado), so it's a perfect day to sit here with a warm cup of tea and try to figure this crap out. We've only just begun and I've already learned a few new things, that perhaps will help some other newbies:

1. You need to get an FSA ID. You can complete the FAFSA in the meantime, but will need to add that information later.

2. You can only add 10 colleges at a time to the FAFSA. Since my kid is applying to about 15, this worried me, until I did a bit more research. The recommendations I found suggest adding your in-state schools first, then add those with the earliest financial aid deadline. Later, after you recieve the Student Aid Report, you can delete those first 10 and add more.

Any other discoveries, frustrations, or recommendations for the 2018-2019 FAFSA?
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Replies to: 2018-2019 FAFSA... Here we go

  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 10,164 Senior Member
    Were you able to connect to your tax return via the DRT?
  • PragmaticMomPragmaticMom Registered User Posts: 272 Junior Member
    No. The DRT did not work for me, so I just punched in the numbers myself.
  • bearcatfanbearcatfan Registered User Posts: 697 Member
    The DRT did not work for me, either. There are many Facebook posts about it. I put in the numbers myself to get to the next screens, and my daughter's information transferred just fine. I'd rather use the DRT so maybe I'll try again tomorrow.
  • apraxiamomapraxiamom Registered User Posts: 284 Junior Member
    The DRT worked for me and S18, but we still had to manually input a lot from the 2016 tax return. DRT won’t prepopulate everything.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 63,517 Senior Member
    @apraxiamom what did you have to enter from your tax return?
  • apraxiamomapraxiamom Registered User Posts: 284 Junior Member
    From a 1040: lines 18-66. A lot of my answers were 0, so it went quickly, but I still to cross check a lot between hr block and the FAFSA.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 63,517 Senior Member
    I thought the entries from the DRT were encrypted this year...and the specific amounts transferred over from the tax return were not visible to the person completing the fafsa.

    Is this not true?
  • apraxiamomapraxiamom Registered User Posts: 284 Junior Member
    All I remember being encrypted was total income and AGI. And no, I couldn’t see the info. I pulled parental W2s to be able to see which amount each parent contributed.
  • Meant2BMeant2B Registered User Posts: 168 Junior Member
    For reasons above, and the many on FB all day today, I'm waiting two weeks to start so, hopefully, the bugs with IRS retrieval will be worked out! A few quick questions for those who have bravely ventured before me:
    1) still need to create a FAFSA ID, had one for an older child who graduated in 2016. So the last time completing FAFSA was in Feb. 2015. I believe I need to start over again because the site was overhauled so am I correct that I now need to get a brand new ID? If I use the same email I used in 2015 will I run into issues?
    2) once IDs for my child and I are set up, who should start the form first, student or parent?
    3) if my child didn't work to have any earnings in 2016, obviously no W2 or tax info. What documents will we need on hand to complete the Student section?

    Thanks!
  • apraxiamomapraxiamom Registered User Posts: 284 Junior Member
    1) Can’t help with this sorry. First time with FAFSA.
    2) I entered student info, then parent financials and student financials. My son looked over entire application and then signed with his ID.
    3) in your case, I would check no or enter 0 where appropriate.
  • Meant2BMeant2B Registered User Posts: 168 Junior Member
    @apraxiamom thanks!

    Did you need to manually enter any data from your 2016 Tax returns that didn't load through the DRT?
  • apraxiamomapraxiamom Registered User Posts: 284 Junior Member
    Income mainly. It populated the AGI and total income, but I had to enter my income and husband’s income individually.
  • Meant2BMeant2B Registered User Posts: 168 Junior Member
    @apraxiamom thanks again, just want to make sure I'm prepared.
  • mommdcmommdc Registered User Posts: 8,976 Senior Member
    Yes because on the joint tax return the earned income is added together and FAFSA needs it to be separate. They don't have your W-2 info so you need to enter earned income for Parent 1 and 2 manually.

    You have always had to do that.

    If you used a PIN for FAFSA in the past you probably need to get a FSA ID. I think the change was in May of 2015. If you already had a FSA ID then you might need a new password if it has been more than 18 months since you used it.

    Usually the DRT brings over AGI, total earned income, tax paid, education credit.
    But then you have to enter earned income for parent 1 and 2.

    If you had pretax 401k contributions in 2016 then you need to report them in question 94a under untaxed income.

    The amount should be listed on your W2.

    It is not reported on the tax return so many forget about it.
  • KardinalschnittKardinalschnitt Registered User Posts: 154 Junior Member
    Oh my goodness, this is so annoying! Dh is a foreign citizen and a diplomat (so tax-exempt) but in order to file this thing I have to choose 'already filed" then choose "foreign tax return" even though he hasn't filed taxes in several years. I hope that doesn't cause a problem if we get verified.
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