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The FAFSA challenge

nofilefafsanofilefafsa Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
Do I fill out FAFSA now or wait 2 years?

My son will enter college in the fall of 2019.

I recently retired, my wife does not work. My 2017 tax return is my last year of employment.

Our 2018 EFC will be half the number for 2017. We won't qualify for need based aid based upon net worth. We need those funds to live!

Here's the rub: In 2019 we'll qualify to submit IRS form 1040A with a lower AGI. That means no reporting of net worth to FAFSA! However if the college already has a record our financial position from 2 years prior
they will have reason to reject our aid request. There's a big difference between a $31K public university
cost and a more reasonable $12K adjusted cost with aid. We have another child that might attend the same university 3 years later. So do we pay full price for 2 years to get a better rate on the other 6 years (both kids) or submit FAFSA now and hope for a sympathetic financial aid office?


Replies to: The FAFSA challenge

  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 19,532 Senior Member
    FAFSA is for one year only. It doesn't matter if you have $0 income one year and get aid, if you have $200k in income another year you won't get aid.

    You won't get a 'better rate' for those last two years. You might get aid all 4 years, or you might only get it for the final 2.

    FA officers aren't 'sympathetic'. They are numbers driven.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 72,243 Senior Member
    Unless this is University of Michigan, University of Virginia, or UNC-CH, there is NO guarantee your kiddo will receive more aid than the Direct Loan in aid. Will your income put you in the lower incme bracket? If not, your kiddo might not even be eligible for a portion of the Pell Grant.

    Frankly, I don’t think what you do this year will have a speck of an effect on your kid’s need based aid for the 2021-2022 school year...because you will file THAT FAFSA using the income from 2019....and whatever results from that will determine your need based aid for that academic year.
  • brantlybrantly Registered User Posts: 3,417 Senior Member
    edited October 8
    No matter how low your income or assets, you might not get ANY aid. Depends on where your son goes to college. Yale? Harvard? Williams? These are very generous schools if you qualify for aid. But the same student who gets $20k in grants at Harvard could get nothing at State U. Your EFC is not a tuition bill. It's more of an index. And that index is utilized differently at every school.

    You should run the Net Price Calculators under varying scenarios for each school he's applying to.
  • nofilefafsanofilefafsa Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    Thank you all for your comments
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,194 Forum Champion
    Do FAFSA anyway. Some schools require it for merit scholarship consideration (even if EFC is high, you can often still get a lot of merit based on ACT/SAT scores/GPA
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