right arrow
Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04

FAFSA and assets

Al73Al73 60 replies20 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
Almost all of out assets relevant for FAFSA (and I assume CSS profile) are in stock market. Which makes our assets value very volatile.

As far as I understand I have to compile a snapshot of all our stock holdings when submitting FAFSA. Am I required to provide an accurate snapshot of my assets exactly the same day I file FAFSA or there is some time window when I can do this? What happens if I make that snapshot say on October 1st and file FAFSA on October 5th?

Can I update my FAFSA after I file it if stock market drops and so the value of my assets?

When I file FAFSA I indicate which colleges it will be "sent" to. I assume no data is actually "sent" and the colleges I specify are just granted access to my FAFSA, so if I update it, they will see the updated information. Is this assumption valid?

My assets have critical impact on how much I will be paying for college. If value of my assets drops after my kid is admitted and I get financial package from the college together with the acceptance letter, can I request re-evaluation of the financial package before or after the acceptance?

12 replies
· Reply · Share

Replies to: FAFSA and assets

  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29210 replies57 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    FAFSA instructions say that the value of assets should be the date that FAFSA is submitted. Pick that day carefully, when there isn’t earmarked money in the account; payday is not a good day; yes, if a lot of the assets are in the stock market , its to your advantage to pick a day to submit when the market is low. No, you are not supposed to pick days before the day of submission, for that very reason that you can then pick and choose a favorable day with historical perspective. If you are audited, picked for verification, that can be an issue.

    No , you cannot update the assets unless there is a mistake and the assets you have reported are not correct for that date of submission. The date is etched in stone— there is no moving that so there is no updating. Only if there is a mistake in what you reported on that date.

    You can ask for a revaluation of your financial aid packages, but you are not likely to get any traction about volatility of assets. It’s your parents choice to put their money in such investments. That’s just too bad if the assets tank; do you expect to get your financial aid reduced if your assets increase? Colleges can’t be constantly revising aid packages for this reason.
    · Reply · Share
  • BelknapPointBelknapPoint 4408 replies16 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 5
    As far as I understand I have to compile a snapshot of all our stock holdings when submitting FAFSA. Am I required to provide an accurate snapshot of my assets exactly the same day I file FAFSA or there is some time window when I can do this? What happens if I make that snapshot say on October 1st and file FAFSA on October 5th?

    All of your asset values should be based on the same day ("snapshot"). I don't think it's necessary to actually file the FAFSA on the exact day that you value all your assets, but you can't cherry pick different days to value different parts of your portfolio.

    Can I update my FAFSA after I file it if stock market drops and so the value of my assets?

    No. And the schools don't expect you to update FAFSA if the market goes up and so does the value of your assets.

    When I file FAFSA I indicate which colleges it will be "sent" to. I assume no data is actually "sent" and the colleges I specify are just granted access to my FAFSA, so if I update it, they will see the updated information. Is this assumption valid?

    You can update if you make an error, but you can't update just because your assets decrease in value.

    My assets have critical impact on how much I will be paying for college. If value of my assets drops after my kid is admitted and I get financial package from the college together with the acceptance letter, can I request re-evaluation of the financial package before or after the acceptance?

    You can request anything you want, but any school that will offer you a reevaluation for need-based financial aid purposes just because the market went down will probably also want to do a reevaluation if the market goes up.

    Seriously -- pick a day, value your equity assets as of the last market close, and live with it. There are no do-overs because you happened to get unlucky and picked a day right before the market crashed.
    edited September 5
    · Reply · Share
  • blossomblossom 9757 replies9 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    It is perfectly legal- and probably prudent from a cash flow perspective, since you'll be paying tuition bills in the near future- to convert some of your volatile investments to something safer. Yes, you'll lose out on the upside. But you'll be sheltered if the market takes a huge whack (not talking day to day volatility- but a big hit which could take months to regain).

    Are you fully invested in your 401K at work, do you have an adequate cash flow/emergency account in a money market? Why keep all your assets in a volatile account when college bills will be coming due?
    · Reply · Share
  • Al73Al73 60 replies20 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    So if FAFSA can only be updated if I made an error, does it mean it is locked after I submitted it and how it is unlocked to correct the error? Do I need to specify anywhere why I am updating the FAFSA?
    · Reply · Share
  • BelknapPointBelknapPoint 4408 replies16 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    So if FAFSA can only be updated if I made an error, does it mean it is locked after I submitted it and how it is unlocked to correct the error? Do I need to specify anywhere why I am updating the FAFSA?

    It sounds like you're looking for a way to decrease an asset amount previously reported on FAFSA in the event the market takes a down turn. That's a bad idea.
    · Reply · Share
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29210 replies57 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    You cannot refile FAFSA for the same school year. You can correct mistakes on it, yes. But you cannot change the filing date, and the assets on there are required to be as of the date filed, not a few days earlier or later. For investments, it’s the market value that day. Too bad if the value goes way down thereafter. Good for you if they go way up. Too bad if your pay check was just deposited and your mortgage for the month not paid, or you have an insurance settlement going towards roof repair sitting there.

    Some exceptions for unreimbursed paid medical expenses have been made at the discretion of the financial aid officers. Loss of job can get considerations. But, no, you can’t get a different date for assets or change of situation after the FAFSA is filed. You can advise the financial aid officers for determination if some event does warrant changes, but investing in volatile assets are a choice you or parents made, and any losses from such investments are absorbed by your family.
    · Reply · Share
  • SybyllaSybylla 3687 replies47 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 6
    If you have such a vast amount of money in the market, that day to day volatility is big $$, like as not FA isn't going to be a thing. Have you tried a guess and check fafsa to see whether all your worries are irrelevant? If you are doing a lot of trading, this kind of anxiety is odd. If all your college funds are high risk, just set up a CD ladder and be FDIC insured. You are asking if colleges will forgive your gambling debt LOL. Are you the child or the parent? If you are the child, you need to talk to your parent.
    edited September 6
    · Reply · Share
  • coolguy40coolguy40 2064 replies2 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    That's something you'll need to talk to a professional financial planner about.
    · Reply · Share
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29210 replies57 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    coolguy40 wrote: »
    That's something you'll need to talk to a professional financial planner about.

    Not really. It's a straight forward rule of FAFSA"s that you cannot change your date of filing. So you are stuck with the market value of the assets as of that date of filing. If selected for verification ,and they check the assets, they will check value of investments on that date. Not the day before, the week before, so don't have parents fill it out and then file, because with a volatile market, the values can be different. Otherwise, people can just pick a date in the past when the market was down instead of date of filing. You can hold off filing date until the market tanks, however.. The rules are clear on this.

    $100K in investments can equal impact less than $6k on the EFC. The way the market has been swinging, and can tank that $100k can dwindle to very little, and still stick the OP with that $6K. With colleges costing up to and beyond $80K a year, those kind of costs, can qualify people with some nice nest eggs for financial aid.

    · Reply · Share
  • SybyllaSybylla 3687 replies47 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 6
    >>>>>>>The way the market has been swinging, and can tank that $100k>>>>

    That is entirely hyperbolic.
    .SPX
    Timeperiod .SPX Returns
    5 Day +1.86%
    1 Month +3.44%
    3 Months +3.74%
    YTD +18.91%
    1 Year +3.57%

    https://www.macrotrends.net/2488/sp500-10-year-daily-chart
    edited September 6
    · Reply · Share
  • thumper1thumper1 74205 replies3245 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @Al73

    If you go into the FAFSA to update, there will be fields open that you can update. There will be fields you can NOT update...unless you made an error, and there will be fields that can’t be updated...period.

    If you are so concerned regarding the volatility of your assets, I would suggest you meet with your financial planner ASAP and find a less volatile investment for at least a portion of that money. Of course, you will kick yourself if the market had a boom...but you need to make a choice.

    It sounds like you want to have your cake (big stock market portfolio if market is high) but have less money on your financial aid application asset section in the hopes you will get increased aid.

    Here is a big reality check. Your income is the primary driver of federally funded need based aid. You need to have an income of less than $50,000 to be guaranteed a large portion of the Pell Grant. Most people with huge stock investments have higher family incomes than $50,000 a year.

    No one has a crystal ball. No one here can tell you when or if the stocks will tank...or not.

    · Reply · Share
  • blossomblossom 9757 replies9 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I have a crystal ball. If you try to time the market with your portfolio AND time financial aid with the date of your FAFSA AND try to meet all your financial obligations with your cash flow if you don't have any assets in a 401K, 529, IRA, etc. you are going to either leave money on the table OR end up holding the short end of the stick. Depends on how much sleep you got in October 1987, October and November of 2008, etc.

    Me? I'd rather have a balanced set of assets with a mix of growth, stability, FDIC insured, hedged against something wacky happening with the dollar/Euro, rather than have everything in equities which as the OP has stated- are volatile. But I'm old, and I've seen this rodeo before. I have neighbors who sadly had the trifecta happen in 2008. He worked for Lehman, she worked for Bear Stearns, their retirement portfolio was in company stock AND the value of their house plummeted so they were underwater.

    No thank you. Plan for the worst.
    · Reply · Share
Sign In or Register to comment.

Recent Activity