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Must student see FAFSA?

2

Replies to: Must student see FAFSA?

  • thumper1thumper1 76122 replies3358 threads Senior Member
    edited October 2019
    I would hope that most kids do have a “you have all this money, pay for college” attitude...as that sounds very entitled.

    Plus regardless of how much money a family has, it is a family decision how much money will be allocated for college costs.

    Set a budget with your student. That is very important info for them to have.

    But back to the question. @carlsen which colleges require the financial aid forms for merit aid? Having that info will help other students and families here.
    edited October 2019
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  • mom517mom517 84 replies9 threads Junior Member
    @thumper1 Most kids probably don't have this attitude but some do despite the best of efforts. If you don't have one count your blessings. Reason does not work.
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  • thumper1thumper1 76122 replies3358 threads Senior Member
    My typo...should say...I Hope most kid DON’T have this attitude!
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 23668 replies17 threads Senior Member
    IIRC, the same log in information is also used for the Direct Loan promissory note as well as exit counseling when the student graduates. And for accessing account info for repayment purposes.

    The student doesn't need the information for the loans. Both my kids graduated, have loans, and have not needed their log-in/ID information to do the master promissory note or exit counseling. I know this because neither asked for it and I'm the only one who has it all. The switch to the FSA ID program with all the passwords was made in 2015, while they were in school. I did it all from my computer. We tried to do it separately and there were too many mistakes in the email addresses and with the log ins. It took me three tries to get the FSA ID for me and for one daughter.

    My kids wanted me to do it all so I did. I'd get them on the phone and say "I did this (FAFSA or taxes) and I'm going to push the send button. Are you good with this?" and they were as it meant they got money for college and they didn't have to do any work.

    Last year my working daughter did her own taxes for the first time. She realized what a pain it is to even do the easiest of returns.

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  • Al73Al73 115 replies29 threads Junior Member
    cshell2 wrote: »
    @carlsen -

    Would your kids even care?

    I'm a pretty open book with finances with my kids so my son filled out the FAFSA with me next to him giving him the numbers he needed for the parent section and I'm pretty sure that 3 weeks later he couldn't even give you a close approximation of what any of those numbers were. If I would have filled it out myself there's just no way he'd take the time to look up what was entered. All the DRT info is blocked out anyhow, so it would just be the assets that could be seen if he bothered.


    well, it depends on the kid and the family situation.

    If a family has a lot in unprotected assets (instead of retirement acct)or has a high income but lots of expenses, then the child might think, “hey, you have all this money, so you should pay for my college pick.”

    sure if a family has a modest income, modest/low assets, it’s probably not a big deal. but I’m sure my dad wouldn’t have wanted us to see the value of my parents’ stock portfolio because of how we kids may have perceived it. That money was their future retirement.

    I agree with this. In the whole world only two people know our finances: my wife and me. even our CPA who does our taxes knows only part of overall picture.

    I wish those who designed FAFSA/CSS profile could design this process differently where parents can submit their financial info discretely without kids involvement or visibility.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29876 replies59 threads Senior Member
    A student does not MUST see FAFSA, but is supposed to be responsible for the info on it, though clearly most of the time, the parent(s) have to complete their part of the form. I forced each of ours to sit through the completion of it, though I doubt they had any interest in the information. They certainly showed none.

    However, even if the DRT info is not visible on the SAR, most any college kids could get a good idea of what the info is on These financial forms if they were so motivated. If it’s really important that this information does not get leaked, filing the forms may not be a good idea.

    In our case, we were selected for verification a couple of times and I had to submit all kinds of info directly to the college FA office. Ran into the FA officer to whom I handed the stuff the next day at a Starbucks. If this were truly sensitive information, I would not have been comfortable—turned out he knew a number of my older kids peers and friends, people we know. If he had loose lips... but that’s often the case when you have to give out this sort of info. Recently refinanced our house and they wanted to know EVERYTHING regarding our finances.
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  • BelknapPointBelknapPoint 4695 replies17 threads Senior Member
    I wish those who designed FAFSA/CSS profile could design this process differently where parents can submit their financial info discretely without kids involvement or visibility.

    The student is inherently involved in the process of applying for need-based aid for their own education. Parents are first in line with their child to pay for college. You're ok with an unknown financial aid person seeing your personal financial information, but not one of your own own kids? I don't get it, but hey, different strokes for different folks. Parents who are so concerned about disclosing salary and asset information to their own kids have an obvious and easy option -- don't provide the information to anyone, and be full pay or rely on merit aid that doesn't require parent financial information.

    Seriously, I'm curious as to why some parents are so reluctant in sharing family financial information with a young adult child when the issue is the ability of the parent(s) (or lack thereof) to help fund the child's college education. Is the goal not to disclose high wealth that the child may not be aware of? If so, that would seem to significantly lessen the chances of the child receiving any need-based aid. Why then even bother applying for the aid? Is the current or soon-to-be college student not mature enough to handle the information discreetly? That would point to bigger issues that need to be addressed. Have parents been living beyond their means and don't want a child to know this? Honesty is always the best policy.

    I'm not trying to be judgmental. I don't doubt that there are legitimate reasons for wanting to keep parent financial information from a child, even when doing so may severely limit a child's choice in higher education. As I said above, I'm genuinely curious as to why this might happen.
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  • NJEngineerDadNJEngineerDad 185 replies1 threads Junior Member
    @BelknapPoint In my case the reason for being somewhat reluctant in sharing family financial information is mostly cultural. In some cultures (for example with Catholic and/or socialist influence), talking about money is quite taboo. I assume that this is an important factor for a lot of foreign born parents.

    You might want to read https://qz.com/691771/in-france-talking-about-money-is-more-taboo-than-talking-about-sex/
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  • BelknapPointBelknapPoint 4695 replies17 threads Senior Member
    In my case the reason for being somewhat reluctant in sharing family financial information is mostly cultural.

    Does this cultural reluctance apply equally to a close family member (such as a young adult child) and a stranger (for instance, a college financial aid person)?
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  • NJEngineerDadNJEngineerDad 185 replies1 threads Junior Member
    In my case the reluctance applies more to a close family member (e.g. young adult child but also parents or siblings) and friends than to a stranger which has a good reason for having access to that information. To me a college financial aid person is to money what a doctor is to sex. I have no problem discussing matters with those professionals that I would not in public.
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  • BelknapPointBelknapPoint 4695 replies17 threads Senior Member
    edited October 2019

    Interesting article. Superstition is cited as one of the cultural factors. Personally, reasoning and logic are more appealing to me.

    The photo of the Luxembourg Palace and the surrounding gardens brings back memories. My family enjoyed a nice picnic lunch there at the end of a Paris trip. And no, we didn't discuss family finance matters while we were having our meal (at least not that I remember).
    edited October 2019
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  • NJEngineerDadNJEngineerDad 185 replies1 threads Junior Member
    @BelknapPoint Indeed cultural factors can be strange. But the article is very much correct in my opinion. And congratulations for recognizing the Luxembourg Palace!

    That reminds me that when my son was in High School (or more likely Middle School - can't remember) the school gave us the option to excuse him from "health class" (aka sex ed). To me it was completely ridiculous that the school could allow the parents to refuse that their child(ren) attend such important class. But I heard that a few parents were considering signing the waiver as they were very reluctant to have their child(ren) exposed to such topic.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35114 replies398 threads Senior Member
    I did the Fafsa and CSS and later reviewed with D1. I didn't show or tell her numbers (income, etc,) but explained the sources, resources, and other considerations they use. My email address was listed for her. The SAR came to me.

    I think we have to face that many, many kids are neither interested enough to go snoop, nor competent to take on the full responsibility for the paperwork. We were looking for FA, not merit. It was too important.

    And as for them being young adults, not really. Their experiences are limited, they've never filled out forms like this (nor a complex app, for that matter,) and can't apply savvy they do not have. They don't even know the lingo. It's very much YMMV, depending on the kids. (And plenty of low income kids do take this responsibility, we know.)

    As for dollar figures, openness about income and assets, it's not the big growth marker some think. We decided to wait until they could grasp things, with perspective. AND laid out all our estate documents with what they'd need to know. They know where that is, have never expressed interest.
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  • coolguy40coolguy40 2538 replies3 threads Senior Member
    Yes, you need to put that information in the FAFSA if you expect the scholarship to happen. Otherwise your child will lose it. Is that financial information accessible? Yes, technically it is, but I doubt an 18 year old out of high school is really going to understand it. I don't see how it's going to matter since his school is paid for anyway.
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  • Al73Al73 115 replies29 threads Junior Member
    I wish those who designed FAFSA/CSS profile could design this process differently where parents can submit their financial info discretely without kids involvement or visibility.

    The student is inherently involved in the process of applying for need-based aid for their own education. Parents are first in line with their child to pay for college. You're ok with an unknown financial aid person seeing your personal financial information, but not one of your own own kids? I don't get it, but hey, different strokes for different folks. Parents who are so concerned about disclosing salary and asset information to their own kids have an obvious and easy option -- don't provide the information to anyone, and be full pay or rely on merit aid that doesn't require parent financial information.

    Seriously, I'm curious as to why some parents are so reluctant in sharing family financial information with a young adult child when the issue is the ability of the parent(s) (or lack thereof) to help fund the child's college education. Is the goal not to disclose high wealth that the child may not be aware of? If so, that would seem to significantly lessen the chances of the child receiving any need-based aid. Why then even bother applying for the aid? Is the current or soon-to-be college student not mature enough to handle the information discreetly? That would point to bigger issues that need to be addressed. Have parents been living beyond their means and don't want a child to know this? Honesty is always the best policy.

    I'm not trying to be judgmental. I don't doubt that there are legitimate reasons for wanting to keep parent financial information from a child, even when doing so may severely limit a child's choice in higher education. As I said above, I'm genuinely curious as to why this might happen.

    No, it is actually parents who take most loans and carry the burden of paying for college.

    What you are saying about "limit a child's choice in higher education" is complete nonsense. Eligibility for any aid and overall college affordability for the family has nothing to do with desire to keep parents' financial info confidential and restricted to parents themselves. For instance, we do not disclose to our tax preparer our entire financial picture, only as little as needed to file our tax return. We do not tell him our assets, only our taxable income. Does this mean we should forego all deductions we are entitled to?

    The problem here is because the process is poorly designed. It should has been split into two processes: child fills in his or her part and parents independently fill in their part. Then child receives a notification after parents provided all their info: "Based on the information your parents provided your EFC is X, and you are eligible for the following aid (if any)". Child does not need to know any further details.

    We always closely guarded our finances. We consider them as private as our intimate live and they are nobody's business but our own.

    Our children while they are very serious and in general mature are not mature financially. They do not know or understand all expenses we have and if they see our assets or income without context, they will not be able to process it correctly. They may see, "wow, our parents have million dollar in assets and $250K in income. We are rich, we can afford anything." No, we are not rich and we cannot afford $280k for college. 17 old child who never dealt with rather complex financial life simply cannot process all these details.
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  • MWolfMWolf 1862 replies13 threads Senior Member
    edited October 2019
    The problem is that, in the USA, there is a contradictory attitude towards the adulthood of kids at 18. On one hand, they are considered independent adults, and required to fill out their college forms by themselves. On the other hand, they are considered to be extensions of their parents, when it comes to determining how much a kid can pay for college. I understand the reasons behind this, however, it does result in situations like this.

    Either the kid is a dependent of the parents, and as such the university needs to deal directly with the parents, or the kid is an independent adult, and their status should not be dependent on the financial situation of any other independent adults (except, perhaps, a spouse).

    I think that, so long as a kid's expected contribution is dependent on their parent's assets and income, the college should deal directly with the parents to have the parents provide that information.

    Also, can somebody explain to me why parents are expected to financially support their kid's education after the kid is 18, when the law only considers parental child support to be required until the age of 18?
    edited October 2019
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  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 13213 replies247 threads Senior Member
    Like some other posters here, I did the FAFSA/CSS paperwork so my kids didn't see my part. I got their info from them (their w2s from jobs, mainly). So they didn't see it, though that wasn't the reason I did it.

    D's final year she appealed her FA and as she was AT the school, she had to do it herself, in person. I had to send her all the info she needed for the appeal and so she did ultimately see everything.

    In this case, as there won't be any FA, only merit, I doubt your kid will ever see it. Just do it yourself, ask your kid for his/her info for their section and submit.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 23668 replies17 threads Senior Member
    The problem here is because the process is poorly designed. It should has been split into two processes: child fills in his or her part and parents independently fill in their part. Then child receives a notification after parents provided all their info: "Based on the information your parents provided your EFC is X, and you are eligible for the following aid (if any)". Child does not need to know any further details.

    That is exactly what does happen. The glitch is that the student can go back into the FAFSA forms later, into all sections, and see what the parents have entered. I don't think very many do, but maybe some who haven't been kept informed by the parents as to what the family financial situation is do go into the FAFSA and seek out the info.

    If the student and parents do their parts separately, without communication on numbers, who is going to know when a mistake is made?Look at how many parents and kids post on CC asking if there is a mistake in the EFC because it 'seems high'. If the student has no idea what the parents make, he'd have no idea if his EFC should be $20k or $200k. The student wouldn't know if there was a 401k rollover and the box wasn't checked for an additional $300k in income was included (or even worse, $30k and there really is need based income not awarded due to that extra $30k).

    If you don't like the FAFSA system, don't participate. No one is forcing you to. If you don't want your kid looking up your income and shouting out at Thanksgiving dinner "hey Uncle Steve, did you know dad made $300k last year?" then don't fill out FAFSA and thus give up FA, or teach your kid what is private info and to not go digging into the FAFSA after you've filed (and they would have to dig).

    My kids could look all they wanted to at my finances, but that didn't mean they had much of a say in spending it. They each received a budget for college and whether they felt that was fair didn't matter, that's what they got. I then worked very hard on getting them aid to stay within that budget.
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