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Ok, Should we fill out FAFSA on Jan 1 with estimates or not?

Jfils98Jfils98 Registered User Posts: 12 New Member
This has come up a few times, so why not make a thread about it since Jan is so soon.

On one side I have heard that the earlier you fill out the form, the more money you will have a chance at. Will your award possibility change much by waiting until Mid February after taxes?

From the FAFSA Website:
If you are filing a 2008 income tax return, we recommend that you complete your tax return before filling out the 2009-2010 FAFSA. Note that you do not have to actually send your tax return to the IRS before filling out the FAFSA. You can submit your FAFSA using estimated income and tax information. However, after you file your tax return you must correct any income or tax information that is different from what you submitted on your original FAFSA.

On the other hand I have heard that estimated tax information will simply cause much delay in the long run.

From another forum, but it makes sense:
If you do your fafsa on January 1st, you almost guarantee you'll be selected for verification (because FAFSA knows you don't have your taxes done) and being selected for verification can sometimes delay your aid even more (depending on how quickly you can gather all the documents they want).

Remember, NO school is going to create a financial aid "Award Letter" for you based on information you submit on January 1st because they know your information is estimated (AKA WRONG!) as well. Again, no school is going to issue you an award letter based on information you submit on January 1st. They will wait until you get through all the corrections before anything is calculated. FAFSA doesn't want to know you made around 12,000 last year. They want to know you made 12,531 dollars exactly. Anything else you submit is wrong.

Best to do it right ONCE and correct the first time than 3 or 4 times when you can't figure out how to do the corrections and you get selected for verification.

But it also depends on your schools Financial Aid deadline, if you can get everything filled out BEFORE the priority deadline correctly, I believe it will be more beneficial. If your taxes will be filled after your schools priority deadline DO NOT wait, estimate.
Post edited by Jfils98 on

Replies to: Ok, Should we fill out FAFSA on Jan 1 with estimates or not?

  • R124687R124687 Registered User Posts: 1,513 Senior Member
    Well, this speaks to FAFSA only, but...if CSS Profile is added - some of those are DUE by Feb 1st. So you CAN'T really wait. And, if they want you to do it with estimates, they must be LOOKING at those estimates. Yet, why spin their wheels if the data will change? Some will file extensions and not even have their taxes done by 4/15...far too late to "change" estimates. ?? I myself am PUSHING my accountant. He said, though they're updating software the first two weeks...he'll take me on week 3. With one Profile due 2/1...I'll have about a day or two to get all FAFSA done so I can use those figures to complete the CSS on time. There HAS to be something about this which I don't understand.
  • scottaascottaa Registered User Posts: 1,037 Senior Member
    It depends upon the schools' financial aid priority deadlines. If you can get your paperwork finished before the deadlines with the completed returns, then go ahead and wait. If it will be close or you can't make the deadlines, then file based upon estimates.

This discussion has been closed.