FAFSA questions for 2022-2023 filers

We filled out FAFSA last week & my D22 received a confirmation it was submitted. She never received a confirmation it was processed nor, I believe, a SAR (though this being our first time at the rodeo not exactly sure what the SAR should look like). It was pretty hard to find, but upon logging into the FAFSA site it seems to indicate it was processed successfully the day after it was submitted (more than a week ago now). She hasn’t applied anywhere yet - November 1 deadlines - so no school portals to check to see if they got it. Should I just relax and assume everything is ok or follow up?

PS - one reason I’m concerned is I didn’t use the DRT so I’m prepared to be flagged for verification. I believe the SAR is where they do that (or I believe through the individual schools?)? I just couldn’t bring myself to submit a form like that without being able to check the numbers.

Schools can flag you for verification. If that happens, you will hear from the college(s) directly, and will also hear exactly what they want you to send. Was there some reason you couldn’t use the DRT?

I’m trying to use the DRT, but once I get to the IRS website and enter in my address, I get this message:
“We are unable to provide you with your Federal Income Tax Information. Please contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit (IPSU) at 800-908-4490.”
And of course when I call this number, they’re unable to take my call because of the high volume. Anyone else dealing with this???

I can’t remember what things look like when the student logs into her FAFSA account. Is there an option to view the SAR within the account? If so, look at the EFC (top right hand corner, I believe). Is there an asterisk next to it? If not, she hasn’t been selected for verification by the processor.

It’s possible that a school might want all of its students/parents to is the DRT, but I doubt many do that. It’s a big pain to do that, and it’s probably not worth it for the school. Some schools do select students for verification, and if they do, they’ll want the DRT to be used. To be honest, if the processor didn’t select your D for verification, I don’t see why you need to use the DRT at this point.

Have you experienced identity theft? The notification from the IRS sounds as if you have. I would not worry about the DRT unless your D has been selected for verification or a school asks her to have you use it to transfer your tax information.

I’m too type A not to be able to see and verify the numbers. I’d rather enter them myself. My finances are uncomplicated so if I get picked for verification it shouldn’t be a huge deal. I mean I’d rather not, obviously, but I answered everything honestly, took screenshots of accounts, etc., have my W-2s and tax returns, so I could definitely respond relatively easily if I had to. I did log in and find the SAR (I think) - the EFC is in the first paragraph of the letter and I didn’t see an asterisk but now I’m thinking I should go back and see if it’s also up in the right hand corner. Looks like one school has asked for tax returns and W-2s to be sent directly but it’s a school that doesn’t have early action so she’s waiting to apply until she sees what happens with her ED school so I’ll wait on that one. I don’t know if they ask everyone to do it or not. I did see that I had a correction started - probably from poking around in there when the processing email didn’t show up - so I was able to cancel that & everything went back to green/successfully submitted. Maybe next year I’ll be less paranoid and use the DRT. I just wish you could see the numbers and confirm them - even after the fact would be fine!

The only thing you need to watch for when using the DRT…you must answer a question on the FAFSA and check a teeny box IF you do a tax deferred retirement rollover. The rollover will be included as income if you don’t do this.

Otherwise, the DRT takes the info right from your filed tax return and you avoid any verification of information from those. If I were a betting woman, I’d say you are going to receive verification requests regarding your tax return info from just about every school…they need to be assured that what is on your taxes is the same as what is on your FAFSA .

Once your FAFSA is processed, you can go in and use the DRT, I believe. Just FYI.


Some schools routinely request copies of the tax returns and W2 forms. That is not federal verification, which requires that you use the DRT. Rather, it’s the school exercising the option to look more closely at each family’s financial situation. When my kids applied for financial aid, it was the schools that had more need based aid to offer that required tax returns. Neither of my kids was ever selected for verification, but my D’s school requested tax returns every year.

That’s interesting that I could use DRT now in theory after it’s processed. If I feel inspired at some point maybe I’ll look into that. I definitely think the school listed asks for verification from everyone the way it was indicated; it also asked for the student’s tax returns and W2 even though we clearly marked she hadn’t worked or received any income in 2020 (COVID - she worked in 2019 and 2021 but not 2020). So it appeared pretty automatic. They hadn’t had time to pick our FAFsa out fir anything special nor have they contacted us directly (which makes sense since D hasn’t even applied).

The SAR used to come up at the end of the FAFSA, right when you file. Maybe it only did that with the DRT (which I did) but as I was going through it would process and then ask if you’d like to save a copy, so I always did.

This info is a few years old, so things may have changed, but for a time you had to use the EXACT same address as on your tax return, so if it said 123 South Main Street, putting in 123 S. Main St. might be enough to throw it off. Also, if you filed jointly, it wanted the tax payer listed first to be the ‘FAFSA’ parent. I know they were working on that.

It’s frustrating. When I had to get FSA ID’s, it took me 2 tries for me and 3 for one daughter. I couldn’t see what I was doing wrong so just wiped out all the info and started fresh and it worked.

Hi - @thumper1. I am looking for some insight regarding my two children’s financial aid. The eldest one is going to be a senior, graduating next year. At the same time, our middle child will entering her freshman year. Will his graduation have an impact on her financial aid. We are also wondering how her four year financial aid is going to turn out. Our eldest one had sufficient FA, grants, and scholarships to cover his undergrad, because we are low income. He will be graduating with an engineering degree. We are wondering how salary prospects will after our daughter’s financial aid throughout. However, I do know that FAFSA goes by two tax years prior, so if I am not mistaken, they will consider our family situation when he was listed as a dependent. He becomes a dependent when he is 24.

So for our daughters FA journey, I look at like this:

Freshman (2020 taxes) (2022-2023 FAFSA)
Sophomore(2021 taxes) (2023-2024 FAFSA)
Junior (2022 taxes) (2024-2025 FAFSA) (22 years old) (Son is still dependent)
Senior (2023 taxes) (2025-2026 FAFSA) (23 years old) (Son is still dependent)

I’d appreciate any insight if my reasoning is correct, or if Financial aid goes by another methodology.

@Kanika_D we also had only one year overlap in college with our kids. You need to specifically ask each college what will happen when the older child graduates from college. Our older one went to grad school, and the younger ones school still counted him as a student. But most colleges won’t.

On the FAFSA form, you put who will be in college for the year of that FAFSA…not who is listed as a dependent on your taxes. So if your older child will no longer be in college…that number will be ONE…not two.

If your younger kid goes to a college that guarantees to meet full need for all, this could matter…and your family contribution will go up for that younger kid in most cases. There are a few colleges that lock your aid for all four years…but not that many.

On the FAFSA form, we put one student that goes to college for our eldest son, so for next year, when simultaneously when both go to college, I am assuming the EFC will be cut in half (or has that changed because of the new FAFSA law in effect?) then the EFC will go up, because now we have one kid in college, not TWO. But, won’t the EFC or amount we ended up paying for our eldest child, be roughly the same for our daughter, given assets, and income remain same?

So, in the FAFSA form, there was ONE child, listed in college,
always when applying for FA for our eldest son (because he was the only child). Same will be the case
for our daughter eventually, when her brother graduates, so won’t our EFC per year remain the same, because it’s still ONE child?

I think you mean he becomes independent (for taxes) when he turns 24, which may or may not be the case. Age is not the only thing that determines whether or not a child can still be claimed as a tax dependent. For instance, and generally speaking, if your son provided over half of his own support for the tax year, he cannot be claimed as a dependent on your tax return, even if he is not yet 24.

Yes, I mean independent.

That depends completely on the financial aid policies of the college your daughter attends. Even colleges that meet full need for all have varying ways to compute your family contribution. This net cost can vary by many thousands of dollars. If the college your daughter attends doesn’t have a guarantee to meet full need for all, you might not see an increase in need based aid…at all.

In addition, college costs are increasing. If your younger child has a merit award that is a certain dollar amount for all four years…that won’t change in most cases even IF costs increase.

The EFC being cut in half thing goes away anyway for the 2023-2024 academic year and FAFSA…but by that time you will only have one in college anyway.

The size of your FAFSA household will change when your son graduates, if you no longer provide more than half of his support. That will have an impact on the FAFSA EFC.

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And….the FAFSA EFC should not be viewed as your net cost for any college. It should be viewed as the minimum you will be paying.

Most colleges that meet full need for all require the CSS Profile as well.

Here is a thought…look at a college net price calculator. Run it with two in college…then run it with one in college. This will only be an estimate…but it will give you a rough idea. Just keep in mind…financial aid policies do change and what you find now could be different by the time your daughter actually enrolls.