So, the money that I have left over from my financial aid will be sent to my father’s bank account since I don’t have one yet. And there is a question on the FAFSA form that asks for “student‘s total of cash, savings, and checkings account”. Since the money I had left over from the financial aid money was sent to an account under my father’s name, can I put $0 for “student’s total of cash, savings, and checkings account” for when I fill out the FAFSA for this year?

If the money is from financial aid, as you have indicated, it’s not reported on FAFSA no matter where it is. If it wasn’t financial aid but it was your money, it would be reported on FAFSA even if it was sitting in someone else’s bank account.

IIRC financial aid money doesn’t get included anyway.


But I would suggest you open your own bank account

Correct - money from financial aid refunds is not included on FAFSA.

I second the suggestion to get your own bank account. All college students should have their own bank account.

If you get your own checking account, you need to watch it for refunds and rebilling. I don’t know why but when we set up my daughter’s account with the school, any refunds went to my account (she had had a bank account since a month after she was born). We didn’t think there’d be much activity but there really was a lot.

She joined a sorority after about a month, so her entire meal plan was refunded to me, and then I had to pay the sorority bill. She did a study abroad program her sophomore year and she was already in England when the overage from her FA (basically 100% of the FA) was put in my account and I had to pay the study abroad program (all along we thought the school billed us and paid the program, but no). Her last year she dropped a class and replaced it with another class on the same day. The dropped class processed but the added one didn’t, the school refunded that amount on a Wednesday, and the school billed for the second class on the next Wednesday. I had to send them another $1500, the same $1500 that was just refunded. I received no notice of the amount due, just happened to see the ACH in my bank account and investigated what happened. (“Oh, that happens all the time. Just pay it back.” Well sure, but don’t you think you should let me know?)

You have to watch the charges and credits pretty carefully.

Oh, and if the money is still in your father’s account on ‘FAFSA DAY’, don’t include it in his assets either. Most FA that is ‘left over’ isn’t included.

I am confused when you say that you have money left over from my financial aid. So they gave you more than you needed? That would be nice if true. If that were the case, you may need to report that amount on your tax form (incl the amount that covers your room and board). after you pay the tax on that, then it would be your assets. Again, I have not heard of having money left from school’s FA.


Some students are get refunds from their financial aid. These refunds are NEVER considered assets for FAFSA and financial aid purposes.

Refunds might come because a student receives aid that includes living expenses but lives off campus. Or a student can have merit aid that covers billable costs but still qualifies for a Pell Grant. These are just two reasons a student might get a refund.

Yes, any aid used for room and board is considered taxable income for the student. But that really has nothing to do with financial aid awards or refunds.

My daughter got a refund from her FA. As @thumper1 said, she lived off campus so used her student loan to pay rent. Her school took all her FA and combined it and then paid all the items due (tuition, fees, insurance, and in her case the meal plan) and she got what was left over. Usually what she got back was the loan, but there were a few merit aid things that she could (possibly) get refunded to her (SEOG, Pell). There were also some scholarships or grants that could only be used for tuition, or only for meals, or only for direct billed items by the school, so those couldn’t be refunded.

You can’t just assume the amount refunded is taxable. For D, it was almost all loan money so not taxable. Her meal plan was paid with scholarship money so that was taxable to her. But then she paid for her books with her money so could offset some of the meal money… You just have to keep a chart of what money was used for what, but loans are not taxable and can be refundable.

I forgot about living off the campus situation in which case there would be excess from fa which could incl loan. For my own knowledge, is there a case where if a student is living on campus, that he/she could get excess from fa, unless they take loan in excess of recommended amount? Also, I believe that if you get financial aid award, not incl loans, for you room and board, ie full-ride, you still need to report that as taxable income. No?


Yes, there are cases where the student will get a refund, through FA, even without a loan.

Right now the Florida Benacquisto scholarship covers full tuition, fees, $600 for books, room and board, so almost all students get at least the $600 for books paid to them, and those living off campus get the room and board. But if a student also had a Florida Prepaid account and elects to use that, that would cover tuition and fees, and maybe room and board (the plans differ). The Benacquisto money would then be paid to the student, about $12k per semester. The student would then have to figure out what is taxable. There can also be other scholarships from the school or from outside sources that are stackable. Pretty big check from FA.

There can also be extra money from Pell or other grants given to students. If the student has another scholarship that cover billed costs from the school, the Pell can be refunded to the student.

I was going to start a different thread, but it’s similar along the lines to this one. Depending on what happens in the next few weeks with DS’s college he could end up having to live at home with a lot of excess financial aid…as in excess of what the COA for living at home is listed at. Do they contact you and find out what your living situation is going to be? How do they know if you’re living at home or renting an apartment?

It depends on the school. It’s possible they will find out the true situation & will have to adjust loans.

We don’t know what is going to happen. They postponed move-in 6 days before we were supposed to go to reassess the covid situation. Not sure if he’ll be in the dorms, get an apartment or be at home, but billing is supposed to be next week.

Find out of the school has a different COA for the different living situations as not all schools do.

Find out if the FA will refund money to you if there is excess. My daughter’s school would not refund school funds, but Pell and loans and some outside scholarships could be refunded. My daughter also had two state scholarships that were restricted, the Florida resident could only be used for tuition and BF could be restricted as the college chose. Her school restricted BF to only tuition. If she had lived on campus her last two years, it would have been paid for but they would not give her that money to live off campus.

I know DU has a housing grant, and it can only be used for dorm housing.

@twoinanddone - They list two different COA for resident. One for living at home with parents and one for living in the dorm or apartment. Right now a lot of parents are having their students cancel their dorm contracts and getting them in apartments while there is still availability. DS isn’t ready to make that leap as a freshman, but he might if they don’t let them in the dorms and his roommate wants to do that instead.

I don’t care if they keep the loan, but I would hate for him to lose scholarship money, especially the outside ones he spent a lot of time applying for because of everything changing last minute.

I would be surprised if he will lose scholarship money, unless it’s a scholarship specifically earmarked for housing.