Must student see FAFSA?

I understand and agree, but that doesn’t mean that the student doesn’t have a right to see the completed FAFSA/SAR, and without much effort could get access to the information that they have a right to see. Because technically and legally, it is the student, not a parent, who is providing the information and submitting the form.

The IRS imported info is blocked out. It drives me nuts because there’s no way to verify it’s correct. You just have to trust DRT.

Ok; that’s a change from my last experience. Probably because of security concerns. However, as ClassicMom98 points out above, pertinent parent financial information that has not been transferred by DRT will still be visible: individual parent income, asset information, etc.

I completed the FAFSA form with my son the way the instructions say we should: my son is the primary user and has his own login. I took care of the parental section of the FAFSA form using the “Save Key” (shared password on top of our own private logins) that my son picked and shared with me for that purpose. We both signed the form electronically.

As @ClassicMom98 stated, the information retrieved using the IRS DRT tool is encrypted, but one has to manually input the W2 wages from each parent in the FAFSA form (I assume because the 1040 form aggregates wages from both parents), as well as parental assets. So the student can see the wages from each parent and the combined parental assets. The only thing the student cannot directly see is unearned income.

I found it a bit awkward to have to share all that information with him, but I guess it helped him understand why going after merit was important to us.

And once the form is submitted, only the student gets to see the SAR. I had to ask my son to send me a copy.

@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.

The FAFSA form will also include the wages from each parent which are not imported by the DRT (because they cannot currently be imported from the IRS) but entered manually.

I just looked at DS’s SAR and for questions 86 (Father’s/Mother’s/Stepparent’s) 2018 Income Earned from Work), it Just says “Transferred from IRS”

@cshell2 Not sure about the SAR as I don’t have it readily available, but in this year’s FAFSA form (like last year), under “Parent Financials”, we get the questions “How much did your Parent 1 (father/mother/stepparent) earn from working (wages, salaries, tips, etc.) in 2018?” and “How much did your Parent 2 (father/mother/stepparent) earn from working (wages, salaries, tips, etc.) in 2018?”. And the (manual) answers to those questions show in the “FAFSA summary”. Maybe those questions only pop if the parents file a joint tax return (in which case the DRT cannot retrieve individual incomes as they are aggregated in the tax return)?

@NJEngineerDad if the parents are married and didn’t file a joint return, they cannot use the IRS DRT because it won’t import both parent info.

@BelknapPoint as noted, the info transferred using the DRT is not visible when one reviews the form. But it should be correct assuming the info on the tax return is correct!

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. Do you plan to keep your kid’s log in information a secret forever?

The easiest way to avoid having your kid see your FAFSA information is to NOT file a FAFSA. Have your kid look at colleges that award merit aid without having to file financial aid forms. There are way more of those than ones that do require the financial aid forms be filed. That way your student won’t ever need to see your income.

That’s probably it. I don’t file a joint return.

@thumper1 I meant that maybe if the parents are not (currently) married and that the FAFSA therefore only needs the income of only one parent, then maybe the DRT can be used to retrieve the income earned from work (and then it would simply states transferred from IRS instead of asking the question)? Only thing I can tell for sure in that in our case we file married jointly and the wages have to be entered manually, and the student can see them… @cshell2 are you filling by yourself? [edit: noted that the answer is yes - so that seems to be the explanation]

Yes, not married. I file HOH.

Yes, I know that and I am not questioning that. I mentioned that in years past, the DRT transferred numbers did appear on the SAR, but that is apparently no longer the case. In any event, there is still FAFSA-required parent financial information that is not masked through use of DRT, the type of which perhaps depends on the parent filing status.

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 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.

@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.

My typo…should say…I Hope most kid DON’T have this attitude!

And this is where I would think being open and honest would come into play. Explain that the money is needed for your retirement and off limits for college. End of discussion.

If my kid started crying, “No fair” at that I’d be pretty upset I’d raised such an entitled brat. Of course if someone is sitting on millions and telling their kid they can only afford 20K/year for school I might agree with them. ?

It seems to me that these talks about what you can or will pay towards college should start years before they ever fill out a single application.

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.

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.