Must student see FAFSA?

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.

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.

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.

@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

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)?

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.