Monday, May 23, 2011

"The Five-Minute FAFSA"

The folks behind the YouTube channel FastWebContent have made a six minute video to help you file your FAFSA. If you ave any trepidation, you should definitely use this video as a tool!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

FAFSA Test Runs

At this point, if you haven't already filed the FAFSA, you may just think of it as a big headache. However, you don't have to rush through it! You can do a test run of FAFSA on the Web by going to and then to the FAFSA demonstration site. This is a good idea, as you will get a preview of the documentation that you (and your parents) will need to complete the form, such as annual tax return, earnings records, Social Security numbers, and so on, and of the amount of time you'll need to fill in the form.
It doesn't cost you anything but time (and some aggravation) to make the FAFSA application. Help in completing the form is available from your high school, the college financial aid office (which often has workshops for parents and students, sometimes at your local high school), and as well as online at

Help For Fafsa

Want help? You don’t have to simply accept the aid that is offered, according to Reecy Aresty of, who specializes in helping you gently negotiate a higher award of money that does not have to be repaid.
Arresty offers a free review of financial aid packages to my readers. If you hire him to negotiate on your behalf, the fee ranges from $195 to $395, depending on the number of schools involved. You can e-mail him at
Says Aresty: “Although May 1 is the deadline for non-refundable deposits at many schools, some families opt to make multiple deposits in order to keep the aid appeals process going beyond May 1.” Aresty notes that if the aid offers are close, it may be worth losing a deposit at one school to gain more grants of money at another.
Signing on for a financial aid package is one of the largest financial decisions any family can make, so do your research and don’t just look at the bottom line. Like your home mortgage, you expect to repay this loan over the years, while the value of the asset — your home or your education— grows over the years. As we’ve all learned, that’s a good idea over the long run — but the payments can be a huge burden over the short run

College tips: stay in state, search for best financial aid package [ChiSunTimes]

Monday, May 2, 2011

FAFSA for Adults

Although 18 is technically when someone is ushered into adulthood, we all know that most 18 year-olds are anything but adults. Not only have they not gone into the world on their own, but they are not financially independent. This means they have to file the FAFSA with their parent’s tax information and can receive loans easily with a co-signer. However, teenagers are not the only ones applying to college nowadays. With the economy forcing people into unemployment and eliminating many entry level jobs, more and more adults 25 years and older are applying to college. In fact, in 2008 these applicants were up 18 percent from the year 2000, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

If you were one of these lucky men and women, you still have the opportunity to file the FAFSA and get all the free money you can for your new college career. Not only does the FAFSA determine your eligibility for government-subsidized or government-sponsored financial aid, other need-based grants and scholarships might ask for your FAFSA, too.

The form doesn’t require information on your debt or mortgage, a factor that may scare some adult filers away. Also, adult students can call the financial aid office and request a “special circumstances” form.  This form allows the school to amend your FAFSA form in a way that might get you more aid. For example the aid office can make an adjustment if your income is likely to be lower than what you had to report because you or your spouse lost a job or your unemployment benefits are about to run out. It will also take into account unusual and sudden increases in expenses, say a temporary increase in medical bills or a child starting private school. Also if your circumstances change while attending, you can revisit the student aid office and they may be able to help you receive more aid.