The Department of Education recently announced changes to FAFSA verification aimed to help make the process less burdensome.
In lieu of IRS tax return transcripts and verification of non-filing forms, the guidance allows institutions to accept copies of signed income tax returns and written statements of non-filing from students who are selected for FAFSA verification. The changes are effective immediately and apply to both the 2018-19 and 2019-20 cycles.
Many college fairs are held during the fall. They provide a great opportunity for high school students and their parents or guardians to talk with college admission representatives. At two annual college fairs I am familiar with, financial aid representatives have a booth and talk about local scholarship options. Unfortunately, their booths are not very busy while admission representatives have many students waiting to discuss admission requirements. Usually the reps whose colleges are the most competitive and have the most well-known names have the longest lines.
In many instances, top students wait in long lines for well-known colleges because they have been encouraged to apply. Student GPAs and test scores can assist with the admission process, but there is a catch. Because most of the students applying to these colleges will also have impressive academic backgrounds, the colleges may not offer a generous financial award package to each student. Every college does things differently.
In many homes, filling out the FAFSA is a family affair.
Although students are always encouraged to take the lead when it comes to applying to colleges, they are often required to work in conjunction with their parents or guardians to provide information about their family’s income and other factors when seeking financial aid.
With that in mind, the US Department of Education recently published a blog post with tips to help families navigate the FAFSA process.
Most high school students and their parents are unaware of the actual cost of college, according to a new report from the National Center for Education Statistics. And when they do hazard a guess as to how much it will take to enroll, they often overestimate the price of higher education.
“There may be serious consequences to being uninformed and unsure about college costs and financial aid,” according to the report. “For example, uncertainty about college costs and the availability of financial aid has been associated with underenrollment among low-income and minority students.”
The study looked at students’ perceptions of tuition and fees at a public, four-year college in their state. The findings suggest teens need earlier and better information related to college costs.