Beat the FAFSA Deadline? Check!
We got the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) filled out for my son yesterday, beating the “financial aid goes early” deadline of Feb. 14th we were given in the financial aid presentation for Arizona state colleges by a week. (You can actually apply anytime between January 1st and June 30th — see the student aid deadlines page for more information.)
At any rate the process was surprisingly painless, since the site walked us through common questions. I was allowed to input estimates for our 2010 taxes (which was great because there’s no way we could possibly have them done this early). We just need to go back in later and revise them with our final numbers.
I also learned a surprising thing: you don’t have to count retirement funds as assets for financial aid purposes. So, yet another reason to sock away money for retirement!
I don’t actually think my son is likely to qualify for financial aid (at least not grants) but his school urged everyone to fill it out, even if they don’t believe they will qualify, so I figured we’d give it a shot. Worst case is I’ve lost a little time collecting and inputting information. I do know though that schools use it as part of the process of awarding scholarships, so that’s another potential benefit.
So one more thing down in the countdown to college for my son. Now he just needs to fill out a few more scholarship applications…