So I've got what I think is a stupid question, but the FAFSA site doesn't clarify and a bit of Googling came up with equally useless results. So my daughter is currently a Freshman in a *private* university in our home state and she received a reminder email in January that she needed to fill out her online FAFSA application for the upcoming 2017-2018 school year. She ignored it, didn't forward it to me, and didn't tell me about it, and it wasn't on my radar this early in the year that we'd need to do anything (and she's our only child, so going through this process is all new to me).
Anyway, our financial situation is such that we don't qualify for any need-based aid, but we did sign her up for federal Stafford loans for her Freshman year and planned to continue doing that (which, depending on our financial situation when she graduates, we'll likely pay off ourselves - or at least help her in some way). She also gets a scholarship from the university she's attending. But she's not getting any financial aid from the state.
So today I find out that she received that email back in January and I jump over to the FAFSA site and check the deadlines, and I see that the CT deadline was February 15th. My guess is that this is only important if I'm actually applying for some sort of state financial aid, but I'm worried about whether that deadline is something that needs to be met just for filling out the federal FAFSA (i.e., the first letter of FAFSA stands for Federal, so why is the FAFSA site even telling me about state deadlines unless it's somehow important to them?).
Rubl said: First thing, fill it out ASAP. Well, I did, but you haven't really explained why I needed to.
BTW, apparently the IRS DRT tool (which lets you automatically transfer data about your tax returns over to FAFSA) is "down for maintenance." Further Googling suggests that there may have been a security hole that they're trying to fix and it could be down for several weeks. So I had to type it all in manually. Ugh.
Related to that...they changed FAFSA starting this year so that it uses the prior year's tax info. So for this upcoming 2017-2018 school year they want our 2015 tax info. That makes things a lot easier than before, since the last go around I hadn't done my 2015 taxes yet, so I had to estimate it all first, then go back in later and update it. So now I guess I can do it once (and a lot earlier) and not be bothered with it. Except, as I mentioned, IRS DRT is down and I'll probably want to go back in later and sync it up with that to make sure there are no discrepancies.
So I still need to find out about the importance of that state deadline, but now I also have a couple of other questions, largely unrelated...
My daughter didn't have any jobs, but received a scholarship (which does *not* cover the entire tuition). I was planning on claiming her as a dependent and didn't think I'd need to file a tax return for her. It is also my understanding that because she is attending school and the scholarship is less than the tuition costs that this won't need to be reported anywhere. Am I wrong about any of that?
ZenNUTS said: So she got absolutely no loans or need based grant? I guess you can skip it in that case. As I mentioned, she *did* get Federal Stafford loans, but nothing from the state. So, yes, I know that we need to fill out FAFSA for the Stafford loans, but then it seems to me that the federal deadline (which is in June, I believe) might be the only one that would apply to us. I'm still trying to figure out when/if the state deadline would apply.
I mean this with all due respect...if you expect to get any scholarships, loans, grants, etc., you need to get your sh*t together. EVERY university uses the FAFSA, whether aid is need based or merit, state, federal or private. Schools have their own deadline, in Connecticut's case, February 15, and if you don't file the FAFSA by that date, you may not be considered for any assistance at all. If I were you, I'd be calling the school's bursar's office or financial aid office first thing on Monday morning.
I called them today and confirmed my original suspicion. The state deadline was unimportant in my case because I'm not getting any state aid.
I also got confirmation that the merit scholarship did not need to be "agreed to" annually, so we're good on that (so long as she continues to meet the requirements for it in terms of minimal number of credits and GPA).
So, if nothing else, hopefully my post here will be useful to others who might do a future search.
carlosable24 said: When you contacted the office they told you that you won't be receiving state aid, but you can still fill out the FAFSA for federal aid? correct? The person I spoke with just stated that the merit scholarship was not linked in any way to FAFSA (and that we wouldn't need to resubmit anything for it every year - our daughter just needs to maintain the credit hours and GPA requirements for it), and that the one for of "aid" we are getting (the Stafford loan) is from the federal government, not the state, so we just need to meet the federal deadlines for FAFSA for that.
We are not getting any state aid. I'm assuming that, like most of the federal aid (other than Stafford loans), it's needs-based, which we wouldn't qualify for.
OK...so I just did a little more searching and found the CT Financial Aid website. There are a four state programs mentioned. The first one seems to be targeted at High School Seniors and mentions the Feb 15th deadline. Two others seem to be targeted at minorities or veterans, which wouldn't apply to us. The last, called CHESLA, appears to be something along the lines of the Stafford Loans, but with no limit on the amounts that can be financed. But the interest rate is about 5.5%.
NotSoHard said: She probably also got a notice around October 1 2016 since that was the day the 2017-2018 FAFSA applications began. Keep that in mind 6 months from now for the 2018-2019 school year. Yeah, I learned yesterday that the new process allows for much earlier submission, and I've added a reminder for this.
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