Types of Forms
by Howard Freedman
Copyright 2019-Finacial Aid Consulting. All rights reserved, No portion of this article may be reproduced mechanically, electronically, by photocopying or by any other means without expressed written permission of the author.
Howard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following is written to provide a more in-depth description of the financial aid forms that you may encounter
FAFSA, available each October 1st uses the prior year’s tax return data to determine a family’s EFC (Expected Family Contribution). Example-the 2019-2020 FAFSA will use 2017 federal income tax data for the calculation. This is because it was the last year that a tax return was filed in order to complete the FAFSA. The 2018 tax return will be available in April 2019 long after the FAFSA is filed. Families should be aware that income, marital status, employment and so on can change and should be reported to the college even if the information on the FAFSA was reported correctly for the 2019=2-2- academic year. The FAFSA must be renewed each year.
SAR (Student Aid Report) is produced each time the FAFSA is submitted. It is the edited version of the FAFSA. It also serves as a worksheet for changes, to report errors and provides some financial aid eligibility. Each college gets an ISIR with the same data available to them electronically.
CSS/Financial Aid Profile, a service of the College Board, is used by many private colleges and scholarship programs for institutional private aid. This form, unlike the FAFSA, is available in the fall of each year. It asks more detailed questions and explanations such as past, present, and projected incomes, home value, educational costs, institution-specific questions and space for explanations. It calculates the EFC using a different methodology than the FAFSA to determine how the family should be able to contribute to educational costs.
Profile (Noncustodial Parent) is an online form offered by the College Board. Some colleges use it to measure a family’s ability to pay for college when the birth or adoptive parents do not live in the same household. The NCP may be needed when the student indicates on his or her CSS/Financial Aid Profile application that the biological or adoptive parents are separated or divorced. If so, an e-mail will be sent to the noncustodial parent with secure log-in and submission procedures. The NCP profile can also support the fact that they cannot provide further contributions by justifying their actual additional expenses and family obligations.
Business Farm Supplement: The CSS/Financial Aid Profile may also require parents with small businesses, farms or self-employed to provide profit, loss and balance-sheet information for determining the college’s financial aid or institutional award. Since many businesses report income, depreciation, and expenses differently, this form allows the college to scrutinize income and cash flow to get a more detailed evaluation of the family’s contribution to the college.
Institutional Forms: Many colleges have developed their own financial aid forms by asking specific questions similar to the CSS/ Financial Aid Profile. Each form may be required in addition to the FAFSA and CSS/Financial Aid Profile.
Award Letter is a letter or financial aid package a college offers. Most award letters consist of scholarships, loans, grants, and work-study. It should report the Cost of Attendance (COA), less financial aid, family contribution and unmet need (amount left), if any. The financial aid award should be clearly scrutinized and compared to other awards to determine the best deal and least out-of-pocket expenses.
MPN Master Promissory Note, MPN, is a required promissory note that is used for all direct student and parent loans for up to 10 academic years. First-time borrowers must also pass the online quiz that explains types of loans, responsibilities, repayment options, rights, and resources.
Verification Worksheet: Many colleges select or are required to verify actual and other financial documents to their completed financial ID forms. This verifies the accuracy of the information and its impact on the actual financial aid award.
Appeal letters: Financial aid awards can be appealed. Many colleges require a letter of explanation or may use their own forms. It is critical to provide sufficient backup data. Always be sure that the FAFSA is up to date and that any special circumstances (job loss, reduction in hours, etc.) are reported to the financial aid office.
Loan Applications: Federal and alternative loans will require many forms. Some are based on creditworthiness, amounts,, repayment options, co-signors and so on. Federal loans require pre-loan counseling and selection of repayment options. Other forms related to forbearance and deferment may also be required when situations warrant.
These are other tangible reasons why the FAFSA does not stand alone.