Financial Aid Documents
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Howard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Financial aid documents do not just come in one form. Although the FAFSA Is the most common, my direction is to explain to families how to complete them and what they mean. Yes, the forms have become streamlined with more links to information, yet they fail to calculate a precise amount that a family needs to pay and if they really can afford it.
The FAFSA does not stand alone. There is the CSS Profile and Non-Custodial profile or a college’s customized form for those that require them. Add the promissory notes, the IDOC tax information, the appeal process, medical forms, parental information and proof of a sibling’s college attendance, that are just a few that families will encounter.
The FAFSA can also generate inconsistencies in terms of reported data. This is especially true for those that file a business tax return, are separated and or divorced, have a third party pay the bills or just omit untaxed financial resources. Many more of these stories appear in the Horror Stories section of my book.
Beyond reviewing each FAFSA as a form, I view it as a story that varies by client. In addition to the reported information, there could be special circumstances, high debt or family situations that are not required on this form.
Helping families through chapter 1 of this story makes things both interesting and challenging. Families should not be fearful of each form as much as understand its purpose and power. The outcome, the EFC, Expected Family Contribution is more of a calculation than an entitlement. Parents completing these forms on their own may save money but fail to get the more personalized attention and advice needed for the remaining chapters. They also must address their finances, responsibilities, majors, student’s career goals and liabilities for paying loans and if the financial aid award is such a good deal.
That is where Financial Aid Consulting can answer these questions and ensure that you are traveling down the right path.