Saturday Critical Action – File for College Financial Aid
Welcome to the Saturday Critical Action. Each Saturday we take a weekly action from Jonathan Clements‘ blog Humble Dollar and “militarize” it for you. Jonathan Clements was a longtime personal finance columnist for The Wall Street Journal, and he offers great advice at the best price you can get…free. Here is this week’s critical action:
FILE FOR COLLEGE FINANCIAL AID. Hoping for grants and loans for the 2019–20 academic year? You can submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid starting Oct. 1. Income is based on the tax return you filed for 2017. Still, before filling out the FAFSA, you could increase aid eligibility by using taxable account money to pay down debt or fund retirement accounts.
Here’s another article I found on-line this week about the FAFSA:
While the title gives you most of the message, here are the major takeaways:
- Income and savings by parents/students paid for 34 percent of college costs in 2016-17, down from 41 percent the year earlier.
- Borrowed money paid for 27 percent of costs, up from 20 percent.
- Scholarships and grants covered 35 percent, the highest in the report’s history.
- A FAFSA is required for all federal money including loans, work-study and grants.
- Some financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, which is why you want to file the FAFSA as soon as possible.
- You can now file a FAFSA with a phone app called myStudentAid.
Even if you think you won’t qualify for any aid, you should file it. I don’t think I’ll qualify, and I filed it. There is $150 billion in aid available, and the average student who files gets just under $10,000 in aid.
Saving for college? Here’s our guide to doing so.