There are several reasons to complete the FAFSA and for parents of seniors now is the optimum time to do it. Filing began January 1 for the 2016-17 school year.
- If you have several children in college you may definitely qualify. With just one child in college you may not but with two, the family’s EFC (Expected Family Contribution) almost divides the family’s income in half.
- Your situation might change. There might be a job loss or some dramatic family situation which decimates a family’s income after a student starts college. You might not have needed aid early on but if a change occurs, your FAFSA forms will be on file at the college and your student may receive aid based on your new situation.
- Some colleges require a FAFSA be on file in their financial aid offices for a student is to qualify for merit aid. The Ivies and highly selective schools rarely give aid to affluent students but if a well-qualified student applies to private schools with large endowments they may receive some substantial scholarships.
- A recent article in the Wall Street Journal suggested it might even be prudent to complete the FAFSA knowing you might not qualify just to show the colleges that you don’t need the funds. Colleges like to have their classes comprised of fullpaying students. A different twist.
So gather your 2015 tax returns and complete the FAFSA.