Financially Fit in 5

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For the College Bound – FAFSA facts

My husband and I are just getting ready to pay a quarterly college tuition payment for our son. (He’s out in California having found his dream school across the country).  My husband kiddingly said to me the other day, “Maybe we should tell him to start panning for gold”  Not really much of an plan to pay for tuition.  Actually, our 2013 taxes are complete, and we are getting ready to file the FAFSA which led me to this month’s topic.

For all the parents out there who are getting ready to send their children off to college in the coming years, here are the basics on the FAFSA.  FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid.   Most every college requires the FAFSA application to be completed for college financial aid consideration. The web site is 

Money received through the FAFSA application is a loan in the student’s name.  The students will sign a loan agreement form, and the student will also be directed through a “what does this mean” program.  Your student will need to pay the money back over a 10 year period beginning 6 months after the student graduates. There are different payment options, and you can learn more at   

The application is based on your taxes, and the tax year that is important would be the calendar year in which your student is a high school Junior/Senior.  To be clear, it is the calendar year when the student would be in the second part of their Junior year and the first part of their Senior year in high school.  Because deadlines can be early, students should check with their college Financial Aid office for specific deadlines. 

 A student can qualify for subsidized (meaning the Federal Government will pay the interest) or unsubsidized (meaning the interest will be paid by the student) monies.

The current maximum combined subsidized and unsubsidized loan amounts are  $5,500 Freshman year, $6500  Sophomore year, and $7500 for Junior and Senior years.  Not all students will be eligible for the maximum amounts.

The application process has been streamlined over the past years.  Once you complete the FAFSA, it will remember your basic information from year to year.  You can also link your tax filing with the IRS to the FAFSA application.  It is advisable to have your taxes done promptly during those college years. 

Lendedu has a very informative guide to Federal Student loans.  You can find the guide on-line at

Many private colleges will require not only the FAFSA but also the College Board’s CSS Financial Aid Profile.  The CSS application is quite lengthy and will require back up documents, including a copy of your and your student’s actual tax documents, copies of 1099s and W-2s, and copies of any business tax returns.  You can get more info on the CSS at 


As always if you have questions or need any additional info, please feel free to reach out to me, Liz Crystal, at