FAFSA glitches and what to do about them

This year’s FAFSA has some glitches, but what do you expect from the same government that sponsored an unusable Obamacare website? 🙂

That was a cheap shot (I’m ashamed of myself).  Actually, FAFSA’s problems are not as severe, but they are still troublesome.

I’ve heard comments about the info for “Parent 1 and Parent 2” switching around at the end of the FAFSA.

I recently got a note from a parent who couldn’t load up all of the colleges her child applied to.  The college financial aid officer she spoke with was useless.

My personal “fave” is, after you spend hours gathering your tax returns, bank statements, etc. to load up all of your info into the FAFSA (all 100-plus questions), only to have it disappear entirely like it never existed!

I haven’t heard of that happening this year (yet), but I’m holding my breath.

My advice for parents who are doing their own FAFSAs is to wait a few days more for the glitches be ironed out.  Most Priority Deadlines for the FAFSA aren’t until Feb 1, Feb 15th, March 1 (they vary by school), and there’s no benefit to rushing in your form.

As long as you meet the deadline, you’re in that “first come, first served” pile – whether you file Jan 1, 12:01 am or Feb 1.

Another tip, call the financial aid office at each college three or so days after you file to ensure they got it, ask if they need any other documentation or forms, etc.

Even if they respond, “We don’t download this info until March 1” it’s a good idea to call. Sometimes colleges claim they never got your FAFSA even if you filed it and have a confirmation!

Final piece of advice:  if you’re doing both the FAFSA (100 questions) and the CSS Profile (200 involved questions), make sure the numbers on each form are consistent.  Inconsistent answers trigger a “verification” from the financial aid office, which is a pain in the tuchus to deal with – the college process is stressful enough already!

I have two promotions to mention:

1.  Our current, discounted financial aid forms prep. service (enter the coupon code “STORM”):  FAFSAwarrior.com.  Fast, accurate and expert FAFSA and/or CSS Profile forms preparation.

2.  A new webinar, “How NOT to Screw Up Your FAFSA.”  I recorded my screen as I filled out a FAFSA.  Yes, this is almost as thrilling as it sounds, sort of a cross between “Anchorman 2” and “To Kill a Mockingbird,” but about financial aid.

I do identify exactly where some money-losing landmines lurk, and point out a couple of loopholes along the way.

Bonus:  First 25 to enroll, I will personally review your draft FAFSA before you submit it, maybe I’ll catch a mistake or identify an opportunity for savings!

The price is currently only $47, but this info could save you thousands, even more if you avoid just one costly mistake I point out.  Check out I Love FAFSA.

Thanks for your comments, thanks for reading the College Success Bulletin!  Please pass this along to anyone you think would benefit from this stuff!

Your Correspondent,

– Andy Lockwood

P.S. Last week, two parents told me our FAFSA Warrior site wasn’t working. Of course, it worked for me when I tested it, which means squat.  I apologize for any irritation I caused inadvertently (as opposed to the irritation I cause purposefully.  No apologies there.)