Get Smart – Jamie Wallace

keep-calm-and-file-fafsa-6The focus here is on FAFSA  — what it means and how it’s changing.

“What the heck is a fafsah and why do I need to file it?” The FAFSA (pronounced “faf suh”) is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Everyone, even high income earners should fill out the FAFSA and file it by the June 30th deadline. The current FAFSA is available starting on Jan. 1, 2016. Make sure to fill it out and file it as soon as possible. California deadline for state aid is March 2. Many schools have earlier filing deadlines. So keep calm, fill it out, and file it as soon after January 1st as possible.




  • All Federal and State aid is based on it.
  • Aid includes loans, scholarships, grants, and work-study.
  • Private schools require it to award many scholarships and grants.
  • It is required for many merit or academic scholarships.
  • There is no income cut off to qualify for federal student aid
  • You file it every year you need aid.
  • Aid is not based on income alone. They consider:
  1. Size of the family
  2. Number of students in college
  3. Age of oldest parent
  4. Grades and test scores are NOT considered.
  5. Small family businesses are NOT counted as an asset.
  6. Money or assets in retirement accounts are NOT counted.

But, “it’s too hard to fill out…”There are plenty of free resources to help answer questions and fill out the FAFSA.

The FAFSA is changing.

You no longer need to apply for a Federal PIN. Now you can create your own user name and password.

For this year’s seniors, the current filing period is between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2016. You use your tax information for income and expenses in 2015.

In California the deadline for state aid is March 2, 2016

For NEXT YEAR the FAFSA will be available starting October 1, 2016 (for aid during the 2017-2018 college year)

In the new FAFSA you use the prior-prior year taxes. In other words in the 2016-2017 filing you use taxes from 2015. Currently many families estimate their taxes, but now you use taxes you have already filed.

You can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to fill in the application

Because it can be submitted earlier, students will find out about federal and state aid before they have finished applying to colleges! This makes it easier to apply for both public and private schools.

The new FAFSA will be a game changer allowing more and easier access to financial aid!

The biggest mistake students and families make with the FAFSA: not filing it!

So Get Smart and file the FAFSA!

Jamie Wallace
Get Smart for College
Independent Educational Consultant
Jamie is a UCLA trained educational consultant.
[email protected]

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