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Financial Aid February: Answering your Work Study Questions

23 Feb financial-aid-february-leader

Work study is a unique form of financial aid that doesn’t act like other the other types of aid that might see on your Financial Aid Award Notice. Questions about work study are one of the most common ones that students contact the Financial Aid office about, so we took some of the most common work study questions and provided answers right here!

financial-aid-february-work-study

So what is work study?

Federal Work Study is a federally funded form of self-help aid that allows students to earn money for school by working part-time jobs.

How is work study different than other aid?

While your grants, scholarships, and loans will credit your account balance and pay your bill, work study will not. You have to earn your work study funds during the school year by working in a job that can utilize your work study funds (on-campus & off-campus non profits typically). It is paid to you via bi-weekly paychecks similar to most other jobs.

What are the advantages of work study?

Having work study provides some notable positives for students who utilize it. The biggest is that it opens up a large pool of employers who would not otherwise be able to hire you. These are mostly on-campus departments who typically have the most flexible hours and are near where students live. The other positive is that the funds you earn through work study do not count as income when you file your FAFSA, which can help keep your expected family contribution (EFC) low.

How do I use my work study?

You will need to find a job that can utilize work study. These can either be on-campus or off-campus at non-profits that have work study agreements with Purdue. You then need to provide your employer with a Payroll Authorization Form (PAF). You can print one from your myPurdue portal, but only one. If you have more than one work study job or need another one for some reason you’ll need to stop by the Financial Aid office in Schleman Hall to have another printed for you.

How do I find work study jobs?

Both the Division of Financial Aid and Student Life host job posting boards for Purdue students. You can use these boards to find jobs on and around campus. Keep in mind that not all off-campus employers can use your work study funds. You can still work off-campus, but the money you earn won’t be from your work study fund.

Can anybody get work study?

No, Federal Work Study is for students who demonstrate a high level of financial need as determined by the results from the FAFSA. If you did not receive work study and would like it, you can contact the Division of Financial Aid and ask to be put on a wait list.

How do I receive my work study funds?

Even though work study is a form of financial aid, you have to earn it by working. After finding a job and working there, you will be paid bi-weekly depending on how many hours you work and what your wage is.

Do all work study jobs pay the same?

No, the hourly wage can be very different from one job to the next depending on the level of skill required and many other factors. It is worth searching available jobs to find one that pays well while also being a good fit in terms of duties, flexibility and location.

Do I need work study to find a job?

No, but work study makes it much easier to find a job around campus. Many academic departments and off-campus employers will only hire work study eligible students. Having work study opens up a pool of employers who might not be available otherwise.

What if I don’t plan on working right away?

You should still accept your work study if you think you might want it. Students who do not accept their work study risk having it cancelled so that it can be distributed to students who requested to be on the work study wait list.

Can I use work study to pay my tuition?

Sort of. Your tuition bill for the semester is due on the first day of class, you cannot start utilizing your work study funds until the semester starts. This means you won’t get paid until after the tuition bill is due. Work study is typically a good way to give students money for pay as you go expenses like rent, food, or other miscellaneous costs but it isn’t great at paying tuition. The best way to apply your work study earnings toward tuition is if you save it in your own account and use it to pay the next semester’s tuition.

What if I run out of work study?

Depending on your situation, you may have a couple of options. You may be able to talk with your supervisor and see if your employer can pay you from their normal funds. If not, you can contact the Financial Aid office and see what options you might have including adjusting your budget.

Have questions that didn’t get answered? Be sure to comment and we’ll let you know the answer!

 

Video

The Real Truth About Financial Aid-Adam Ruins College

21 Feb


Reminder, Purdue’s priority deadline to file the FAFSA is March 1st! To receive maximum consideration for financial aid, you need to file before the deadline. Not sure where to start? Check out our Financial Aid February blogs for information on everything financial aid from start to finish.

Financial Aid February: Aid for the Summer

17 Feb financial-aid-february-leader

Taking summer courses is a great way to get ahead on credits and graduate earlier. Not to mention utilizing your rent to the fullest if you have a 12 month lease. However, summer aid is not automatically created for your account when you file the FAFSA. With a few extra steps you can get summer financial aid lined up and have you ready for summer!

How to Apply for Summer Aid for Summer 2017:

Complete the 2016-17 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) no later than June 30, 2017 and satisfy all additional financial aid requirements listed on your myPurdue account. Note: although you can file the FAFSA as late as June 30, you should file it much earlier in order to have your aid ready for the summer term.

Complete the 2017 Summer Aid Application under the Financial Tab of your myPurdue account. Once your application has been successfully submitted, it could take two to three weeks to receive a Financial Aid award. Please monitor myPurdue for updates. Initial summer financial aid notifications will begin approximately March 6th.Financial aid february think summer.jpg

Quick Info:

Eligibility for your Federal Loans is on an annual basis, with the summer term being part of the aid year for the semesters before it. If you used all of your federal loan eligibility up, you will need to utilize other sources of aid for your summer bill.

If you drop hours or do not initiate course participation at any time during the summer sessions, your aid may be adjusted and you may receive a bill.

If this will be your first time taking summer courses, check out the ThinkSummer scholarships!

You can also check out the Bursar’s Office site for current tuition and fee rates. Did you know that, in the summer, you pay the same amount for 6-9 credit hours?

Be sure to notify the Division of Financial Aid if you decide to cancel your summer aid application.

Choose the location you plan to attend for summer 2017 to obtain additional information about how to apply and aid eligibility.

Want more info about summer courses, internships, housing and more? Check out Think Summer.

Financial Aid February: Securing Your Aid

16 Feb financial-aid-february-leader

As the semester approaches, you will need to finalize your financial aid to guarantee your Purdue bill gets paid on time. If you haven’t already, you’ll need to go into your myPurdue account and accept your financial aid.

What are my responsibilities to keep my financial aid?

Double-check that all requirements are complete.

Check for any red flags on your myPurdue account and check that all expected aid is crediting to your Purdue invoice.

Confirm your enrollment.

On your myPurdue account, under the “Financial” tab, click on “Confirm your enrollment for the coming semester.”

You need to do this before each semester. By confirming your enrollment and accepting fees you are acknowledging your financial obligation to pay — by the due date — any tuition, fees, and housing charges assessed and billed to your student account.

Check the following if you are unable to confirm your enrollment:

  • Are there holds on your account?
  • Did you apply for and accept financial aid?
  • Are you enrolled in enough credit hours? E.g. You are enrolled in 9 hours, but your financial aid is set up for 12 or more.
  • Do you have outstanding Financial Aid requirements on myPurdue?

Keep up on requirements for merit scholarships.

The Trustees and Presidential scholarships do renew automatically, but have criteria required in order to do so:

  • Continuous full-time enrollment (12+ credits each fall and spring semester)
  • Having at least 30 credits completed at the end of each year (30 for freshmen, 60 for sophomores, 90 for juniors), transferred credits count toward this amount
  • Maintain a 3.0+ GPA

Direct where to send your refund.

You can sign up to have a Direct Deposit for your financial aid refund via myPurdue. Otherwise, refund paper checks will go to your local address listed on your myPurdue account. Parent PLUS refunds can be sent to you or your parent, depending on what is indicated on the Parent PLUS Loan application.

Expect to receive your refund no earlier than one week before the first day of each semester. Plan your textbook purchases and rent payments/deposits accordingly.

Waiting on your refund? Check out some factors that may be delaying its arrival.

Sign up for the Bursar installment plan or make one payment up-front.

If there is a remaining balance on your Purdue invoice that you plan on paying out-of-pocket, you will need to sign up for an installment plan or make a full payment before the first day of the semester.

We have some suggestions if you need assistance covering remaining costs.

Financial Aid February: How to Accept Your Aid

13 Feb financial-aid-february-leader

After reviewing your award notice, all that’s left to do is to accept or reject your offers for the award year. The majority of grants — free money that does not need to be paid back — are automatically accepted on your behalf. However any loans offered will require your decision, and at this point you will need to report any private scholarships you received.

While no official deadline for accepting aid exists, keep in mind that financial aid will not credit to your Purdue invoice until aid is accepted. The Division of Financial Aid recommends you accept aid no less than four weeks before the start of the semester. Each type of aid has unique requirements for acceptance.

 

Federal Loans, Purdue Loans, and Work-Study

  1. Accept the offered aid on myPurdue under the “Financial” tab > “Award for Aid Year” > “Accept Award Offer.”
  2. Follow the directions based on type of aid below.

Subsidized/Unsubsidized Stafford Loans

You will need to complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Loan Entrance Counseling at www.StudentLoans.gov. Sign into the website with the student information and click “Complete MPN” or “Complete Counseling.”

Purdue Loans

Complete a promissory note at ECSI — a third-party servicer Purdue uses for this loan. This is done each year you borrow a Purdue loan.

Federal Work-Study

  • Find a Work-Study job by searching through job postings for student life or other on-campus departments and contacting listed employers for the application process.
  • Once you have secured a Work-Study job, visit the Financial Aid office on campus for a Payroll Authorization Form (PAF). Give this form to your employer when you begin your job. Remember you can only work during the semesters you are enrolled and can pick up the PAF no earlier than the first day of the semester.

Parent PLUS Loans

  1. One parent needs to submit a Parent PLUS Loan application at www.StudentLoans.gov. Sign into the website with the parent information and click “Request PLUS Loan.”
  2. Once credit approved, the same parent, if a first-time Parent PLUS borrower, will complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) at www.StudentLoans.gov. Sign into the website with the same parent information and click “Complete MPN.”
  3. If credit denied, the parent has several options: replace the Parent PLUS loan with $4,000-$5,000 Unsubsidized Stafford Loan and/or private loan up to the remaining cost, reapply for the Parent PLUS Loan with a co-signer, or reapply with a different parent borrower.

Graduate PLUS Loans

You will need to complete a PLUS Loan application at www.StudentLoans.gov. Sign into the website with the student information and click “Request PLUS Loan.”

Once credit approved, the student, if a first-time Grad PLUS borrower, will complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) at www.StudentLoans.gov. Sign into the website with the student information and click “Complete MPN.”

Private Loans

  • Research your private loan options. Review our private loan information and search online for lenders. Complete a loan application with your lender. Most lenders have applications available on their website.
  • Once credit approved, contact your lender for the next steps necessary.
  • Your lender will contact the Division of Financial Aid for certification of your loan. Once certified, the loan will appear in your financial aid package on your myPurdue account.

Note that the private loan application process typically takes at least 30 days. Apply as early as you can so that funds arrive in time for the bill due date.

Private Scholarships

Report your private scholarship to the DFA on your myPurdue:

  1. Log in to your myPurdue account.
  2. Under the “Financial” tab > “Award for Aid Year” select current aid year from the drop down box.
  3. Select the “Resources/Additional Information” tab and report your private scholarships.
  4. Don’t forget to give your donor the Bursar address to send a paper check.

My Student Loan Journey Pt. 2: Climbing the Mountain of Debt

10 Feb student-loan-journey-jumping-outta-debt

Casey Doten, Financial Aid Administrator – Purdue University

I knew going into college that I’d have to take out student loans to help finance my degree. While getting myself $48,600 into student loan debt was less than ideal for me, I was able to earn my degree. However thanks to the miracle of interest, my student loan debt had increased from the $48,600 that I had borrowed to $54,800 by the time that I began repayment.

The scary part? That $54,000 could have been even higher. Thankfully I had a couple of things going in my favor that helped to prevent that. A good portion of my federal loans are subsidized and did not accrue interest during school. I also had a loan which required me to make quarterly payments to help keep the interest from adding up (unfortunately these payments always hit me at the worst times in college). Had I not had either of those two factors, my loan debt would have been $59,900 when I finally started repayment.

So how have I gone about tackling this $54,800 debt? Being honest, it hasn’t been perfectly approached at all times but after a few initial mistakes I’ve come up with a plan and am paying it off as quickly as I can.

my student loan journey 2.jpgMaking mistakes early on

During my grace period of six months between graduation and my first payments becoming due, I had saved up a little money working two part-time jobs, but I never put anything toward my loans. As my grace period ended, I was able to get a full-time job along with working ten or so hours a week on the side.

So in November my repayment officially began. I had always heard people say “If you can afford to pay a little extra on your student loans, you should do it”. Getting rid of my student loans was a priority for me, so even though I wasn’t exactly swimming in money I paid extra on my loans. If my payment was $115 for a loan, I’d pay $150. The problem is that my approach of paying a little extra on every loan per month was one of the least efficient ways possible.

Pay more on loans with higher interest rates

What I should have been doing was approaching my repayment with a real plan rather than just tossing a few extra bucks at it.

I learned about the avalanche and snowball debt payment methods from some friends and after some research realized I could take my loans head-on with a plan. I started paying the minimum on every one of my loans except the one with the highest interest rate where I put all that extra money I had previously spread out between the other loans.

Using this avalanche method, I paid on the highest interest loan and then when that was finished up I took that money and started paying it to the next highest interest loan. This approach helps me pay the least amount of total interest possible.

Understand options & repayment plans

Despite the fact that I’ve been able to meet my monthly loan payments, I realized decided to enroll in an income based repayment plan. This brought my monthly payments on my federal loans down from over $300 to around $70 each month. Why did I choose an income based repayment plan when I wasn’t having troubles making my repayment? I found out that having a lower amount due each month could both help my repayment plan and allow me to be more flexible in my finances.

For my repayment, it allowed me to pay less on several of my loans and kept interest from my subsidized loans from accruing (the interest can be covered for up to three years). I took the $230 I wasn’t obligated to pay to all of my loans and rolled it into the extra I had already been putting toward my highest interest loan.

The other perk was that it gave me a lot more financial flexibility, so if unexpected events popped up I could just pay the minimum on my loans and use the money I would have paid to cover whatever emergency happened.

Luckily I never ended up needing this and I have been able to double down on my avalanche repayment and target my highest interest loan with the money I would have been paying otherwise been spreading out to my other loans.

Make payments right away… or make them automatic

Before I started making my loan payments, I felt like I was making just enough money to get by. I didn’t believe I could find $600 per month just for student loans, let alone money to pay ahead. The secret that I found was to make my student loan payments right away once I got paid. Rather than having to worry about what is left to make my loan payments, I prioritized them and made the extra payments part of my mandatory bill paying routine at the beginning of each month. I also found out that one of my private loans and my federal loans offered a small interest rate reduction for enrolling in automatic payments, which I promptly enrolled in to reduce the total interest I would pay over the loans’ lifetimes.

Roll over other debts

During my first year and a half of repayment, two things events had an effect on my debt: my college beater Jeep died on my commute to work forcing me to buy a different vehicle, and I got proposed to my then-girlfriend, now wife. This gave me another $450 per month in payments to make between the car and ring. This squeezed my personal budget to as thin as it could possibly get, but I still made sure to prioritize getting these payments in right away after getting paid. I realized I that I could make this new budget work, so after paying both off I took $350 of that and rolled it into my student loan payments helping me accelerate my impending pay-off even further.

Where I’m at Today

As of this moment, I still have $42,246.38 left to go. I’ve made great progress but I’m still paying over $200 every month on interest alone. It can be depressing to realize how much I’m losing every month to interest, but I know that my current life wouldn’t be possible without the degree I earned and the experiences I had. Rather than concentrating on how far I have to go, I prefer to reflect on how amazing it feels to know that I’ve paid my loans down more than $12,500 in student loan debt in 27 months in addition to over $9,000 between my car and wife’s engagement ring. The end might not be near but that doesn’t stop me from taking one step at a time toward being student debt free.

Financial Aid February: Applying for More Aid

7 Feb financial-aid-february-leader

The FAFSA registers you to be considered for aid from Purdue and the federal/state government. To be considered for additional Purdue/private scholarships or private loans, you need to take a few extra steps, such as completing a separate application. Additional information about eligibility and steps to apply for each type of resource are listed below:

finaical aid february 2 - applying for more aid.jpg

Purdue Departmental Scholarships

Incoming freshmen need to have a complete admissions application submitted by November 1 to be considered for Purdue’s merit scholarships.

In addition to having a complete admissions application by November 1, new students enrolling in one of the following colleges or schools should also complete the Purdue Supplemental Scholarship Application by January 1, 2017.

  • Agriculture
  • Health & Human Sciences
  • Krannert School of Management
  • Polytechnic Institute

The deadline for incoming freshmen to complete the Purdue Supplemental Scholarship Application is January 1st of the year they intend to enroll. The deadline for the 2017-18 school year closed on January 1st, 2017.

Scholarships awarded through the supplemental scholarship application are based on merit, need, or a combination of the two. If you wish to be considered for those scholarships with a need component you will need to file your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by the January 1 deadline as well.

Current Students: There are different deadlines for different programs:

  • Agriculture — February 1
  • Chemical Engineering — April 1
  • Health and Human Sciences — January 1
  • Liberal Arts — February 15
  • Management — March 2
  • Polytechnic Institute* — March 1

*Polytechnic Institute Statewide students should complete the Supplement Scholarship Application and select Purdue Polytechnic as their school. Polytechnic Institute Statewide students may complete the application through August. 

What You’ll Do:

Go to the Purdue Supplemental Scholarship Application and follow the directions.

Other Purdue Departmental Scholarships

Some schools and departments use applications other than the Purdue Supplemental Scholarship Application. Find your department below to see if you qualify, and also check to see if you qualify for any other scholarships offered at Purdue.

Click here or on the chart below for access to clickable links!1page-0

Private Scholarships

There are many private scholarships available — especially for incoming freshmen — and you should definitely be applying for these as early as possible. Scholarship opportunities can be found in your local community and nationwide and will have different application processes. However, it is important to be wary of scholarship scams. You should not pay a fee to an organization to find scholarship opportunities for you or to complete an application for a scholarship that is offered.

We recommend talking to a guidance counselor or checking out free resources like FastWeb or scholarships.com to learn about opportunities you may be eligible for.

The Bursar’s Office provides details about mailing checks from donors, how they are applied to your bill, and other processing information for private scholarships that you receive.

Remember to thank the sponsor of your scholarship. Learn more here.

Parent PLUS Loans

A Federal Parent PLUS Loan can be taken out by a parent in the parent’s name to help their dependent undergraduate student help pay for college. This loan has the same interest rate for everyone regardless of credit. For more details and information read about Parent PLUS Loans here.

Private Loans

A large number of private education loan options are available to assist you and your family in meeting college costs. Loan applications are completed with your lender of choice and require good credit or a co-signer with good credit. We recommend applying at least 30 days prior to the date you need the funds and complying quickly to information requests from your lender. Read more about student loans.

Financial Aid February: Applying for Aid

1 Feb financial-aid-february-leader

To apply for federal, state and Purdue University student aid programs, you will file the FAFSA — this is something you’ll need to do annually to be considered for aid each year you’re in school. Purdue’s priority deadline is March 1.

financial-aid-february-applying-for-aid

If you are an admitted student to Purdue and submit your FAFSA by this deadline, you can expect to hear back about your award offering sometime in late March or early April.

Before completing your FAFSA, you’ll need to create a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID. If parents are helping in the aid process, make sure one of them registers for an FSA ID too.

What You’ll Need:

  • A computer with Internet access
  • Your Federal Student Aid ID  (FSA ID)
  • Your Social Security number
  • Income information from the prior year (2015 income information for the 2017-18 school year, 2016 for the for 2018-19) for both student and parents (unless you qualify as an independent student)
  • A current, valid email address to be contacted with important information about your financial aid

You can also print a “FAFSA on the Web” worksheet at www.fafsa.gov to complete ahead of time and help prepare your answers before entering them online.

What You’ll Do:

  • Go to www.fafsa.gov and click “Start A New FAFSA,” then login using your name, Social Security number and birthday.
  • Select “Start New FAFSA” and then input the requested information. Remember that while you use income information from the past, your other information is meant to be a snapshot of the moment that you file the FAFSA.
  • Be sure to enter Federal School Code 001825 to allow your information to be sent to Purdue University West Lafayette.

Tips:

You can submit the FAFSA late, but there may be considerably fewer funds available to you for doing so.

If you start attending in the spring or summer, you should complete the FAFSA for the prior year. Example, if you start summer 2016, you should complete the 2015-16 FAFSA. 

You can apply for financial aid prior to applying for admission to Purdue. However, you must be admitted to a degree-seeking program (or a teacher’s certification program) before eligibility will be calculated and to receive financial aid.

You may be eligible, and if so we highly encourage you to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool within the FAFSA to update the information after taxes have been filed. Information will be transferred from the IRS directly into the FAFSA with this option. Check out a short tutorial for help with this process.

We recommend printing the “FAFSA on the Web” submission confirmation page as proof of completion to keep in your records.

One of the most commonly requested documents is a tax transcript. Get your tax return transcript from the IRS.

If you have any FAFSA filing questions, you can contact FAFSA customer service agents at 800-433-3243, get online help or you can check out Federal Student Aid’s YouTube Channel for short, informational videos on the process.

Answering the Who, How, & Why of FAFSA

26 Jan

fafsa
Getting you through FAFSA, one question at a time.FAFSAQs

 

  • Who

    • Who Should File a FAFSA?
      If you are interested in getting any Federal Financial Aid, including federal direct loans, you need to file the FAFSA at www.fafsa.gov/  to become eligible. Federal loans are almost always preferable to private loans.  In addition, many colleges’ need-based scholarships rely on FAFSA information to verify that you are eligible. In short, everyone should file the FAFSA – even if you don’t think you’ll qualify for any federal aid

     

    • Whose Information is Needed to File a FAFSA?
      This answer depends on if you are a dependent student or not. Unsure if you’re Dependent or Independent? Check here. (Note: this is not the same as being independent for tax filing)
      Dependent students: You need tax information for both you AND your parents. If your parents are divorced, you need the information on whoever you receive the most support (51%) from.Independent students: You only need your own information unless you are married. If so, you will need your spouse’s information as well.
  • What

     

     

    • What If Things Change After I File The FAFSA?
      If your family situation has a significant change after you’ve filed your FAFSA, and any time while you’re in school, stop by your Financial Aid office to see if you qualify for a “special circumstance”.  These could include job loss, divorce, death of a parent, child birth or other unexpected situations that impact your financial status.

     

    • What Types of Federal Financial Aid are there?
      There are three main types of financial aid:
      1. Grants — Federal Pell Grants do not have to be repaid and are sometimes referred to as “gift aid”.  Grants are similar to scholarships, except that they are often for those who demonstrate financial need, where scholarships can be either merit-based or need-based.
      2. Student Loans — This is the type you hear about most often.  Filling out the FAFSA is required to be eligible for Federal Direct loans.  Federal loans are almost always preferable to private loans from lending institutions, because they have fixed interest rates and flexible repayment options.
      3. Federal Work Study (FWS) — Work study may provide you with more opportunities to find on-campus jobs. Rather than being given the funds in the beginning of the semester like loans and grants, FWS earnings are distributed to you as part of your paycheck.
  • Where

     

    • Where Do I Get the School Code and FSA ID?
      You’ll need the school code for whatever schools you are interested in applying to. They are available here. Your FSA ID is used to login and electronically sign your FAFSA.  Set it up at here.

     

    • Where Do I Get Help?
      College Goal Sunday will be held on Sunday, February 12th at 2:00 p.m. in Indiana and it provides FREE FAFSA filing assistance. It is at Ivy Tech in West Lafayette, but to find a location near you in one of the participating 42 states, go to www.CollegeGoalSundayUsa.org.  You can always call the Financial Aid office of your prospective school to ask questions as well.
  • When

    • When Can I start the FAFSA?
      You can begin the FAFSA any time after October 1st of the year before you plan to attend college. The FAFSA uses the student/parent tax information from two years ago (You could start filing Oct. 1 of 2016 for the 2017-18 school year using your 2015 tax information) . You can estimate the required information to beat a college priority filing date, but the info must be corrected after the taxes are complete!

     

    • When is the FAFSA Due?
      If you are a Purdue student, the FAFSA priority filing date is March 1st, so be sure to have it done by then! Other colleges (and states) have their own priority dates. Check for deadlines here.
  • How

    • How Do I Get my Financial Aid?
      Your financial aid is sent directly to your school and they will apply it directly toward your billing and send any excess aid to you to be used for books and other education related expenses. The exception is Work Study which needs to be earned by working, and is paid via a paycheck.

     

    • How Much is the Maximum That Can be Borrowed?
      Most students don’t know this, but there is a maximum amount of Federal Loans you can take out each year. There is also a maximum amount you can take throughout your college career! If you take the maximum amount for four years, there won’t be as much left for a fifth year if needed. Plan ahead!Remember: Everything you borrow you will have to pay back with interest for the next 10 (or more) years. For every $5,000 you borrow at 6% interest, you pay back $6,661.23 over 10 years ($55.51/ month)
    • FAFSA-brw-chart
  • Why

    • Why Should I Do a FAFSA?
      Other than qualifying for grants and Federal Loans? Many state grants and institutional scholarships require FAFSA information submitted. Even if you aren’t sure, it is always worth submitting!

Have more questions? Ask them in the comments and we’ll do out best to answer them!

How to Fill Out the FAFSA When You Have More Than One Child in College

18 Jan

Got 2 or more kids attending college

Having one child who is heading to college can be stressful, but having to help multiple children at the same time can feel like too much to manage. While I can’t save you from a forgotten application deadline or the “how to do your own laundry” lessons, hopefully, I can help make the financial aid part of the process run more smoothly with these tips:

How many FSA IDs will my children and I need? How many FAFSAs do we have to complete?

An FSA ID is a username and password combination that serves as your legal electronic signature throughout the financial aid process—from the first time your children fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid ( FAFSA®) until the time their loans are paid off. You AND each of your children will need your own FSA ID. Parents and students can create their FSA IDs here.

Each of your children will need to fill out a FAFSA. Your children will also need to provide your (parent) information on their 2017–18 FAFSA unless they are going to graduate school, were born before January 1, 1994, or can answer “yes” to any of these questions.

Example: You have three children who are going to or who are in college. You’ll need four FSA IDs—one for you as the parent (only one parent needs an FSA ID) and one for each child. You’ll need to fill out three FAFSAs, one for each child.

Can I transfer my information from one child’s FAFSA to another so I don’t have to re-enter it?

Yes! Once your first child’s FAFSA is complete, you’ll get to a confirmation page. On the confirmation page, you’ll see a hyperlink that says, “transfer your parents’ information into a new FAFSA.” Make sure you have your pop-up blocker turned off and click that link.

TIP: If you want the process to go as smoothly as possible, your second child should have his/her FSA ID handy so you’re ready for the next step.

FAFSA 2017-18 confirmation-transfer sibling info

You’ll then see the alert below confirming that you want to transfer your information to another FAFSA.

FAFSA 2017-18 confirmation-transfer sibling info pop-up

Once you click “OK,” a new window will open allowing your other child to start his or her FAFSA. We recommend that your child starts the FAFSA by entering his or her FSA ID (not your FSA ID) using the option on the left in the image below. However, if you are starting your child’s FAFSA, choose the option on the right and enter your child’s information.


IMPORTANT:  Regardless of who starts the application from this screen, the FAFSA remains the student’s application; so when the FAFSA says “you” it means the student. If the FAFSA is asking for parent information, it will specify that. When in doubt, refer to the left side of the screen. It will indicate whether you’re on a student page (blue) or a parent page (purple).


2017-18 FAFSA Login Page Student or Parent

After you select the FAFSA you’d like to complete and create a save key, you’ll be brought to the introduction page, which will indicate that parental data was copied into your second child’s FAFSA.

FAFSA 2017-18 confirmation transfer sibling info success

Once you reach the parent information page, you will see your information pre-populated. Verify this info, proceed to sign and submit the FAFSA, and you’re done!

NOTE: If you have a third (or fourth, fifth, etc.) child who needs to fill out the FAFSA and provide your information, repeat this process until you’ve finished all your children’s FAFSAs.

I have education savings accounts (529 plan, etc.) for my children. How do I report those on the FAFSA?

You report the value of all education savings accounts owned by you, your child, or any other dependent children in your household as a parent investment. (Read “What is the net worth of your parents’ investments?” for more information.) If you have education savings accounts for multiple children, you must report the combined current value of those accounts, even if some of those children are not in college yet or are not completing a FAFSA.

Example: Child 1 and 2 are filling out the FAFSA. Child 3 is in 8th grade. They each have 529 college savings plan accounts in their names.

  • Child 1 account balance: $20,000
  • Child 2 account balance: $13,000
  • Child 3 account balance: $8,000

You would add $41,000 to any other parent investments you’re required to report and input it when asked, “What is the net worth of your parents’ investments?” on each of your children’s FAFSAs.

How does having more than one child in college impact the amount of financial aid my children qualify for?

Having multiple children enrolled in college at the same time could have an impact on your children’s eligibility for need-based federal financial aid.


TIP: We often hear about families who choose not to fill out the FAFSA again because they believe that they won’t qualify for grants or scholarships, especially if they did not qualify the previous year. This is a huge mistake, especially if you will have additional children entering college. Read on to learn why.


Schools use the following formula to determine a student’s eligibility for need-based financial aid:

Cost of attendance (COA) – Expected Family Contribution (EFC) = financial need

Let’s break down this formula:

Cost of attendance: This will vary by school, so if you have two children attending different schools with different costs, their financial need may be different, even if their EFC is the same.

Expected Family Contribution: The information you provide on the FAFSA is used to calculate your child’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is a combination of how much a parent and student are expected to contribute towards the student’s cost to attend college. The EFC is not necessarily the amount of money your family will have to pay for college, nor is it the amount of federal student aid you will receive. It is a number used by your child’s school to calculate how much financial aid he or she is eligible to receive. Since we recognize that a parent’s annual ability to pay doesn’t change as you have more children enroll in college, we divide the expected parent contribution portion by the number of children you expect to have in college.

Example: Let’s assume that all of your dependent children have identical financial information and that the calculated EFC assuming one child in college would be $10,000. Here’s how each child’s EFC would change depending on the number of family members attending college full-time.

Number of dependent children in college full-time Each child’s EFC
1 $10,000
2 $5,000
3 $3,333
4 $2,500

Financial need: Please note that schools differ (sometimes greatly) in their ability to meet each student’s financial need. To compare average school costs schools based on family income, visit the CollegeScorecard.ed.gov.


Nicole Callahan is a Digital Engagement Strategist at the U.S. Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid.

Photo by Getty Images

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