Wondering How to Answer FAFSA Question No. 59?

One of the hardest FAFSA questions for dependent students living with modern families is Question No. 59. Due to recent changes in federal rules governing marital status definitions, many students may be stumped by this question, which asks: "As of today, what is the marital status of your legal parents?"   FAFSA Question 59 Parent Marital StatusQuestion 59 offers five possible answers, as shown in the accompanying image, which was captured from the paper version of the 2015-16 FAFSA.  How you answer this question essentially...Read More
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U.S.-Born Students With Undocumented Parents Can Submit the FAFSA

U.S.-born students whose parents are foreign nationals are eligible for financial aid and are encouraged to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. For undergraduates who are deemed to be dependent students, that means a parent is needed to help complete the FAFSA.  Because the FAFSA basically was designed for students whose parents are U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens, it shouldn't be a surprise that many students with "undocumented" parents aren’t sure whether or just how...Read More
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Modern Families Can Use This Quiz to Answer FAFSA Question #59

2015-16 Who's My FAFSA Parent? QuizOne of the most popular features at the CollegeUp.org website is our "Who's My FAFSA Parent?" quiz. That's not a surprise, since many students find it hard to answer this seemingly simple question. The answer isn’t necessarily obvious for students whose parents are divorced, recently separated, or never got married. And, a student can’t necessarily enlist the parent who claimed the dependent exemption at tax time. And, yes, there are federal rules, but those take a great deal of patience to read...Read More
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It’s Definitely OK to Submit Your FAFSA Before You File Your Taxes ‒ Here’s How to Do It

CollegeUp.org FAFSA Clinic - Filing FAFSA Before Filing TaxesStudents and parents are often urged to complete their taxes and then file the FAFSA  ̶  the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. But that’s a hard rule to follow. Many, if not most, states and universities impose early deadlines for completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The majority of these so-called priority deadlines fall well before April 15, 2015 – the IRS deadline for filing your federal return for the 2014 tax year. Quite a few states instruct students to...Read More
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2015-16 FAFSA Worksheet Is Now Available

With the new FAFSA filing season ready to kick off shortly after midnight on New Year's Eve, the U.S. Department of Education's website has published the 2015-16 "FAFSA on the Web Worksheet." If you are a FAFSA newbie and are planning to complete your FAFSA on the Web (and most people do), you can get started on collecting the information you need by downloading the worksheet, which offers a four-page preview of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Reading or at least perusing the...Read More
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How to Estimate Your Eligibility for State Financial Aid

Estimating Eligibility for State-Funded Grants for CollegeEditor's Note: This is the second post in a series on how to estimate eligiblity for financial aid. College-bound high school students and their parents can use the FAFSA4caster to estimate their eligibility for federal financial aid programs such as Pell Grants and low-cost student loans. But how can families estimate the amount, if any, of state grant aid? Your first step is to visit the website of your state's grant program. Click here to find CollegeUp.org's handy list of state financial aid...Read More
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The 2015-16 FAFSA Goes Online January 1st. Here's What You Need to Be Ready

CollegeUp.org FAFSA Clinic: 10 Ten ListFor college bound students, New Year’s Day is more than just a holiday. It’s the first day students can download and at least start to complete the FAFSA – the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This is must-do paperwork for anyone seeking federal, state or even institutional financial aid. The FAFSA does sport a reputation as being long and complicated. But, you can ease the hassle of completing the FAFSA by assembling everything you’ll need on hand to expedite your 2015-16 FAFSA...Read More
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191 Billion Reasons to Complete Your 2015-16 FAFSA

Total College Financial Aid Awarded 2013-14If you need a compelling reason to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, consider this: By submitting a FAFSA, especially in advance of the deadline for your state's grant program, you ensure the broadest access to the nation's financial aid resources and significantly increase your chances for receiving college assistance. According to a College Board report, students and families received an estimated $248.3 billion in financial aid during the 2013-2014 financial aid award...Read More
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Demystifying Pell Grant Awards for Transfer Students

If you transfer from one school to another, you need to take certain steps to ensure you still receive financial aid at your new school. For starters, you need to add the school code for your new college to your FAFSA. But one thing to keep in mind is that your aid amounts, including your federal Pell Grant award, may change from one school to another. First, let’s go over some definitions. There are actually two kinds of Pell Grant awards:
  • The scheduled award is always based on...
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How You Can and Can't Spend Your Financial Aid Refund

Sue Allmon, financial aid expertYour financial aid award is based upon a budget that your school created for you. Your Cost of Attendance is based on average costs for students attending your school. For many of you, once your tuition and fees have been paid, there is money left over on your account that will be refunded to you. So now what? Are there any rules on what you can or cannot do with this cash? On what and how can you spend this cash?   If your financial aid refund includes money provided by the federal government...Read More
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