FAFSA Q and A: Families have more time to file, can get help in filing student aid form

Changes have come to a financial aid form that is critical to seniors in high school.

Families now have more time to file and can get help in filing Free Application For Student Aid. This application must be filled out for any prospective or current college student who is seeking financial aid.

J. Vinny Vincent-Dunn, director of financial aid at Franklin College, tells you what you need to know.

What changes to FAFSA are happening this year?

One major change for the 2018-19 academic year is that the state of Indiana has permanently extended their FAFSA-filing deadline to April 15. State aid programs students may potentially qualify for would include Twenty-first Century Scholars, Freedom of Choice, Frank O’Bannon grant, Next Generation Hoosier Educators scholarship, and more. For more information regarding state aid eligibility please visit in.gov/che/.

What is the impact of the changes?

By extending the state FAFSA-filing deadline to April 15, the state is creating a larger window of opportunity for more students to apply and potentially qualify for financial assistance.

How can families prepare to fill out the FAFSA?

New FAFSA filers can prepare by visiting fsaid.ed.gov to create a Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID). The student and at least one parent will each need to create their own FSA ID. This will serve as the student’s log-in for the FAFSA as well as an electronic signature. Once the student and at least one parent each have an FSA ID created, they may begin completing the FAFSA by visiting fafsa.ed.gov. Students who already have filed a FAFSA already will have an FSA ID. They simply log into the FAFSA website, click FAFSA RENEWAL, select 2018-19, and then begin re-filing their FAFSA for the 2018-19 academic year.

Why should families fill out the FAFSA?

The FAFSA is recommended for the following reasons:

  • It serves as your application for Federal and State aid (i.e. grants and scholarships).
  • It serves as your application for Federal student loans.

Many of the Franklin College institutional scholarships use data collected from the FAFSA to award eligible students. By filing a FAFSA, you are broadening your aid opportunities.

There are some external donors who require a FAFSA on file in order to qualify for their particular scholarship.

Who should report income on a student’s FAFSA?

That depends on the circumstance.

If the student earned income, they should always report that income on their FAFSA.

If the student’s parents are married, both should report their income on the student’s FAFSA.

If the student’s parents are separated or divorced and live apart from each other in separate residences, then only one parent’s income should be reported.

Which parent? The parent who provides the majority of support to the student is the parent who should be reported on the FAFSA. What if that parent has remarried? Then the step-parent information would also need to be included on the student’s FAFSA.