Urgent Financial Aid Info For Parents

Includes a Warning for Anyone Who's Filled Out a FAFSA Form Since 2011

Will your child will be headed to college (or technical school) in the fall of 2017? If so, I have important financial aid information for you.

financial aid

1. If you haven’t done so already, it’s important that you fill out the FAFSA financial aid form right now.

You can make $200,000 and still qualify for help paying for college, but you need to apply now.

2. An important tool that the government provides to help you fill out the FAFSA form is currently off-line.

For the past five years, the federal government has provided a nifty tool designed to help parents fill out the FAFSA form faster and more accurately. It’s called the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT for short). This tool allows those filling out the FAFSA form to click once and have all necessary financial information transferred from their tax returns to the appropriate spot on the FAFSA form — automatically.

Unfortunately, the IRS Data Retrieval Tool has been pulled off-line and will be unavailable for use until (we are told) October 1, 2017.

If you find an article online that says that the DRT will be back “in a couple of weeks,” that is outdated information. The current word is that it’ll be back on October 1, 2017.

3. This means that if you haven’t yet completed the FAFSA for your child who’ll be in college in the fall of 2017, you’ll have to enter your tax info in manually.

It’ll be a little more tedious, but please do it. Doing so now could save your child thousands of dollars in future college costs.

4. You’ll need your 2015 tax information in front of you when you do this. Here’s how to find that information:

A. You may have a printed copy of this tax information in your own personal files.

B. You may be able to get this information from the tax professional who filed your 2015 taxes for you, or from the tax software you used to prepare your 2015 taxes yourself.

C. You can view and download a summary of your 2015 tax form (properly called “a transcript”) at www.irs.gov/transcript. Just click on “Get Transcript Online.”

D. You can have the 2015 tax information you need mailed to you. Request it by going to www.irs.gov/transcript and clicking on “Get Transcript by Mail.”

D. You can also request that your 2015 tax information be mailed to you by calling the IRS during business hours at 1-800-908-9946.

5. Understand why the IRS Data Retrieval Tool was taken off-line.

According to NerdWallet and the New York Times, “The IRS…decided to temporarily suspend the Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) as a precautionary step following concerns that information from the tool could potentially be misused by identity thieves.”

6. If you have a child who is currently 19-24 years of age, and you filled out a FAFSA form for him or her in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, or 2016, you need to know this:

According to what the Department of Education and the IRS are telling us, there is a small chance that you may be the victim of tax-related identity theft.

According to the IRS:

Continue Reading »

“Can I Take a Full Load of College Classes in High School and Still Have a Full ‘High School Experience’?”

Yes.

A 10th grader contacted me recently and asked me this great question about taking college classes in high school.

“Jeannie, I know that you strongly recommend dual enrollment college classes in high school for kids who want to get through college debt-free. I want to do dual enrollment full time in 11th and 12th grades so that I’ll have two years of college done by the time I graduate from high school. But my parents are trying to steer me toward doing dual enrollment only just part time. They’re worried that if I take a full load of dual enrollment college classes in high school, I’ll miss out on ‘the full high school experience.’ What do you think?”

My answer is below. college classes in high school

Continue Reading »

Ordinary Students—Extraordinary Financial Aid

You’d love for your son to get loads of free money financial aid to help him pay for college, but you’re pretty sure he won’t qualify for much. Your family lives comfortably, after all. You aren’t poor.

You wonder if filling out financial aid forms is even worth your time.

Seven Reasons Filling Out Financial Aid Forms Is Well Worth Your Time.

1. You can have a high income and still qualify for help.

You make over $200,000 per year and have significant assets? Your kid can still get free “gift aid” money to help pay for college. I’m talking about free money that need never be paid back.

Because this is true, plan to fill out the FAFSA form every October 1st that you’ll have a kid in college the following fall. Put this October date on your calendar now, so you can put your kid(s) first in line for all the financial aid money they have coming.

financial aid

2. The FAFSA isn’t just about getting PELL grants. 

Filling out the FAFSA puts your child in line for nine separate federal student aid programs, over 600 state aid programs, and most of the college-based (institutional) aid available in the US. Wow!

Every year, people who were sure they were too well-off to qualify for any kind of aid are stunned to see what kind of generous help they actually qualify for at some colleges.

3. The FAFSA considers many more factors than just your income.

Your household income may look high at first glance, but income is only one of several factors used to decide your child’s financial aid eligibility. Age of the older parent, household size, whether your family owns a small business, number of family members attending college simultaneously, and many other complex and interwoven factors figure in too. Any one of these factors could greatly increase your family’s eligibility for free money for college.

4. Parents can use multiple strategies to get extra free money for college from the FAFSA form.

I provide 10 (ten) safe, legal, ethical strategies that parents can use to get thousands extra in financial aid money out of the FAFSA form. They’re too numerous to list here, but they’re all carefully detailed in chapter 10 of my book, LAUNCH.

The best time to find out about these strategies and get all set to implement them? The winter and spring of your child’s 9th grade year. If your child is already further along in high school or even in college, though, it’s not too late.

5. If your fortunes happen to suddenly turn for the worse, you’ll want your kid to be in the pipeline to receive help.

Every year there are very wealthy families whose fortunes turn suddenly and unexpectedly for the worse. People lose businesses. They divorce, lose jobs, or suffer house fires. They may get devastating medical diagnoses. If this happens to you, you’ll want your college-age children to be in the financial aid system where they can walk into a college financial aid office and get the help they suddenly need.

6. At the very least, you’ll want to qualify for the very best student loans if those become necessary.

Continue Reading »

Top 9 Questions Parents Are Asking Me About LAUNCH!

launch

Purchase LAUNCH (or just look at its 100% 5-star reviews on Amazon.com) here.

 

There’s been an overwhelming, excited response to LAUNCH since it released on January 4th, 2017. Parent response to this book has already exceeded anything I ever thought possible. Whenever there’s a lot of excitement there are also a lot of questions, so here are the top 9 questions parents are asking me — along with my answers.

1. “Our son is only in middle school. Surely we don’t need to be thinking about college yet!”

Let me be blunt here. If you wait until your son’s in 11th grade to start thinking about college, 75% of the best ideas for getting him through college debt-free will be gone.

Continue Reading »

Buy LAUNCH Before 1/11/17 — Get Bonuses Worth $248

Today I’m announcing the extra bonuses your family will receive if you purchase LAUNCH by January 11, 2017.

LAUNCH

Continue Reading »

URGENT Financial Aid Info For Parents of 10th Graders

Parents of Younger Kids, Read This So You Can Plan Ahead

Today I have urgent financial aid info for parents of 10th graders.

You need to know that on January 1, 2017, a team of photographers is going to show up at your house.

Not actual photographers, but that’s a good way to think of it.

Parents, they're about to take a photo of you.

Continue Reading »

Perfect Grandparent Holiday Gift: COLLEGE SAVINGS

I post this article every year in December. This post contains one of the most brilliant ways there is to get kids through college debt-free, and grandparents love the idea. Be sure to share it with the grandparents you know!

Most grandparents love to dote on their beloved grandchildren, but let’s face it. Teens are notoriously hard to shop for.

What Grandma and Grandpa would really love to do is give a holiday gift that will be remembered with tears and great appreciation for years down the line.

No matter your income level or budget, Grandma and Grandpa, here’s an ingenious idea for deeply impacting the teen you love this holiday season.

grandma

This ingenious idea will help you to take the $20 you were planning to spend on a holiday gift, put that money into the best possible kind of college savings account, and still have something meaningful and beautiful for the teen to unwrap at your family’s holiday gathering.

All without nicking your own finances or damaging the teen’s future financial aid eligibility in any way.

Continue Reading »

Parents of Seniors: 5 Things to Do With That Student Aid Report (SAR)

About 2-3 weeks after you fill out the FAFSA financial aid form for your college-bound high school senior or current college student, you’ll receive a Student Aid Report (SAR). One of the things this Student Aid Report will tell you is how much it is believed that your family can afford to pay for college. (Look for the line that says: “Estimated Family Contribution (EFC).”

student aid report

If you find yourself laughing or crying at how high this number is, you’re not alone. Millions of families feel shocked and stunned at the high Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) listed on their child’s student aid report.

My reassuring words to you? Don’t worry too much about this right now. If you’re following me, you’re going to have many strategies you can use during the next year to bring these college costs way down.

For now, here are five things to know about your child’s Student Aid Report.

Continue Reading »

5 Places to Get Help With College Financial Aid Forms

Are you filling out financial aid forms for a kid who’ll be in college next fall? Great. The fall before he or she enters college is the perfect time to do that.

But what do you do if you get stuck? Where do you go to get help with college financial aid forms?

help with college financial aid

Here are five places to get help with college financial aid forms.

Continue Reading »

Want More Scholarships? GPA Matters Less Than You Think.

You’d love for your college-bound teen to get more scholarships, but you worry that his GPA just isn’t high enough. Am I right? Well, worry no more.

Good news. There are thousands of college scholarships available to students with GPAs as low as 2.50.

I’ll give you tips for finding more scholarships to apply for at the end of this post.

The question for today is: Besides high grades, what can your college-bound teen do to make himself or herself a powerful, attention-getting applicant who will get more scholarships than most other people?

The answer might surprise you.

scholarships

Continue Reading »