Should you fill out the FAFSA on your phone?
On October 17th, 2018, I was invited to guest post on the blog of Certified Financial Planner™ Mike Branch of Focus Financial in Minneapolis. Mike has been an extraordinary mentor to me as I’ve plumbed the depths on how to get kids through college debt-free. You can find Mike at Focus Financial in Minneapolis, on the Approved Consultants tab on this website, or at one of the many FAFSA info sessions he presents in high school auditoriums each year.
The guest post I wrote for Mike is below.
Are you parenting a student of any age who’ll be in college next fall? If so, one of your most important tasks this year will be to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon after October 1st as possible. This applies to every student and every parent—no exceptions.
Are you convinced that for you, filling out the FAFSA will be a waste of time—because you make far too much money to qualify for any college aid? Check out this article on 7 Reasons to Fill Out FAFSA Even if You’re Rich.
And then get out your smartphone.
As of October 1st, 2018, you can fill out the FAFSA on your phone.
For years, students and parents filling out the FAFSA were required to complete the form using desktop computers. In 2018, though, a new, mobile-friendly version of FAFSA was released.
Here, 8 things you’ll need to know before you fill out the FAFSA on your phone.
1. It’s a little easier to avoid overwhelm when you fill out the FAFSA on your phone, because you see only one question per screen.
2. Families can start filling out the form on one device, and finish it on another.
3. Students away from home can start filling out the FAFSA on their smartphones, and then ask mom or dad to log in and finish up the more complicated financial details.
4. If someone in your family has already filled out parts of the form, don’t tap the “Start Over” button when you log in to complete it. You’ll accidentally erase all the information entered by the previous person.
5. For most families, multiple signatures will be required before the FAFSA can be officially submitted. Pay careful attention to the signature process, and make sure you complete all the necessary signature steps.
6. The “IRS Data Retrieval Tool” (DRT) typically makes transferring detailed financial information to the FAFSA from tax forms easy and seamless. The problem with filling out the FAFSA on your phone is that the IRS online experience is not yet perfectly mobile friendly, so accessing the IRS information on your phone may require a lot of scrolling and pinching and zooming.
The easy solution? If you do fill out the FAFSA on your phone, just switch over to your desktop computer when it’s time to add your tax information.
7. Make sure the kids you care about get all the money they have coming to them—avoid these 30 Common FAFSA Mistakes when filling out the FAFSA form.
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You’ll find more in-depth FAFSA strategies in chapters 10, 20, 21, 22, and 23 of my book:
You can “Look Inside” the book on Amazon for free by going to:
(Tell your friends.)
You can see why financial planners and wealth managers love LAUNCH, here.
You can see the top 9 questions parents are asking me about LAUNCH, here.
Read just one chapter of LAUNCH every 1–3 months while your child’s in middle school and high school, and you’ll know every viable strategy for debt-free college at exactly the right time to implement it.
And if your child’s already well past middle school? That’s OK; you can run to catch up. But the process of getting your kids through college debt-free goes more smoothly the earlier you start it—especially if you’re not planning to save up any money to pay for college.
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What about you?
Have you filled out a FAFSA form on your phone? What was your experience like? What advice do you have for others? Comment below or LIKE Jeannie Burlowski Author on Facebook, find this post on that page, and let’s talk about it there.
Who is Mike Branch?
Mike Branch is a Certified Financial Planner™ and independent financial advisor based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Mike helps people create lifelong retirement income so they can retire confident and worry-free.
Who is Jeannie Burlowski?
Jeannie is a full-time academic strategist, author, speaker, and podcast host. Her writing, speaking, and podcasting help parents set their kids up to graduate college debt-free and move directly into careers they excel at and love. Her work has been featured in publications such as The Huffington Post, USA Today, NerdWallet, and US News and World Report, and on CBS News.