Which Colleges Are Still Taking Applications?

5 Cautions For You If Your Child is Headed to College in 1-3 Months

Ben and his parents sat up late at their dining room table, combing through all of Ben’s college financial aid numbers one more time. Ben’s dad ran his fingers nervously through his hair. The problem? It was already summer, and every college that had accepted Ben for the coming fall was requiring him to commit to loads of student loan debt in order to attend.

Colleges are still taking applications

“Is it too late to just try to go to a different college?” Ben asked. “I don’t know,” Ben’s dad said. “Are there any other colleges still taking applications?”

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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If you find an article online that says that the DRT will be back “in a couple of weeks,” that is outdated information.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:

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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

Subscribe to “email updates” on this site, and I’ll email you special strategies for getting the most possible money out of the FAFSA form, right when you need them.

(Use these instructions to “whitelist” me with your email provider, so I show up right in your primary email inbox once each week.)

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

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Urgent Info for Parents of 9th Graders

Today I’m helping financial professionals across the nation to spread the word.

There’s urgent financial aid info for parents of 9th graders.

Yes I’m serious—9th graders.

Parents, there are some things you need to know right now—so you can carefully protect your child’s future college financial aid eligibility. This can’t wait.

Next January 1st, when your kid’s in 10th grade, 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.

On that day, you’ll want to be prepared and ready.

This article will help you with that.

financial aid

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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 the step-by-step instructions in my book, you’re going to have many strategies you can use during the next year to bring these college costs way down.

(One mom reported in an Amazon review of my book that she only used 1/4 of the book‘s pages starting when her son was in 12th grade, and she still saved thousands on college costs. There’s hope for everyone!)

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

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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.

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3 Ways KIDS Can Get More Financial Aid For College

Part 2 of a 2-Part Series

Is your child a senior in high school, or older? This post is part 2 of a 2-part series on what to do each September to make sure the FAFSA form you fill out in early October will get your child maximum financial aid for college. To read part 1 of this very important series, click here.

You’d love to help your kid get maximum financial aid to help pay for college.

Why? Because financial aid is free money that need never be paid back.

The great news? You can get a lot of financial aid help – even if you have a relatively high income. This 2-part series will help.

FAFSA

Get your child all the free money he or she has coming.

To be sure your child gets all the free money he or she has coming, you as a parent will need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) every October that you’ll have a child in college the following fall. Fill this form out every October, even if you’re convinced “you won’t get anything.”

Every family of a 12th grader should fill out the FAFSA. Here’s why.

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How Divorced Parents Can Get More Financial Aid For College

Ben and Amy have been divorced for years. Finally, though, they’ve found something they both agree on: they want their teenage daughter, Sophie, to get through college as close to debt-free as possible—and directly into a job she loves afterward. Millions of other divorced parents feel the same way.

What’s the key to making that happen?

divorced parents

Divorced parents can take 7 specific steps that can help their kids get through college debt-free.

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“HELP! My Parents Are Refusing to Help Me!”

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post for parents who erroneously believe that if they’ll just refuse to put their financial info on their child’s FAFSA form, their child will get additional financial aid for college.

Student, if your parents are refusing to help you—here’s what you can do to help yourself.

refusal

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Can’t My College Kid Just Declare Independence From Me?

Won't This Get Him More Money for College?

The dad was smiling at me, like he had a special secret that no one else knew. He folded his arms, rocked back on his heels, and got ready to tell me just why he was never going to need my help getting his kids’ college paid for.

“I don’t have to worry about that,” he told me. “I’m going to have my kids ‘declare independence’ from me. Then my income won’t count on their financial aid forms, and the money for college will just roll on in.”

Then he tilted his head and smiled at me.

“That’s what I did when I was in college, and it worked out great for me.”

I’m so sorry to tell you, Dad—your information is long outdated.

Here’s why declaring independence from parents no longer helps students get extra financial aid for college.

independence

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