BOSTON (CBS) – How do you pay for college? Where do you find the resources so your kiddo can have the American dream?
Over $150 billion is available in aid for the school year starting in September. That money will come from the Federal government, the states, colleges and private and nonprofit organizations.
The first step in finding financial aid is to meet with the guidance counselor and see what recommendations they have. Then you and your kid get online and check out resources. Then fill out the, Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the federally required form for students seeking financial aid, including grants and loans.
I downloaded the (FAFSA) form to review it and found it straight forward to fill out. In my opinion the form is not entirely fair, but nobody asked me. If the student has divorced parents who have remarried, they ask the custodial parent to fill out the form with information on the stepparent’s assets and income to be included.
The income and assets of the step-parent are required even if the step-parent has no intention of helping with the college expenses.
In many divorce agreements there are arrangements already in place for who pays what for college for the kids but you should still fill out a form to see if you are eligible for aid. A bit of advice heard from a listener; as a stepparent, do not co-sign loans for the kids. That is their parent’s responsibility.
The sooner you get this form in the better your chances are for getting aid. I am serous about this, get it in too late and there may not be any money left for the schools to give out. They like to send out the acceptance letter and often with it is another letter, the award letter, with your financial-aid offer.
The deadline for Massachusetts is May 1, federally its June 30 and the different schools may have different deadlines.
Plan to spend some time on filling out the FAFSA form. You will need
- 2010 Federal Tax Return if it’s done
- Social Security numbers
- 2010 W-2 Forms or year-end pay stubs and other year-end
records of money received such as 1099s
- Current bank statements
- 2010 business and investment information