10 Common Tweets @FAFSA Gets on Twitter

We’ve been answering a lot of your back-to-school comments and questions on Twitter! Here are some of the most popular tweets we get, with our answers:


1. We get this question so many times a day! Your school will disburse (pay out) your financial aid, not the federal government. Since each school has a different timeline for awarding aid, you’ll have to call your school’s financial aid office to find out the specific date.



2. College can be expensive, we know! We provide as much aid as we can based on the information you provided on your FAFSA. There are many factors we take into account, like your year in school and how much it costs to attend your school. If you need more financial aid, here are 7 options you should consider. Make sure you look into applying for local scholarships or talk to your school’s financial aid office for personalized advice.



3. During this time of year, we understand a lot of students get disappointed when they see their financial aid offer and don’t receive the amount or type of aid they were hoping for. Your school calculates the amount of federal student aid you qualify for using a formula established by law and that amount can change every year, depending on a number of factors. Additionally, some states and schools offer financial aid of their own. Some of that aid is need-based, other types are merit-based, and some of that aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. We recommend you talk to your school to find out how you can increase your chances of getting the most aid possible. One simple way is to make sure you fill out the FAFSA and any other financial aid applications required by your school ASAP each year, even before your state or school FAFSA deadline. If you need more aid to fill the gap, look into scholarships, part-time work or one of these options.



4. We definitely understand that free money, like grants and scholarships, are the preferred type of financial aid because they don’t have to be paid back. Many of the grants we offer, including the Federal Pell Grant, are “need-based”, meaning you must have certain level of financial need to qualify. Your school will use your FAFSA information to determine whether you qualify for these grants, and if you do, you’ll get them. If you still have a gap between what your school costs and the amount of grants, scholarships, and out-of-pocket funds you can afford to pay, federal student loans can be a good option. Federal student loans offer several advantages over private student loans and most people qualify. Just make sure to borrow only what you need! If you want more free money, make sure you apply for scholarships. There are tons out there!



5. You’ll see an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) number after completing your FAFSA, but don’t think it’s the amount your family has to pay! It’s not. It’s a measure of your family’s financial strength and a number used by your school to calculate how much aid you can receive. If you need more financial aid, read this.



6. Sorry, living on your own doesn’t make you an independent student for purposes of the FAFSA.  FAFSA dependency guidelines are set by Congress and are different from those of the IRS. This is why even if your parent’s don’t claim you on their taxes, you still won’t be considered independent unless you can answer “yes” to one or more questions on this list.



7. First, know that your FSA ID information and what you typed in your FAFSA demographic page must match 100% in order for you to sign successfully. You should double check both places for any minor typos. For parents, make sure you’re selecting the correct “Parent 1” or “Parent 2” option in the drop-down menu on the signature page. We have detailed instructions in the fourth bullet on the FAFSA trending questions page.



8. The FAFSA asks a lot of questions, but we promise we use each answer to calculate your aid in a fair manner! Even though some questions may sound difficult to answer, we provide help along the way in the sidebar. If you’re really stuck, we have a phone number and live chat options available to help you out. If you want a line-by-line demo, we have an hour-long webinar recording that walks you through the entire application.



9. The upcoming 2017-18 FAFSA (available October 1, 2016) will ask for 2015 income and taxes only. This is beneficial because you’ve already finished those taxes, so you can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool right away to transfer your 2015 info! You will not be asked to log in again to update your info after you file 2016 taxes.


 

@FAFSA what if our 2015 taxes are completely different than our 2016 earnings?”

— Jazmin (@jazminR14) August 12, 2016

 
10. We understand that financial circumstances change. If your income has dramatically decreased since the 2015 tax year, you still need to report 2015 information on your FAFSA. However, after filing your FAFSA, you can contact your school’s financial aid office to explain and document your situation. The school has the ability to assess your situation and may make adjustments to your FAFSA.

 

 

The article “10 Common Tweets @FAFSA Gets on Twitter” orignally appeared on blog.ed.gov.

Sandra Vuong is a Digital Engagement Strategist at Federal Student Aid.