FAFSA FAQ 2019-09-25T18:34:53+00:00

FAFSA FAQ

FAFSA Assistance Questions

$tand by Me holds info sessions and hands-on workshops at Delaware’s public and charter high schools to help families understand and complete the FAFSA. Check your school’s website or contact your high school’s guidance or career/college counselor. If you still have questions, call 302-255-9621. Someone will match you with at $tand by Me financial aid expert.

Online access to SBM’s Paying for College program will be available during the 2019-2020 school year. Check www.studentsuccess.delaware.gov for presentations and workshops at schools in your area.

Your school may have signed up with $tand by Me’s College Enrollment Support. Staff will visit your school to work with you. Contact your guidance/college counselor. Call $tand by Me at 302-225-9621. Someone will connect you with a staff member.

It does not matter which parent declares the child for tax purposes. The parent of record for FAFSA is the parent with whom the student lives 51 percent of the time or the parent who contributes at least 51 percent to the child’s upkeep.

No. The purpose of the FAFSA is to determine your family’s ability to pay but does not require them to do so.

The SEED Scholarship provides six semesters of free tuition at Delaware Technical Community College or University of Delaware’s associate in arts program. Students must graduate from a Delaware high school or home school with a 2.0 GPA, have no felonies on record, and begin college full time (12 credits) in the fall after their graduation from high school.

Apply directly to either institution. FAFSA is required. Information, including options for non-citizens:

https://www.dtcc.edu/admissions-financial-aid/financial-aid-scholarships/types-aid/seed/faqs

https://www.aap.udel.edu/advisement/prospective-students/seed-scholarship

The Inspire Scholarship offers substantial grants to students who have a 2.75 GPA and graduate from a Delaware high school or home school and have no felonies on record.

Information: https://www.desu.edu/admissions/tuition-financial-aid/scholarships/inspire-scholarship

The Delaware Higher Education Office offers a variety of need- and merit-based scholarships. Students must create a student profile anytime and apply online after December 1.  www.studentsuccess.delaware.gov

Yes. Division I and II colleges and universities will look to supplement your scholarship with federal dollars, if possible.

All schools treat outside scholarship money differently. Some will use it to decrease their cost of the amount that they awarded you. Others will apply it to your balance. Check with your school’s financial aid office.

General Application Questions

The federal government uses the information you — and your parents — provide on the FAFSA to verify if you are eligible to receive federal student aid, and to calculate how much you and your family should be able to contribute to the cost of your education – your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The school you plan to attend needs this information when it determines the financial aid you are eligible to receive for the academic year. The financial aid office will use this information with factors such as attendance cost and federal/state/institutional rules and policies to establish the financial aid package it offers to you.

The amount of financial aid you are eligible to receive in total from all sources (federal, state, institutional and private) cannot exceed what the school calculates as your Cost of Attendance (COA) for the academic year. COA includes the school’s tuition/fees, allowances for books/supplies and your living expenses for the academic year.

Three types of financial aid are offered: (1) scholarships/grants—the “free money” that you are awarded (including from the federal government, state of Delaware, the school you attend or private organizations), (2) federal work study (money you earn during the academic year) and (3) loans (money that you or your parents borrow from the federal government or private lenders) that must be repaid over time after you are no longer enrolled in school.

No, you should not be required to borrow the loans you are eligible to borrow if you do not need the funds. Receipt of any scholarship/grant funding you are awarded should not be contingent on your borrowing loans for which you are eligible.

At a minimum you must: (1) apply for admission to the school you want to attend, and (2) submit the FAFSA online at FAFSA.gov. The school you want to attend, however, may require additional financial aid forms. You should contact the financial aid office at each school you are interested in attending to learn if additional materials are required beyond the admission application and the FAFSA.

Generally, you should apply for financial aid at the same time you apply for admission. You can complete and submit the FAFSA online at FAFSA.gov beginning October 1 of the year before you plan to enroll in school.

Yes, you (and your parents) are required to submit the FAFSA every year you will need financial aid at FAFSA.gov. You should receive instructions from the financial aid office at the school you are attending about the need to reapply for financial aid each spring.

It is the Federal Student Aid ID. It consists of a username and password you create online before the first time you complete the FAFSA so that you can authenticate your identity each time you access any of the Federal Student Aid websites, including FAFSA.gov. It is your “electronic signature.” It allows you to access the Federal Student Aid websites and to sign documents such as the FAFSA and federal loan applications. Go to FSAID.ed.gov for more information and to create an FSA ID.

Yes, if you are dependent according to federal rules, at least one of your parents is required to provide his or her information on the FAFSA. Parents cannot use your FSA ID. At least one parent must create his or her FSA ID before the first time he or she provides information on the FAFSA. Go to FSAID.ed.gov for more information and to create an FSA ID.

Enter all zeros for the SSN. Parents without SSNs cannot create FSA IDs. Parents without FSA IDs cannot electronically sign the FAFSA. On the FAFSA signature page, the parent will need to select “Print a Signature Page.” The signed page should be mailed to the provided address.

Check the following in the FSA ID and application to ensure they match: Social Security Number, date of birth, spelling of first and last names. If those items have perfect agreement between the FAFSA and FSA ID, the FSA ID could have a different problem. Click the option to “Manage My FSA ID” at FSAID.ed.gov to check the status of the ID. Perhaps the SSN has not been verified. Call 1-800-4FEDAID if you need further assistance with your FSA ID.

Any college with more than one campus typically only lists one in the School Code Listing on FAFSA.gov. Use the school code for the Dover campus of DTCC.

Enter the first 10 schools on your initial FAFSA application. Once your FAFSA has been processed with those 10 schools and you receive notification that the Student Aid Report (SAR) is ready, you can update the  school code listing on your FAFSA application (delete as many schools as necessary to add schools you want to receive the FAFSA information). Resubmit the FAFSA with the updated list of schools. Note that other changes to your FAFSA application will be sent ONLY to the schools on the updated list, not to the original schools you deleted. Any changes or updates to your FAFSA must be made for ALL schools.

The U.S. Department of Education says the first test is: “Did you live with one parent more than the other over the past 12 months?” That is the parent who must provide his or her information. If you live with each parent on a truly 50/50 arrangement based on where you sleep, determine which parent has provided more financial support to you in the past 12 months and provide his/her information on the FAFSA.

Dependency status–Dependent or Independent–is determined by answering the Yes/No questions in Section 3 of the FAFSA. If you are considered dependent by the federal government, then your parents’ information must be entered on the FAFSA to be eligible for subsidized federal student aid, e.g., Pell Grant, Federal Work Study, Federal Direct Subsidized Loan. It does not matter that you are not living with them. If you are unable to obtain your parents’ information (parents are unavailable/location unknown, you are not allowed to have contact with them), you may have special circumstances. You must contact the financial aid office at each school to which you are applying and explain your situation. If the school feels you have special circumstances, it will provide instructions on what you need to do so that the school can make an accommodation. If the school cannot make an accommodation, you will only be eligible for Direct Unsubsidized Student Loan funding if parental data is required but not provided. You can submit the FAFSA without parents’ information if you feel special circumstances exist. You can return to your FAFSA application, add your parents’ information if the school advises that no accommodation can be made and resubmit the FAFSA.

Even if you have moved out, until you are 24, OR married, OR have a dependent child, OR have active service in the military, OR have a qualifying special circumstance, you will be considered a dependent student and will need your parents’ demographic and financial information to complete the FAFSA.

If you are a male citizen or permanent resident between the ages of 18 and 25, you have to register with the Selective Service to be eligible for federal financial aid and for other state and federal benefits.

Type as much of your legal first and last name as the spaces allow. Double check that the spelling and hyphenation match your Social Security card.

If your biological parents are divorced/never married and the parent with whom you live has NOT remarried, you do not need to include their boyfriend/girlfriend on your FAFSA. If the parent with whom you live HAS remarried, however, your stepparent must be included on your FAFSA.

If your parents are permanent residents, YES, you will use their Social Security Numbers on your FAFSA. If they are NOT permanent residents but have a Social Security Number that is valid for work ONLY, you cannot use that SSN on your FAFSA. Instead, use 000-00-0000. If your parents have an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), which would start with a 9 and have a 7 as the fourth digit, you cannot use that number on your FAFSA. You would again use 000-00-0000.

It can take several weeks for schools to receive your FAFSA   information, especially earlier in the FAFSA cycle. Stay in contact with the financial aid offices to ensure they have received your FAFSA. If schools don’t receive your FAFSA after a longer-than-average amount of time, ask the financial aid office about its FAFSA upload/download schedule or batching practices; ensure your name is spelled correctly in their files; ensure your Social Security Number is correct on the FAFSA and with the financial aid offices; and ensure  you have correctly entered the School Code. If your FAFSA is correct and your schools have your correct information on file but your FAFSA has still not arrived in a reasonable time, call 1-800-4-FEDAID to speak with a Federal Student Aid representative about your concerns.

If you made changes to an existing FAFSA (such as income or asset adjustments), review the changes (it will show “before” and “after”’) and continue clicking to accept the changes. It might require several clicks, especially if you made changes in multiple sections. If you enter 000-00-0000 for a parent’s Social Security Number, it likely will tell you that your parent files taxes but didn’t list an SSN. Continuing clicking through the boxes to verify the information provided is correct, then continue.

The FAFSA belongs to the person whose information was added to the student section, and the Social Security Number cannot be changed once it is submitted. You will have to begin a new FAFSA using the student’s information. If the student FSA ID was used to login, but the parent information was used in the student section, a box at the bottom of the Welcome page (once the FAFSA has been submitted) likely will show an identity different from the student’s FSA ID was used on the FAFSA. Choose the proper SSN to proceed with the FAFSA.

If personal information (not including address and contact details) entered on the FSA ID does not match the record of the Social Security Administration, the FSA will come back as “Not Matched.” The information can be updated and resubmitted. You will have to wait until the updated information has been matched to be able to use the FSA ID.

NO, unless the grandparent has legally adopted the student. If the student lives with the grandparents, parent information may still be needed if the student can be considered dependent based on the federal guideline. If the grandparents have legal guardianship as determined by a court, however, that student is considered independent and will not need parent information. “Legal custody” is not the same as ‘legal guardianship.”

Generally, aside from permanent residency, you are an eligible noncitizen if you are one of the following:

  • Other eligible noncitizens with an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) from the Department of Homeland Security showing any one of the following designations:
    • Refugee
    • Asylum Granted
    • Indefinite Parole
    • Humanitarian Parole
    • Cuban-Haitian Entrant
  • Citizens of the Republic of Palau (PW), the Republic of the Marshall Islands (MH), and/or the Federated States of Micronesia (FM) are also eligible for federal student aid.

Question for Students with Disabilities

Yes, students with disabilities use the same resources as their non-disabled peers. These students should also check state and private agencies for valuable assistance.

No, Social Security will not pay for college. Students who receive disability benefits may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation benefits that can help pay for college and other training.

Vocational rehabilitation enables people with functional, psychological, developmental, cognitive and emotional disabilities or impairments or health disabilities to overcome barriers to accessing, maintaining, or returning to employment or other useful occupation.

Services can include:

  • assessment, appraisal, program evaluation and research.
  • health advice and promotion to support returning to work.
  • support for self-management of health conditions.
  • making adjustments to the medical and psychological impact of a disability.
  • case management, referral and service coordination.
  • career counseling, job analysis, job development and placement.
  • functional and work capacity evaluations.

In Delaware, VR services include activities for students that are designed to promote advancement from school to post-school activities, such as post-secondary education, vocational training, employment, continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living and community participation.

Go to https://dvr.delawareworks.com or speak to your high school counselor who can arrange a DVR referral with the agency.

No, you do not have to report SSI income on the FAFSA. SSI benefits should not affect student aid, Pell Grants or student loans.

Yes, although students with disabilities fill out the same FAFSA as their non-disabled peers, private and/or state grants may require students to provide proof of disability. For example, when applying for a scholarship for blind or partially sighted students, you may be required to provide verification of your visual acuity.

Start with HEATH Resource Center’s Financial Aid for Students with Disabilities, a national clearinghouse through George Washington University: www.heath.gwu.edu/. Another good resource is College Funding Strategies for Students with Disabilities published through the University of Washington. Their Do It series is excellent. Their website is www.washington.edu/doit/. These two websites include financial aid tips and highlight disability-friendly colleges and programs across the United States.

Check out disABILITY Hub, a resource for Delaware students that includes transitional, financial and employment services for school-age and post-secondary youth in Delaware. https://deldhub.gacec.delaware.gov/education/links.shtml

Yes. Make an appointment with the office for students with disabilities at your chosen school. Accessing services for students with disabilities is very different in high school compared with college. Students with disabilities will need to provide appropriate, current documentation of their disability. This generally will include an updated psychological test and documentation specific to their disability. For example, deaf students may need to provide a recent audiogram. Students with disabilities should not assume that services will be ready and waiting for them at a college campus. It may take considerable time to locate an audiobook for a student using an alternative to a standard text or locate a sign language interpreter for a student who needs this service. The office for disability services coordinates test taking and other accommodations for students. Make a point to compare these offices when selecting a school. All college campuses are not the same. You may find that your relationship with the college’s disability service consultants is key to your college success.

Maybe. You might have loans forgiven if you are facing long-term disability through the Total and Permanent Discharge Program. Recent changes have made this process much more challenging. You must demonstrate that you are totally and permanently disabled. Examples are:

  • You could prove that you have a service-related disability and will work with the Department of Veteran Affairs to certify that you are 100 percent disabled.
  • You could be discharged from your loan if you begin receiving SSDI benefits and your next scheduled disability review will be five to seven years from the date of Social Security redetermination.
  • Your doctor could certify that you are permanently disabled with a condition that has lasted 60 months and will continue for 60 months.

These changes carry tax implications. Consult with your tax preparer if you are trying to dissolve student loans.