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What to know about the FAFSA 2022-2023 application

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the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (aka FAFSA) opens October 1, 2021 for the 2022-2023 school year. And in a year where change seems almost constant, the FAFSA app has also undergone some tweaks.

To select spoke with Kalman Chany, President and Founder of University advisors, a company that guides families through the financial aid process, for a breakdown of why families should pay particular attention to this year’s application.

How is the FAFSA app different this year?

While the questions on the app aren’t changing for the ’22-’23 school year, the way the answers are interpreted is going to be a little different, Chany says.

There are two questions on the application that have traditionally been “disqualifiers” for financial aid: a question about drug convictions and a question about Selective Service registration.

In the past, students who were convicted of drugs while also receiving financial aid were disqualified for future financial aid. And male students 18 or older who indicate on the FAFSA form that they did not enter the draft were also disqualified from receiving financial aid.

Both of these questions will still be on the application, but having a drug conviction and not enrolling in the project will no longer affect a student’s ability to receive federal grants. financial aid.

According to Federal Student Aid website, there will be a few other small tweaks, including a visual update to the website and the ability for users to indicate whether they are a student, parent or preparator, before starting the FAFSA application .

How will Covid-19 unemployment benefits affect student application?

This year, completing the FAFSA application may be a bit tricky for some families who received Covid-19 unemployment benefits under the CARES Act, Chany says.

Some families who received increased employment benefits may have earned higher incomes in 2020 and 2021 compared to previous years. Moreover, the exclusion from unemployment compensation (UCE) passed on March 11, 2021 provided tax relief of up to $10,200 for unemployed workers who were collecting unemployment.

Tax return the season began in February 2021, before the provision passed, so those who filed their taxes early could not initially claim the tax relief. The IRS has made an adjustment for filers when sending refund checks.

But that poses a problem for first-time filers who are now filling out the FAFSA form for their students this year. Without the UCE tax credit indicated on their tax forms, they have essentially overstated their incomes, and as a result, this could reduce the amount of federal student aid these families can receive.

“The provision to exempt up to $10,200 of unemployment income from tax had not yet passed when some people filed their taxes in February or early March,” Chany explained. “The IRS has said that early filers don’t need to change their tax returns and they will still give them this tax credit. The problem is for people who file early and use the tax tool. IRS data recovery on FAFSA form, their income will be overestimated because the data recovery tool will pull the data originally filed before IRS adjustments for UCE This UCE tax relief would have reduced their income gross adjusted.

Advice from the office of Federal Student Aid encourages financial aid administrators to work with affected families to use their professional judgment to appropriately adjust the family’s adjusted gross income on the application.

What should affected families do?

For families who are concerned about the impact the lack of the UCE tax credit might have on their FAFSA application, Chany recommends that they wait for further guidance before completing the FAFSA application until their student applies. or does not attend schools in states that provide financial aid on a first-come, first-served basis.

There are 13 states that provide aid in this way: Alaska, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont and Washington.

“It’s only worth filing early if the school gives money on a first-come, first-served basis,” he said. “Otherwise, there’s no benefit to completing the FAFSA application immediately after it opens on October 1. It’s best to wait and make sure you have the tax advice you need to properly complete the form.”

How to complete the form?

To begin completing the application, students and parents should go to fafsa.gov to register, login or print a hard copy of the application. Families will first need to enter biographical information about the student, including full name, permanent mailing address, date of birth, social security number, driver’s license number, email address, citizenship, alien registration number (if applicable) and marital status.

Students will also be asked if they are enrolled in Selective Service (if you are male) and if they have ever received a drug conviction (but the answers to these questions will no longer impact your eligibility to receive financial assistance).

Students will also enter information about the high school they are attending and the college degree they are seeking.

The next section is about the student’s tax return status and will include questions about the tax return that was filed for 2020, the tax return status, the Schedule 1 return, and the adjusted gross income of the student and his spouse (if applicable). There will also be questions related to child support, education tax credits, scholarships received, and other federal programs or distributions you may have received.

The third section includes questions to determine if the student’s parents must share their income and tax information in order to qualify for federal aid. Generally, students who are dependents will be required to report information about their parent’s income and tax returns on the FAFSA application.

Once it is determined if parent information is required, parents will enter their own biographical information and answer questions about their adjusted gross income, salary, taxable income, and assets.

The following section is only for students who are not dependents and asks for information about their household. And for the last two sections, students fill in the names of the colleges for which they wish to receive financial aid.

It is helpful for students to know each institution’s federal school code, which is usually found on the financial aid page of the college’s website. But if they can’t find it, they can just write down the name of each school. Then all that remains is for students and parents to sign and date the form and submit it.

This information can be viewed in a candidacy project on the Federal Student Aid website, or it can be found with additional tips and advice in Chany’s latest 2021 edition of “Paying for College 2022: Everything You Need to Maximize Financial Aid and Get You into College.”

Keep in mind that you will need to reapply for aid each year you are in school. The actual time it takes to receive your financial aid award letter – outlining the amount of aid you will receive – will vary from school to school. However, schools typically send out award letters within three months of receiving student FAFSA information from the Department of Education.

The last day to complete the FAFSA application for the ’22-’23 school year is June 30, 2023. The form can still be completed and submitted even if you are still applying to colleges and have not yet been accepted.

Editorial note: Any opinions, analyses, criticisms or recommendations expressed in this article are those of Select’s editorial staff only and have not been reviewed, endorsed or otherwise endorsed by any third party.