Use the FAFSA4caster to Estimate Your Financial Aid – Forbes Advisor
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The FAFSA4caster is a free financial aid tool from the federal government that allows you to practice complete the free application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and estimate the financial assistance you might receive based on student and family assets and income.
Here’s what you need to know when and how how to use the FAFSA4caster, as well as what to do with the information it provides.
What is the FAFSA4caster?
The FAFSA4caster is a short practice form for the FAFSA, the Department of Education form that incoming and permanent students complete to determine financial need. The FAFSA4caster estimates federal student aid, but does not report data to government or colleges.
Who should complete the FAFSA4caster?
The FAFSA4caster must be completed as a family. The form will require information about students and parents. Unlike the current FAFSA, you will not be required to create FSA identifiers—Login information with usernames and passwords – for each person providing information to the FAFSA4caster.
Although families can fill in the information at any time, the results will be most accurate when you use the tool as close as possible to the academic year for which you want to get information. For example, you can technically insert information for your eighth grader, but your income may be different four years later, and scholarships may change as well. The senior or junior years of high school are good years to practice completing the FAFSA.
How the FAFSA4caster works
Families fill out information on assets, income, student demographics, and family size. After completing all the required information, the FAFSA4caster estimates the amount of assistance that might be available to you in the form of Pell Grants, the federal work-study program and federal student loans during the next academic year.
8 steps to use the FAFSA4caster tool
The FAFSA4caster is relatively easy to use. Follow these steps to make sure the process goes smoothly and quickly for you:
1. Gather your financial documents
For income, you will need your last tax return. You will also need information about non-taxable income like veterans benefits that are not for educational purposes. If you have non-taxable income, you can add this number in addition to the adjusted gross income on your tax return for a more accurate result. To get asset information, you will need details of bank accounts and investments, including investment properties. You will not need to provide information on a family home that is a primary residence.
2. Follow the link
Click Start to use the tool. The form takes approximately 10 minutes to complete. You can complete the FAFSA4caster as often as you like. It may be a good idea to update it, for example, as your family’s income changes. Adults who plan to return to school can also complete the FAFSA4caster.
3. Answer basic citizenship questions
The FAFSA4caster is intended for US citizens or eligible non-citizens. It is quite easy to find out if you are a US citizen. However, there are a few categories of eligible non-citizens that are eligible, including green card holders and citizens of certain countries.
4. Answer the questions to determine your addiction status.
Independent students may be eligible for more and different types of financial aid than dependent students, because parents’ income does not affect their financial aid status. In order to find out if you are a dependent or independent student, you will answer several questions:
- The first three questions that affect addiction are your date of birth, your expected school year, and your marital status. You are considered an independent student if you are 24 years old on December 31, 2021, married or a graduate or professional student.
- If you do not qualify as an independent student for the first three reasons, you will be asked a multiple choice question along with other situations, for example if you are a military member on active duty. If you do not answer any of these questions for this question, you are probably a dependent student.
5. Respond to household questions
The FAFSA4caster asks questions of households to help determine what resources your family has for basic living, as well as whether the resources your family has to send a student to college should be split among multiple people, including siblings or spouses who have returned to school. .
6. Respond to income and asset information
You will respond first if you recently filed taxes. If yes, enter your adjusted gross income and your income less some deductions from the previous year. Then answer several questions about your assets. You will receive separate questions about student and parent assets. You can estimate what you have in savings, investment accounts, and real estate.
7. Choose your legal state of residence
Your state of legal residence can be a complicated question, and the answer may vary depending on your state’s residency rules. If you’ve only lived in one place in the past year and it wasn’t a dorm, this question should be easy to answer no matter what state you reside in. If you’ve lived in different states, you should contact a local college financial institution. help desk and get details on residency rules. High school counselors can also help.
8. Get your results
The FAFSA4caster estimates how much you may be eligible for federally student loans, the federal Pell scholarship, and work-study. It does not reflect the actual rewards you will receive in the year you apply. It also does not include information about potential financial aid grants from private scholarships, colleges, or state grants.
At the end of the line
The FAFSA4caster is a useful tool for practicing completing the FAFSA and estimating federal financial aid grants. However, this is not the only tool. You should also use net price calculators available on school websites to estimate colleges, states, and the financial aid scholarships. Check the FAFSA4caster and other tools again as your family’s financial situation changes and you get closer to college admission.