A Webinar in Review: Utilizing FAFSA in your College Financial Planning

Contributed by: Clare Lilek Clare Lilek

Thinking about financing a college education may seem more daunting than the actual education itself. If you or a loved one is applying to college, utilizing the full potential of the FAFSA (Free Application for Financial Student Aid) can make a huge difference in how you or your student manages the stress of a financial future after a degree. In a recent webinar hosted by Nick Defenthaler, CFP® with guest presenter Carrie Gilchrist, Ph.D., the Senior Financial Aid Outreach Advisor at Oakland University, participants got some tips for college planning. Carrie went through basic elements of financial aid, outlined the uses of filling out a FAFSA for everyone, and covered some special circumstances. Throughout the webinar Carrie answered some of the following key questions:

What are the different elements of Financial Aid?

Where can financial aid come from?

Financial Aid can come from federal, state, institutional, and private resources.

How is FAFSA calculated? How does contribute to your overall Financial Aid?

FAFSA collects information on your demographic, taxed income, untaxed income, and assets and comes up with the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Based on what university you or your student attends, each school will have their own Cost of Attendance (COA). Financial Aid is then determined by subtracting your personal EFC from the COA of the university.

When do we file a FAFSA and where?

Start filling out your FAFSA anytime soon after January 1st while the student is still a senior in high school, but before March 1st. This can all be done online and it is encouraged to use the secure federal website, it can save time and hassle.

What if I’m a high income earner?

Still fill out financial aid! It can be used for so much more, including your eligibility for federal loans. You could also qualify for a school grant, which can’t happen without the FAFSA.

These are just a few of the main concerns that Carrie covered throughout the webinar. Take a moment to listen to the whole recording below, there is more in-depth information covered, along with good advice and helpful resources to use when filling out your FAFSA or getting your Financial Aid package in order. At the end of the day, Carrie stressed that making this a collaborative process with your student is key, and Nick stressed that if you have questions, your friendly financial planners here at The Center are always willing and able to help guide you through this process.

Clare Lilek is a Challenge Detroit Fellow / Client Service Associate at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.

This material is being provided for information purposes only and is not a complete description, nor is it a recommendation. Any opinions are those of Clare Lilek and not necessarily those of Raymond James. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but Raymond James does not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse the opinions or services of Carrie Gilchrist or Oakland University.