What You Need to Know About FAFSA in 2021

Written by Firethorn Wealth Partners

December 16, 2020

As this year comes to a close, it is important that you start figuring out your plan for financial aid for either your high school senior or child that is already in college. If you have a student approaching college or already in college, nailing down your plan for financial aid is key to planning ahead and being prepared. The 2021-2022 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) opened up in October, but it is not too late to apply. Keep reading to learn the most important pieces of information when it comes to filing FAFSA in 2021!

The Earlier, The Better

The sooner you get your application turned in, the more you are considered for scholarships and grants under FAFSA. If financial assistance is needed each year your student is in college, FAFSA will need to be filed annually. In some cases, depending on the type of aid, it is first-come, first serve. According to Forbes, the sooner high school seniors and college students apply, the better chance they have at receiving federal work-study and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, state aid, and school aid (McGurran, 2020).

File Electronically

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, processing paper applications for FAFSA will take longer than typical. Comparably, the IRS dealt with a huge delay in processing paper tax returns. With FAFSA, you want to make sure that you file electronically to prevent this same situation from happening.

An App is in Progress

Right now, the Department of Education is in the process of creating a FAFSA app, called myStudentAid, that will be accessible for students and parents to see all of the details regarding their student financial aid, loan payments, and helpful resources (US News). In addition, “Students will also be able to view a summary of information like aid overpayments, which is when more aid is disbursed to a student than he or she is eligible for, and remaining federal student loan and Pell Grant eligibility,” (US News).

Changes to 2021 FAFSA

Not much has changed on the 2021-2022 FAFSA, however, “the income level to qualify for an automatic $0 Estimated Family Contribution — students with a $0 EFC qualify for the maximum Pell Grant — rose to $27,000 from $26,000” (Money.com). However, with the pandemic, many families suffered job losses and layoffs and may no longer make the same amount of money as they once did. Do not let this stray you away from filing FAFSA, as you can fill it out with your previous tax information and contact those in charge of financial aid at the university your student attends.

As you can see, there is a lot that goes into filing for financial aid. However, Firethorn Wealth Partners wants to make the college planning process easier for you. Give us a call at 706.426.4243 or schedule an appointment here to get started! We are here to help you in any way we can.