From SDASFAA: Ask a Financial Aid Professional

November 6, 2019

Greetings from SDASFAA! The 2020-2021 FAFSA went live on October 1st, and our offices are already working with students for the next academic year. Here are a few FAQ’s that you might get for the 2020-2021 FAFSA:

What tax year do I use to report income and taxes paid?

  • For the 2020-2021 FAFSA, you will use 2018 tax information.

When do I have to file the FAFSA?

  • The FAFSA can be filed throughout the academic year, but make sure to check with your school of choice to see if they have a priority filing deadline as some aid may be limited.

Who all gets included in my household size?

  • The student and parent(s)
  • The student’s siblings and/or children – if they receive more than half their support from the student’s parents. They do not need to live in the home. Foster children are typically not included as their costs are covered by foster care payments.
  • Other persons who live with and receive more than half their support from the student’s parents.

Do my parents include the value of their retirement account in their reported assets?

  • No, retirement accounts such as 401(k) plans, pension funds, annuities, etc., are not counted as an asset. Also not included in assets are the family home or place of residence, a family farm or small business, and other possessions such as cars or furniture.

What is the EFC?

  • The EFC or Expected Family Contribution is a measure of how much a student and their family can be expected to contribute to the cost of the student’s education for the year. The calculation for determining an EFC is specified in law and regulated by the Department of Education. The EFC is not the actual amount a student and their family will pay for one year of secondary education.

Do I really need to file a FAFSA?

  • Yes! There are many reasons to file a FAFSA including access to free government grants, low interest education loans, and work-study opportunities. Additionally, many schools will award aid based on the information from the FAFSA and may require students to file.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to a financial aid counselor or SDASFAA member with any other questions that you encounter this year!