FAFSA Training (2020-21 Application Year)


Hi everybody… Hey, this is the recorded
version of the Federal Updates…. ie the FAFSA stuff that we put together for you so
this is the version that you can take a look at any time. And we do want to thank everyone
involved in putting together this presentation. It was a lot of work so thank you to Dennis
Schroeder especially, David Levy, everyone from CASFAA and or CCCSFAAA who had a hand in
this, we appreciate it, as well as all the presenters who go out and presented it at
our workshops. So enjoy, thanks a lot and we will talk to you soon. Welcome to the 2019 High School Counselors
Workshop series, sponsored by the California Community Colleges Student Financial Aid Administrators
Association (CCCSFAAA), the California Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (CASFAA),
ECMC and the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC). Today, we’re going to go through a number
of updates to the financial aid process, most of them from the federal government, the FAFSA
process, and special situations you probably have all heard from your students. We will have time at the end of the presentation
for any questions, so please try to hold questions until then. After this video, CSAC, or the California
Student Aid Commission, will post the final version of this PowerPoint presentation, which
includes all slides, notes, and updates. With the rebranding of the FAFSA.gov website,
StudentAid.gov website, and availability of the myStudentAid mobile app, students and
parents will see a common look to the FAFSA regardless of how or where they connect. Although
the presentation of questions may differ between the browser-based FAFSA and the mobile app’s
myFAFSA, the wording of questions will remain the same. Users will be offered a customized experience
based on their role (student, parent, or preparer). The myFAFSA app provides guidance on how to
complete the FAFSA questions, making the overall process more engaging and user-friendly With the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs
Act (TCJA) (Public Law 115-97), a number of changes were made to IRS tax return forms
and filing requirements. In particular, there is now only one main tax return form for all
filers – the 1040. The 1040A and 1040EZ have been eliminated as of the 2018 tax year.
Also, a number of new schedules have been introduced, including Schedule 1. If a parent
or student filed a federal tax return, they will be asked on the FAFSA, “Did (or will)
you file a Schedule 1 with your 2018 tax return?” This question replaces the older FAFSA question
regarding whether the student or parent could have filed a 1040A or 1040EZ. The response
to the question helps to identify if students are eligible for the simplified needs test
or the auto zero EFC. In 2018, Federal Student Aid (FSA) launched
the myStudentAid app, available from both the Apple App Store and Google Play store.
The app allows students to: Manage their FSA IDs
Complete their FAFSA through myFAFSA Track their borrowing through myFederalLoans
Use the myCollegeScorecard option to compare colleges and universities
Find information for FSA contact centers This year, the myFAFSA function now includes
being able to complete a renewal FAFSA and use of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. Over two years ago, the federal government
reconstituted Year-Round Federal Pell Grant eligibility for students. This allows students
to receive additional Pell Grant within an academic year beyond the normal two (2) full-time
semester limit. For most students, this means they can receive Pell Grant in summer, thus
accelerating their progress towards completion of their degree. Also, colleges can use either 2019-2020 or
the 2020-2021 FAFSA results to make disbursements for the summer of 2020. Colleges will try
to award federal Pell Grant from the FAFSA that provides the most benefit to the student. Because there are some additional rules that
apply, it’s best that students attending summer classes in summer 2020 should contact
their college financial aid office for more guidance. Colleges want to maximize benefits
for the student, which could be either an increased amount of Pell for summer, based
on EFC, or an increase in the number of semesters a student may receive Pell Grant. As these
situations can be complicated, it’s best for a student to consult with their college
financial aid office. FSA ID users will be able to log in with a
verified mobile phone number as an alternative to a username.  A user must first register
his or her mobile phone number on the FSA ID website if he or she has not already done
so. Users who enter an email address with a top-level
domain type of .edu, .k12, .pvt, .tec, or .cc will receive a warning that they should
use an email address to which they will not lose access, as some of these domains may
be associated with their high schools or community colleges and could be lost after graduation
or transfer. Users can still opt to use an email address from these domains. Passwords will no longer require the use of
special characters, like the pound sign (#), the dollar sign ($) , the percentage sign (%), or
ampersand (&). However, users may continue to use these characters in their passwords. To help high school counselors and college
financial aid staff, Federal Student Aid created the Financial Aid Toolkit, available at financialaidtoolkit.ed.gov/.
The toolkit consolidates Federal Student Aid resources into a searchable online database
for those who interact with, support or counsel students and families on making financial
preparations for postsecondary education. You’ll find general information about the
FAFSA, as well as tips and talking points for your outreach to students and their families.
Items you can use in your outreach include: fact sheets, videos, infographics, sample
tweets, and more, and are available for download through the Toolkit. And, if you’re looking
for webinars to brush up on federal financial aid including aid application procedures,
the Toolkit has the information you need. If you navigate to the Resources section of
the Toolkit, you’ll be presented with drop-down menus from which you can filter your choices
for the types of resources you seek, the audience you are working with, and the specific topic
you want to cover. Federal Student Aid is on Twitter and Facebook
and encourages counselors and college access mentors to retweet or share posts. Federal
Student Aid also has a YouTube channel with several playlists on college-prep and financial
aid topics, including the FAFSA. You are welcome to link to the videos or embed them in your
own website. Federal Student Aid’s content is in the public domain, so you may share
it (as long as you don’t charge people for it). The FAFSA Through the FAFSA.gov website, students can: Complete their initial 2020-2021 FAFSA,
Continue to complete a saved FAFSA, Make updates to their FAFSAs—update income
and tax information, add or delete schools, update housing plans, and
Complete a renewal FAFSA—in subsequent years, students will be able to submit a renewal
FAFSA which will pre-populate demographic fields from a previous year’s FAFSA. As mentioned earlier, Federal Student Aid
(FSA) launched the myStudentAid app, which includes the myFAFSA function for students
and parents to complete the FAFSA. To use the myFAFSA function, the user (which could
be a student, parent, or preparer) will need to log in with their FSA ID, as the screens
presented will be tailored according to the role of the user. For 2020-2021, the FAFSA still has seven sections,
although the names of some sections have changed a little. We won’t cover all sections on this video, but instead focus on three sections that give our students and their
families the most challenges. We will look at School Selection, Dependency Status, and
a portion of the Parent’s Information sections in the next few slides. The School Selection Section There are a few tips to give students completing
this section of the FAFSA. First: Students can send their FAFSA results
initially to up to ten colleges. Students who are applying to a greater number of schools
will have the opportunity to add additional colleges after the initial submission and
processing of their FAFSA. Keep in mind that each Cal State and each UC are separate universities
and must be listed separately. Second: Colleges do not need to be listed
in any particular order. Colleges see only themselves when the results are received.
For Cal Grant awarding, CSAC requires students to select their California college of attendance
AFTER the results of the student’s FAFSA are processed and Cal Grant eligibility is
determined. But, the school listed first in California will be used initially by CSAC
for determining Cal Grant eligibility. Third: For students who are certain they are
leaving California to attend an institution outside the state – we highly recommend
they include at least one school in California. Why? Although they could add a California
school AFTER March 2 and still be given Cal Grant consideration, having at least one California
college listed BEFORE March 2 will allow the students to see if they have Cal Grant eligibility,
in the event they attend a California college or university. If a student does not list any California
schools on their initial FAFSA, they will be withdrawn from Cal Grant consideration.
If they later decide to attend a school in California, they will need to add that school
to their FAFSA AND complete the Entitlement Cal Grant Application Correction Form. They
can do this via their WebGrants 4 Students account or by contacting the California Student
Aid Commission. This will then allow them to be reprocessed for Cal Grant consideration. Fourth: When schools have Early Admission
deadlines or Priority Processing deadlines for financial aid, students should make sure
they include these schools on their initial FAFSA submission. Students considering more than 10 colleges
should follow the four rules above. Once their FAFSA is processed, indicated by the receipt
of the Student Aid Report, they can go back to their FAFSA, log in, go to the School Selection
section, remove schools, then add new schools. Students need their FSA IDs to submit changes,
but all the new schools will receive their FAFSA information. Once a school receives
it, even if a students takes the school off of their list, the school can process the
student for financial aid. If the student uses the Search function, they
will receive a list of schools that met their search criteria. To select a school, the student
simply marks the box next to the school. Students can continue to add up to a total of ten (10)
schools to their FAFSA. The FAFSA uses this step to determine the
dependency status of the student for federal and state financial aid purposes. Students
may think they are independent, but the FAFSA questions in this section will determine whether
the student is independent or dependent. Although the look of this section in the redesigned
FAFSA differs from prior years, the questions generally remain the same. They are now presented
in small groups, with only 2 to 5 questions on-screen at one time. The first few questions in this section will
be pre-filled with answers the student provided in Step One of the FAFSA. Children — answering YES to this question
means the student must currently be providing more than 50% of the child’s financial support
and will continue to do so throughout the upcoming school year (July 1, 2020 to June
30, 2021). It is not only a matter of caring for the child. Additionally, “child” can
include an expected birth (not yet born) during the school year. Providing more than 50% of
support counts support received from sources other than the student’s parents, such as
CalWORKs or support from the student’s boyfriend/girlfriend, as though it were provided by the student. There is a similar financial requirement for
supporting other dependents living with the student. For most high school graduates, they will
probably answer NO to the questions regarding other dependents. Note: A student that can answer yes to any question in this section will be considered an independent student for Federal and State financial aid purposes. Now that we have touched on the first five questions, let’s dive into some of the trickier questions in this section. Foster Youth… Students should answer YES if at any time
since they turned age 13 they were in foster care, even if they are no longer in foster
care today. For federal student aid purposes, a ward of the court is not someone who is
incarcerated. Also, the financial aid administrator at the college or university may require the
student to provide documentation that he or she was in foster care or a ward of the court. Emancipated Minors Students answer YES if they can provide a
copy of a court’s decision that as of today they are an emancipated minor. An emancipated
minor is not the same as emancipation from child support. The former occurs prior to
the child reaching the age of majority while the latter occurs when the child reaches the
age of majority. This is a common misunderstanding. They can also answer YES if they can provide
a copy of a court’s decision that they were an emancipated minor before they reached the
age of being an adult in their state (18 years in California). The court must be located
in the student’s state of legal residence at the time the court’s decision was issued. Students should answer NO if the student is
still a minor and the court decision is no longer in effect or the court decision was
not in effect at the time the student turned 18 (became an adult in California). The financial aid administrator at the college
may require the student to provide legal documentation that he/she was an emancipated minor. Legal guardianship… For this question, the definition of legal
guardianship does not include the student’s parents, even if they were appointed by a
court to be the student’s legal guardian(s). Students cannot be considered a legal guardian
of themselves. A legal guardianship established by an attorney
is not sufficient. The legal guardianship must have been ordered by a court of competent
jurisdiction in the student’s state of legal residence. Legal guardianship is different from custody
in some ways. A legal guardianship does not terminate the rights of a parent, including
custody. Instead, it suspends the rights, allowing the legal guardian the right to act
on behalf of the child under the guardianship. Dependency Determination… What was once a group of three questions on
the FAFSA regarding homelessness, has been changed to an initial question asking if a
student was homeless or self-supporting and at risk of being homeless. Students who answer
YES to this question (as shown in the upper-left screen shot) will see a second screen (shown
in the bottom right of the slide) to help them determine who or what agency would be
able to confirm their status. This setup is part of the skip-logic employed by FAFSA to
tailor questions to students based on answers they provided earlier in the FAFSA process. Homeless Unaccompanied Youth… Students can be considered Homeless, Unaccompanied
Youth if, at any time on or after July 1, 2019, they meet all three criteria listed
on screen. • Homeless: Means lacking fixed, regular
and adequate housing, which includes living in shelters, parks, motels, hotels, public
spaces, camping grounds, cars, abandoned buildings, or temporarily living with other people because
the student had nowhere else to go. This may include students who are couch-surfing.
• Unaccompanied: Means the student is not living in the physical custody of a parent
or guardian. • Youth: Means the student is under 24 years
of age. Resources available at NAEHCY.org, from the
National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth. Students ate considered to be independent if they are determined to be homeless unaccompanied youth by. High school or school district homeless liaison U.S. Department of Health and Urban Development
(HUD) homeless assistance program director or designee
Director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program, which
includes a Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) program director or their designee
Also, the college’s financial aid administrator can certify the student meeting the Homeless
Unaccompanied Youth status, based on the preponderance of available information presented by the
student. Here is a What if? scenario… If a student has answered NO to all of the
questions in this step, he/she will be considered a Dependent student for financial aid purposes.
As such, he/she will be required to provide parental information in the next step we’ll
cover. In those rare instances where a student cannot
provide parental information but has answered NO to all of the questions, they have an option
to continue completing and submitting their FAFSA. As noted on the screen, they can mark
the “I am unable to provide information about my parents” … and they will see this screen [on slide]. The student can continue to complete their
FAFSA, skip the Parents section, submit their FAFSA, and it will be processed but only for
Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans initially. No EFC (Expected Family Contribution) will
be calculated, but all of the listed colleges will receive the FAFSA information. The student
will need to follow up with the college (or colleges) for each college’s process for
determining if they can be considered independent due to special or unusual circumstances. We’ll
have an example or two in the last part of this presentation regarding situations where
a student might be considered independent due to special or unusual circumstances. Otherwise, for a large majority of students
coming out of high school, we can assume they are considered dependent for federal and state
financial aid purposes. Oftentimes, there are questions regarding which parent, or parents,
the student should use for supplying financial and household information on the FAFSA. For
a quick reference, here’s a breakdown that should cover 99% of all possible combinations
of parents. Let’s go through the flowchart The first question that is asked to the student is Who’s My Parent when I fill out My FAFSA? Are your parents married to each other? If the student answers yes, the student needs to report information for both parents
on the FAFSA If the student answers no, the next question they need to answer is Do your parents live together? If the student answers yes, then the student needs to report information for both parents
on the FAFSA, even if they were never married, are divorced, or are separated. If they answer no, the student needs to ask themselves Did I live with one parent more than
the other over the past 12 months? If the student answers yes, then the student needs to report information on the FAFSA for
the parent they lived with the most. If they answer no, the student needs to report information on the FAFSA for
the parent who provided more financial support over the past twelve months or in the last
year they received support. The Next question is Has this parent remarried If the parent has not remarried, the student does not need to report additional
parental information. However, If the parent has remarried, the student also needs to report information for their stepparent
on the FAFSA. The following people are not your parents
unless they have legally adopted you: Widowed stepparents, grandparents, foster parents,
legal guardians, older brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles. There are always parts of the FAFSA that seem
prone to misunderstanding or omission, or are often corrected after initial FAFSA submission. Students and parents should be sure to read
and understand the definition of key terms used on the FAFSA, including legal guardianship,
parent, the numbers of people in the family (household) and in college. Also, parents should be careful when they
are completing the FAFSA on behalf of their student, as there’s always confusion as
to who you or your refer to in questions on the form. The words YOU or YOUR always refer
to the student. And, both student and parents should be very careful when entering names,
dates of birth, and Social Security Numbers on the form – transposition of numbers or
letters can cause delays in processing. So next we are going to be going over some common FAFSA mistakes. First, students should be encouraged to list all
possible colleges and universities on the FAFSA that they are considering, even if they
are only backup schools or backup-backup schools. Students and parents should be encouraged
to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool if allowable. This can oftentimes save time and hopefully
avoid verifying this information later with the financial aid office at their college.
It also helps in reporting correct information for income, taxes paid, exemptions, and filing
status. Reporting of assets can also be an area where
we find mistakes. First, the net worth of assets are to be reported as of the date the
FAFSA is completed. For example, the net worth of property would be the difference between
the current market value, less any outstanding mortgage on the property. Families should also make sure they are not
including the values of assets which are exempt for inclusion on the FAFSA. The most common
assets they should not include are the value of their primary residence and the value of
retirement accounts. Both of these assets are excluded from the FAFSA. 529 plans tend to cause some problems, too.
In short, if the student submitting the FAFSA has a 529 plan through their parents, then
the value of the plan is reported under the parent’s assets section of the FAFSA. All
other 529 plans owned by the parents for other family members are also reported in the parent’s
section of the FAFSA. 529 plans owned by grandparents or other relatives are not reported on the
FAFSA. But, distributions from these non-parental 529 plans will be reported on the FAFSA in
future years as untaxed income (question #44i on the paper 2020-2021 FAFSA), under “Money
received, or paid on your behalf, but not reported elsewhere on the [FAFSA].” These are some of the common FAFSA concerns… Related to some of the mistakes often made
by students and parents completing the FAFSA, there are some areas of concern that pop up
that we need to address. If a student determines they’ve misreported
their name on a FAFSA, this can be easily fixed by the student through the FAFSA. Students
can go into their FAFSA, make a correction, then sign and submit their application for
reprocessing. This should be less and less an issue as students should be using their
FSA ID to start their FAFSA, so their name has already been confirmed as accurate during
the FSA ID creation process. If they’ve misreported their Social Security
Number, though, it is highly recommended that the student complete a new FAFSA, as otherwise
their record will be associated with the wrong number for that academic year, which could
complicate matters at their college financial aid office. This, just like misreported names,
should be less and less an issue as students should be using their FSA ID to start their
FAFSA. You may get or receive questions from students
regarding Selective Service requirements. How this affects transgender or transitioning
students is as follows – the Selective Service “registration requirement applies to any
person assigned the sex of male at birth” (wording taken directly from the 2020-2021
paper FAFSA instructions). Students can obtain a Status Information Letter from Selective
Service if they need to clarify their exemption to registration. Lastly, although the FAFSA is available after
March 2nd, students should complete the form as soon as possible on or after October 1st,
but before March 2nd for maximum aid consideration. Students who apply for need-based aid during
the first three months of the FAFSA application cycle tend to receive, on average, TWICE as
much grant aid. Some words of encouragement to our students
and parents… If they are attending a FAFSA workshop, please
come together. It can be difficult to have just a parent or student trying to complete
a FAFSA. And, it is highly recommended that students
and parents each create their FSA IDs before attending a workshop. Too many times, we see
students and their custodial parents getting bogged in the FSA ID process, leaving little
or no time to work on the FAFSA. On a related note, we have issues in future
years when a parent was the creator of the student’s FSA ID and fails to share this
information with the student. Thus, when the student tries to complete the FAFSA for their
second year at college, they either don’t have their FSA ID information or they try
to create a new FSA ID. The FAFSA Demonstration Website… The U.S. Department of Education has a test
system for financial aid administrators and high school counselors. If you’d like to
create a “dummy” FAFSA, check out the questions, see how the skip-logic reacts to
answers you input, or just look at the FAFSA on the Web webpages, check out the test site
at fafsademo.test.ed.gov. The username to use is eddemo, and the password is fafsatest.
The 2020-2021 test system is expected to be available in mid to late September. If you
go into the system too early, you will find data relating to the 2019-2020 FAFSA, not
the 2020-2021 FAFSA.

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