FAFSA Frequently Asked Questions: Loans, Student Aid Reports, and Divorce

Each and every day here at CollegeMadeSimple, we get dozens of questions on the FAFSA. So many, in fact, that we decided to put together a comprehensive list of Frequently Asked Questions.  Here’s Part II of our FAFSA FAQ series:

Q:  What should I check off on the FAFSA if I am undecided on taking student loans?

A:  Answering Yes (in the box asking if you’re interested in student loans) does NOT mean you are obligated in any way to accept any aid that is awarded to you in your aid letter.  You have the right to decline each part of your aid package.

Q:  How do I apply for a Pell Grant?  What about other types of need-based aid?

A:  The first step is to correctly fill out the FAFSA, which is to say – which is to say – indicate your interest in aid if you are in fact interested.  Rest assured, this does not mean you have to accept these types of aid. You can choose to accept or decline later.

Also understand that you will not apply for the Pell Grant. In other words, by filling out the FAFSA, you are eligible to receive the Grant (if you meet the requirements). And it’s the same with all other need-based aid.

Q:  What do I do if I haven’t yet received a Student Aid Report (SAR)?

A:  To find out if your FAFSA has been processed – or to get a duplicate copy of your SAR – you can call the Federal Student Aid Information Center toll-free at 1-800-4-FED-AID. You will need your Social Security number and date of birth for verification purposes.

Q:  How do I fill out the FAFSA if my parents are divorced?

A:  If your parents are divorced you will want to use your “custodial parent’s” information, which will include their financial information.  The custodial parent is the parent the student lives with more than 50% of the time.  Take note – if you did not – in the last 12 months – live with one parent more than 50% of the time, you will want to list the custodial parent who supported you the most (financially speaking) on the FAFSA.

Q:  Do I need a Social Security number in my FAFSA?

A:  In short, to be eligible for federal student financial aid  – Yes.  And if you submit your FAFSA without your Social Security number, it will be returned to you without being processed.

To your successful college search,

Scott Weingold
Publisher, CollegeMadeSimple.com

P.S.  You can read more of our FAFSA Frequently Asked Questions here.

Other Related Articles:

When to Apply for the FAFSA

How to Get Maximum Money for College

5 Tips on Paying for College if you Don’t Get Enough Financial Aid

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karenDecember 18th, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Thank you.
How do I find out my family’s expected contribution?
Thank you.

LouieDecember 20th, 2010 at 9:29 am

Hello Karen,

You should contact Scott’s main office and set up a free telephone appointment with one of his educational consultants. The toll free office number is 1-866-207-5545.

DanaFebruary 13th, 2011 at 7:20 pm

I filled out the FAFSA today for my daughter. My husband was laid off after 27 years of employment effective Jan 4, 2011. I checked the box for “dislocated worker” but saw no where else in the form to indicate our “current” situation. Did I miss something?

Alicia RichardsonFebruary 15th, 2011 at 10:44 am

Hi Dana,

You will need to contact each college directly to explain your situation. Many colleges have a process for you to appeal and request that your current financial situation be considered rather than your 2010 income.

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Editor's Note: Scott Weingold has been ranked the #1 “College Financial Aid Expert Worth Knowing About” in the entire country by CollegeStats.org.  He has co-authored the book, “The Real Secret To Paying For College. The Insider’s Guide To Sending Your Child To College – Without Spending Your Life’s Savings.” Scott also publishes a popular free online newsletter, “College Funding Made Simple" which reveals insider’s tips, methods, and strategies for beating the high cost of college.

Scott is the co-founder and a principal of the widely renown College Planning Network, LLC – the nation’s largest and most reputable college admissions and financial aid planning firm. CPN is a proud member of the Better Business Bureau, the National Association of College Funding Advisors, the National Association for College Admission Counseling, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.

Scott, along with his college funding advisory team, helps thousands of families throughout the country with their college planning needs and offers a series of free educational webinars and workshops on “How To Pay For College Without Going Broke In The Process!” He's been featured or mentioned in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Yahoo News, TheStreet.com, Voice America with Ron Adams, Crains Cleveland Business, and on Cleveland Connection with James McIntyre.  Scott has published numerous articles and is a professional speaker who has addressed thousands of audiences online and offline throughout the United States.  His actionable insights and candid, open approach have earned him & his team numerous media interviews, citations, and speaking opportunities, and his free online video workshop is one of the Internet’s most widely viewed pieces in the college funding space.