FAFSA Questions: Taxes, the SAR, and CSS Profile
The New Year has students and families everywhere preparing their FAFSAs (Free Application for Federal Student Aid.)
January 1st is the earliest one can submit a FAFSA – and, as we’ve noted many times – the earlier, the better.
If the FAFSA is still on your family’s college planning agenda, here are some of the most common questions pertaining to it… put together by one of our in-house FAFSA experts, Jodi Polster.
- Scott Weingold
FAFSA Questions and Answers
Q: Can I still submit my FAFSA even though I haven’t filed my taxes yet?
A: Yes, you can. And you absolutely should file your FAFSA before you have submitted your federal and state taxes.
As mentioned, the earlier, the better. That means providing your best approximations of income and taxes — based on pay stubs, W-2s, etc.
Besides, you can always make changes to your FAFSA — after your taxes are finalized. You do that by going online to the FAFSA web site and filling in the correct numbers.
Q: How Do I Go About Checking The Status Of My Submitted FAFSA?
A: There are two ways to do this. You can go to fafsa.ed.gov and click ‘Start Here’ – from there, just follow the correct links to get your answer.
The second way is to call 800.433.3243 and ask. If you don’t find out your status, it may be because your application is still being processed. In that case, simply wait a few days and try again.
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 is the FAFSA different from the CSS profile?
A: While most families know about the FAFSA, slightly less well known (but no less important) is the College Scholarship Service (CSS) Profile.
The CSS Profile differs from the FAFSA in a few important ways. For instance, it may take other assets into account – like your home’s value.
Many families consider the CSS Profile more complex to fill out than the FAFSA. However, it may well be worth it.
That’s because the CSS Profile helps you to get private funds from some colleges. Not all participate – you should investigate in the case of individual schools.
But if a prospective school does use the CSS Profile, you could do very well by applying for private funds through this form.
It’s a good bit more work… but through the CSS Profile, schools open up an entire new avenue of grants and scholarships unknown to most.
To your college funding & admissions success,
Education Specialist, College Planning Network LLC
CollegeMadeSimple.com – The free educational resource of College Planning Network