FREE (FAFSA) Can Cost You!

This article or blog for those on our website is a continuation from our NEED MONEY FOR COLLEGE information series.

To receive financial aid you must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You must file each year while attending college to receive financial aid. We have found that approximately 82% of the FAFSA forms submitted to us for review have errors. The professionals at College Planning TODAY Services will review your FAFSA and optimize it to your advantage.

What advantage is there when so many just settle for doing a FREE FAFSA? Well let's take a look.

F (Free)- The first acronym for the FAFSA starts with F meaning FREE and this is what is promoted among most educators. This is no secret but the indoctrination of just being FREE has lead to many losing tens of thousands of dollars in FREE money for college!!

A (Application) - the application must not only be completed every year but it must be completed properly in order to get any money or to maximize money. This is where things get a little confusing for our "do Free Fafsa" followers. Could you file your taxes without an Accountant? Yes. However, many people choose to hire an accountant in order to minimize their tax liability. It’s pretty much the same thing except we specialize in maximizing your student’s aid eligibility and help with strategies to lower your overall out-of-pocket educational expenses.

F (For Federal) - All federal student loan rates are set by Congress, according to the Federal Student Aid Office.Congress passes into law the interest rates set by the Department of Education each year. The rates they pass are based on 10-year Treasury notes, plus a fixed increase.Student loan rates are set in the spring for each new school year. They are effective from July 1 to June 30 of the following year. To ensure interest rates don’t get too high, Congress also includes student loan rate caps for each type of loan.Here’s the formula used for different types of loans, per the Congressional Budget Office (CBO):Direct undergraduate loans: 10-year Treasury + 2.05%, capped at 8.25%Direct graduate loans: 10-year Treasury + 3.60%, capped at 9.50%Direct PLUS loans: 10-year Treasury + 4.60%, capped at 10.50%Based on the above formula, undergraduate students pay the least to borrow for college. Parents and graduate students will usually pay more to finance educational costs. As you can see this "F" does not stand for FREE! CPTS will assist you with college preparedness where you should not have to depend on so many student loans.

Ps. Did we mention that lying about your income or assets on the FAFSA is a form of fraud punishable by a fine up to $20,000, forfeiture of financial aid awards, and potential prison time?

S (Student) - The student has a vital part to play in this equation. First they can make good grades and prepare to take the PSAT (only counts in the 11th grade. If you do well on this test and other standardized test the federal government will offer you more funding when you qualify in this program.

A (Aid) - While billions of dollars are awarded to qualified students each year millions of dollars are returned because students either do not fill out the FAFSA or do not know how to complete the form in order to get these funds. People have learned that the wealthiest people make more money paying professionals to help them get more money. Will you?

in 2015 2.9 billion unused federal - article read- With average student debt levels rising to astronomical highs, making college affordable has become an increasingly complex challenge. President Obama thinks so, too, as can be seen by his recent proposal for free community college.

Yet according to a study from NerdScholar, around $2.9 billion of federal grant money was left unclaimed after high school seniors eligible for Pell Grants -- which don't have be paid back -- neglected to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in the last academic year.