FAFSA cash savings and checking accounts

Susan Fernandez May 05 2022

When it comes to FAFSA, there are a few things you need to know about cash savings and checking accounts. The main thing is that your cash savings account can actually hurt your chances of getting financial aid.

Does cash in the bank affect FAFSA?

Yes, your cash savings can actually have an impact on how much financial aid you're eligible for. It's important to remember that when it comes to the FAFSA, the government is looking at your "assets" - which includes anything of value that you own. So, if you have a lot of money saved up in a cash account, it will count against you when they're determining how much aid you need.

When all money is withdrawn from checking and saved the day before the FAFSA is filed, the result is zero. A rather insignificant amount of money might be stated, such as $200 or $300, but there's no need to list any further cash assets. Cash assets have the ability to sink financial aid eligibility, although they are nearly impossible to trace unless acknowledged on the FAFSA.

The best way to avoid having your cash savings account impact your financial aid is to simply not list it on the FAFSA. You're not required to list any assets that are not in your name, so if your savings account is in your parents' name (or anyone else's), you don't have to include it. This is a perfectly legal way to keep your savings from being counted against you - and it's one that a lot of families take advantage of.

So, if you're wondering "does cash in the bank effect FAFSA?", the answer is yes - but only if you choose to include it. By keeping your savings in someone else's name, you can avoid having it count against you and potentially jeopardize your financial aid.

Does savings account affect FAFSA?

Financial aid may be reduced by assets in a child's name, including a savings account, trust fund, or brokerage account. The value of assets in the kid's name — especially those held in a savings account, trust fund, or brokerage account — will have an impact on the financial assistance award. Money saved in a child's account might cost four times as much as the money kept in a parent's account.

However, an advantage of having a savings account in the child's name is that the interest earned will not be reported as income on the FAFSA form. This can help the student qualify for more need-based aid since income is a major factor in the financial aid award calculation.

The 529 college savings plan is an exception to this rule — money saved in a 529 account owned by the parent or child will have no effect on financial aid eligibility. However, distributions from a 529 account are considered income and may impact future aid awards.

A final takeaway is that it's usually better to keep your money in a checking account rather than a savings account when it comes to FAFSA. Checking accounts don't count against you nearly as much as savings accounts, and they don't have the same potential to impact your aid. So, if you're looking to keep your assets low, a checking account is usually the way to go.

What factors impact FAFSA?

So, know you know that cash saving and checking accounts can impact your FAFSA - but what other factors are important? Here are a few of the main things that will affect your financial aid:

Income: Your income is one of the biggest factors when it comes to FAFSA. The higher your income, the less aid you'll be eligible for. So, if you're looking to get the most aid possible, it's important to keep your income as low as possible.

Assets: As we mentioned before, assets are another big factor in determining financial aid. Any money or property that you own can count against you, so it's important to be careful about what you include in your FAFSA.

Family size: Your family size also plays a role in financial aid. The bigger your family, the more aid you'll be eligible for. So, if you have a lot of siblings, you're in luck!

A number of family members in college: The number of people in your family who are currently attending college will also impact your aid. The more people in college, the more aid you'll be eligible for.

So, those are some of the main things that will affect your FAFSA. Be sure to keep these factors in mind when filling out your form - and good luck!

What can negatively affect FAFSA?

As a student, there are a few things you can do that will negatively affect your FAFSA. Among all the factors described above, some of them may affect negatively your FAFSA score. If your family has a lot of money saved up, that will work against you when it comes to FAFSA. The same is true if you have a lot of assets in your name - like a savings account or trust fund.

Additionally, if you have a high income, that will also negatively impact your FAFSA score. So, if you're looking to get the most aid possible, it's important to keep your income and assets as low as possible. Finally, another thing that can negatively affect your FAFSA is if you have a lot of siblings who are also in college. The more people in college in your family, the less aid you'll be eligible for. So, if you have a lot of brothers and sisters, it's best to spread out your college education over a few years.

How much money can you have in savings and still get FAFSA?

The FAFSA includes an asset protection allowance that protects a portion of parents' assets depending on the age of the older parent. The maximum asset protection allowance, however, has decreased from $84,000 in 2009-2010 to $9,400 in 2020-2021 and will vanish completely. Nowadays, the maximum asset protection allowance for a dependent student's parents is $5,730.

The asset protection allowance is subtracted from the total of reportable assets to determine the expected family contribution (EFC), which is used to award need-based financial aid. The EFC consists of two parts: the parental contribution and the student contribution. The student contribution is based on income and assets in the student's name, including any money in a savings account, trust fund, or brokerage account.

The best way to avoid having your assets impact your financial aid is to keep them in someone else's name - like a grandparent or other relative. This way, they won't be counted against you when it comes time to apply for aid.

Do I have to include my savings account on FAFSA?

Failure to disclose assets on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is considered fraud. Whether you keep it in a safety deposit box or hide it under your bed doesn't matter. The government will eventually find out, and when they do, you'll be required to repay any financial aid you received as a result of your deception, with interest. You may also be fined up to $20,000 and/or sent to prison.

So, if you're wondering "should I include my savings account on FAFSA?", the answer is a resounding yes - you should always disclose all of your assets, regardless of how much money you have in the bank. Honesty is the best policy when it comes to filling out the FAFSA, and it's the only way to ensure that you're getting the financial aid you're entitled to.

What assets are not included in FAFSA?

The good news is that there are some assets that are not included in the FAFSA. These include:

  • Your primary residence
  • The value of your retirement accounts (IRA, 401(k), etc.)
  • The value of your life insurance policy
  • Any money you've inherited or received as a gift (up to $15,000 per year)

These assets are not considered when determining your expected family contribution (EFC), so they won't have an impact on your financial aid award. However, it's important to note that this doesn't mean you should hide these assets from the FAFSA - you should still disclose them on the form, as failing to do so could result in fraud charges.

What happens if you accidentally lied on FAFSA?

If you give incorrect or fraudulent information to acquire federal student aid, you will be required to reimburse it. You may also face fines and charges. If you provide false or misleading information on the FAFSA with the intent of cheating, you risk being fined up to $20,000, imprisoned for up to five years, or both. Even if you lied on details that don't seem like they would make a difference, like your parents' income, it's still considered fraud. The best thing to do is to come clean and amend your FAFSA as soon as possible. This way, you can avoid any serious penalties - and get the financial aid you need to pay for college.

Do people get caught lying on FAFSA?

If you're caught lying on the FAFSA, you could face up to five years in prison and a $20,000 fine. You will also have to reimburse any financial aid you received, so the monetary costs are much greater. In addition, your parents could be required to repay any PLUS loans they took out on your behalf.

Lying on the FAFSA is a serious offense, and it's not worth the risk. Be honest when filling out the form, and make sure you understand all of the questions before answering. This way, you can avoid any potential penalties - and ensure that you're getting the financial aid you need to pay for college.

It's no secret that college is expensive. In fact, the average cost of tuition and fees at a private four-year university is now over $30,000 per year, and that doesn't even include the cost of room and board. For many students, the only way to afford college is to take out student loans. But there's another way to pay for school: financial aid.

How can you prepare your checking account for FAFSA?

Your checking account is one of the most important financial documents you have. It's a record of your transactions and can be used to show your current balance, deposits, and withdrawals. When it comes to FAFSA, your checking account plays a vital role in determining your eligibility for federal student aid.

Here are some tips on how to prepare your checking account for FAFSA:

  1. Keep track of your transactions. Make sure to keep track of all your deposits and withdrawals, so you can accurately report them on your FAFSA form. This will help avoid any discrepancies that could delay or reduce your financial aid.
  2. Keep a running balance. Be sure to keep a running balance of your account, so you know how much money you have available to cover your expenses. This will help you avoid any overdraft fees or other charges that could impact your financial aid.
  3. Keep your account in good standing. Be sure to keep your account in good standing by making all required payments on time. This will help you maintain your eligibility for financial aid.
  4. Review your statements regularly. Reviewing your statements regularly will help you catch any errors or discrepancies that could impact your financial aid. If you see anything that doesn't look right, be sure to contact your financial aid office right away.
  5. Know your rights and responsibilities. Be sure to familiarize yourself with your rights and responsibilities as a student borrower. This information can be found in the Master Promissory Note (MPN) for your loan. Knowing this information will help you avoid any surprises during repayment.

By following these tips, you can be sure that your checking account is ready for FAFSA. Preparing your account ahead of time will help ensure that you get the most financial aid possible. So don't wait, start preparing today!