Why does FAFSA ask how much money I have?

Susan Fernandez April 04 2022

FAFSA is a needs-based financial aid program, meaning that the primary factor in determining eligibility for aid is a family's demonstrated financial need. In order to determine need, FAFSA asks for information about both the student's and the family's finances, including income, assets, and employment.

One of the key pieces of information used to calculate need is the student's expected family contribution (EFC). The EFC is a measure of how much the family can reasonably be expected to contribute to the student's education costs. It takes into account factors like income, assets, family size, and the number of children in college.

The EFC is used to determine eligibility for need-based aid programs like grants and loans. Families with lower EFCs are more likely to qualify for need-based aid, while families with higher EFCs will typically receive less federal or institutional aid. The Department of Education (DOE), states, colleges, and universities use the information on the FAFSA to determine how much money they can offer you in the form of grants, need-based scholarships, and student loans.

Why does FAFSA ask how much money I have?

Due to the fact that the information provided by FAFSA is used to determine eligibility for financial aid programs like grants and loans, which are based on need. Families with higher incomes or assets are typically less likely to qualify for aid, while those with lower incomes or fewer assets are more likely to qualify. In order to accurately assess a family's needs, FAFSA asks how much money they have in order to create an EFC (expected family contribution) that reflects their ability to contribute towards education costs.

Ultimately, this means that families who have little income and few assets are more likely to receive financial aid from federal, state, and institutional programs, while families with high incomes and/or large amounts of wealth will receive less aid. So why does FAFSA ask how much money I have? The answer is simple – in order to accurately assess a family's financial need and determine their eligibility for need-based aid programs.​

As you can see, the FAFSA asks about income, assets, and other factors to help determine your family's expected contribution towards education costs. This information is used by the DOE, colleges, and universities to determine your eligibility for grants, scholarships, and student loans. So if you're wondering why FAFSA asks about your finances, the answer is that it helps them accurately assess your overall financial situation in order to provide you with access to the most appropriate amount of need-based aid possible.​

Do I have to tell FAFSA how much money I have?

Yes. Take a look at the FAFSA form, which asks for "the total current balance of cash, savings, and checking accounts." When you complete a FAFSA form, you are giving your state financial aid agency permission to examine any statement on the form, including your savings and checking accounts.

By not reporting all of your assets on the FAFSA form, you may be opening yourself up to accusations of fraud. The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) can impose a number of penalties if they determine that you have committed fraud, including fines, repayment of financial aid funds, and ineligibility for future aid. In severe cases, you may even be subject to prosecution.

So while it may be tempting to omit some of your assets from the FAFSA form in order to qualify for more financial aid, it's simply not worth the risk. Be honest about your finances on the FAFSA form, and you'll avoid any potential problems down the road.

Will FAFSA look at my bank account? FAFSA is not going to verify every single applicant's application to ensure it corresponds with what they actually have in their bank accounts or tax forms, for the most part, and if we are being realistic. Doing so would necessitate a lot of government and department of education time and resources. But, that being said, if there is something that stands out on your application - say you reported $1,000 in savings, but your parents just sold their house for $500,000 - then FAFSA may ask for documentation to explain the discrepancy.

How does FAFSA verify income?

Families may be required to submit federal tax return transcripts in order to verify their FAFSA application. A signed copy of the relevant income tax return is also acceptable. Colleges could request proof of earnings, sibling registration forms, or other supporting documents if they wish.

The procedure of verifying an income tax return can be a bit lengthy and complicated. If you decide to submit your tax return, keep in mind that you may need to provide proof of any business-related expenses or deductions, such as mileage.

Fortunately, the DOE does have an appeals process if they determine that you were not entirely truthful on your FAFSA form. If you are concerned about how this might affect your eligibility for financial aid, it's best to contact the Department of Education directly by phone or email to discuss your situation and what options may be available to you.

How long does it take for FAFSA verification?

When do you think you'll hear back from the lender on your FAFSA? The length of time it takes to get a response from the lender varies by institution. Some schools may require additional documentation from you, which can delay the process.

If you are selected for FAFSA verification, it means that your application is selected for a review process to confirm the accuracy of the information that you provided. This is not unusual - about 30% of all FAFSA applications are selected for verification. The Department of Education randomly selects applications for verification, and your school may also select certain applications for special scrutiny.

Will my savings account affect my financial aid?

If college savings accounts are in your name rather than your parents', the percentage of their value that is factored into your financial aid will be higher, resulting in a smaller amount of financial assistance. However, if they are in your parents' name, they will have a minimal effect.

The major determining factor in whether you qualify for financial aid is your income. Savings and other assets are considered when calculating how much you can afford to pay, but only marginally. "Assets have little bearing on the bottom line," according to Paying For College Without Going Broke author Kal Chany.

What's more, if you have significant college savings, you can actually use that money to your advantage. By designating some of your savings as "student income" on the FAFSA form, you can reduce the amount of need-based aid for which you qualify.

For example, let's say you're eligible for $5,000 in need-based aid. If you designate $2,000 of your savings as student income, then your financial aid award will be reduced by $1,000 (50% of your student income). So in this case, using savings to offset need-based aid actually works in your favor.

What happens if you accidentally lie on FAFSA?

If you submit fraudulent or incorrect information on your FAFSA, you will be required to return the funds. You may also face penalties and expenses. If you deliberately give false or misleading information on the FAFSA, you may be fined up to $20,000, imprisoned for up to five years, or both.​

The FAFSA form asks how much money you have in your bank accounts and other financial assets in order to evaluate your overall fis​cal situation. This information is used to determine the amount of need-based aid that you are eligible to receive, so it's important to report an accurate picture of your finances. While it may be tempting to try to hide some of your assets in order to qualify for more financial aid, this is not worth the risk. By being honest on the FAFSA form, you can avoid any potential problems with fraud or prosecution.​

If you lie to FAFSA and it's discovered, you may have to repay any financial aid that you received as a result of the fraud. You may also face fines, imprisonment, or both. It's simply not worth the risk to try to hide your assets when completing the FAFSA form - just be honest and accurate in your responses.​

How do I hide money from FAFSA?

The reasons for you to hide money from FAFSA are not good ones. FAFSA is designed to help students who have financial needs, and if you try to hide your assets in order to qualify for more aid, you are defrauding the system. This is a serious offense that can result in jail time, fines, and repayment of any financial aid that you received as a result of the fraud.

Simply stated, if assets are not reported on a company's balance sheet, they are supposed to be recorded as non-reportable assets. These non-reportable assets cannot be used as collateral for a loan. Recorded assets are those which appear on a company's balance sheet and can be used as collateral for loans. Non-reportable assets do not appear on the balance sheet and cannot be used as collateral.

Using them to pay off debt can help you reduce your taxable assets. This is because the interest you pay on the debt is tax-deductible, while the money in your savings account is not. For example, let's say you have $10,000 in a savings account and $10,000 in credit card debt. If you use the money in your savings account to pay off the credit card debt, then you will have $0 in taxable assets. However, if you keep the money in your savings account, then you will have $10,000 in taxable assets.

The name of the student is added to the parent's name in this example. As the grandparent, you are not related to the student and are not required to provide information about your assets on the FAFSA form.

How much money is too much for FAFSA?

You can't get more need-based aid than your financial need. For example, if your COA is $16,000 and your EFC is $12,000, your financial need is $4,000; thus you aren't qualified for more than $4,000 in need-based assistance. As a result, FAFSA doesn't ask how much money you have because it's irrelevant to your financial need.

On the FAFSA, 20% of your personal savings is regarded as available for college costs. In most cases, you may anticipate that your financial aid package will be reduced in proportion to the dollar amount – which is rather significant. For example, if you have $20,000 in the bank, your aid would be cut by $4,000. However, this is not always the case. Also, keep in mind that your other assets may reduce your eligibility for aid as well.

Does owning a house affect FAFSA?

While the family's home's net worth does not impact student aid eligibility, money in a savings account is considered an asset regardless of its source or purpose. Your house is not considered an asset on the FAFSA.

The FAFSA does not consider your small business as an asset, but it will count the money in your business bank account as an asset. To avoid this, you can transfer the money into a personal account before completing the FAFSA form. You should also be aware that if you are self-employed, you may need to provide additional documentation to prove your income. This is because self-employment income is not always easy to verify.

Today, if your family's total income is $27,000 or less, you don't have to contribute anything toward your education expenses. The same goes if you (as an independent student) and your spouse earn no more than $27,000 per year. Eligibility for need-based aid is based on the total family income. Student earnings are not counted in determining financial need.

In this situation, your FAFSA form will be considered incomplete because you did not provide all of the required information, such as your assets and household size. To complete the application, you'll need to fill in these details before submitting it to FAFSA.