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Questions about College Goal Maryland | Questions about the FAFSA



Questions about College Goal Maryland, INC

When is College Goal Maryland, Inc.?
The dates for the 2016 events are now posted under "Decide what location you'll attend".

Where is College Goal Maryland, Inc.?
College Goal Maryland, Inc. will be held at various
locations across the state.

Who should attend?
Anyone interested in attending a post-secondary institution who might need financial assistance in paying for college. Also, if possible, please bring your parent(s) or legal guardian(s) with you.

What if I'm not sure whether or not I am going to college?
Many students are not sure if they will be continuing their education right after high school. By completing the FAFSA, there is no obligation to attend, and you will have this key form completed in case you decide to attend later that year.

How long does College Goal Maryland last?
We recommend that you allow 1-2 hours for this event.  Activities vary from site to site so please contact individual sites for details.

What if my parents can't come?
Bring all the materials and you should be able to complete most of the FAFSA online using your FSA ID to College Goal Maryland. Then you can finish completing the form with your parents later.

What if I can't go, but my parents can?
Your parents should bring all the materials and they should be able to complete most of the FAFSA at College Goal Maryland. Then they can finish completing the form with you later.

Will anyone see my personal information, such as family income?
You will be completing the FAFSA, and at no time will anyone ask to see your personal information. If you need help on a section that includes personal information, all information reviewed by the College Goal Maryland volunteers will be kept private and confidential and will not be used for any purpose other than helping you complete the FAFSA.

Will there be translation available?
If translation is available, it is noted in the site location information.However, if not listed and needed, please contact the site coordinator directly.



Questions about the FAFSA

What is the FAFSA?
The FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, the form required of any student seeking federal financial aid, including federal student grants, Work-Study funds and loans. The application may also be used to apply for most state and some private financial aid. You can learn more about the FAFSA at
www.fafsa.gov.

Do I have to complete my 2015 tax return before I submit my FAFSA?
If you or your parents are filing a 2015 income tax return, we recommend filing it before completing the FAFSA. This year, families will be encouraged to use the IRS data retrieval option on the FAFASA. However, the income tax return does not need to be sent to the IRS before filling out your FAFSA. Also, you can estimate your taxes if you plan to complete them later in the year. If you estimate, you should estimate as close to your actual anticipated income as possible; you will be required to provide an IRS tax transcript of your actual tax information once it is available. In 2017 prior prior year tax information will be used so completing the tax return will not be needed at the time of FAFSA completion.

Am I eligible for financial aid?
All students are eligible to apply for student financial assistance. Each year, colleges, universities and technical centers assist all students (including full-time, part-time, and day and evening students) in finding available funds from federal, state and campus sources to make educational programs affordable.

Many students don't apply for financial aid because they don't think they're eligible or because they don't understand student financial assistance regulations and procedures.

The best way to find out if you are eligible is to apply using the FAFSA. It is impossible to determine your true eligibility without this document. At the very least you will qualify for a low-interest loan, but you could also be eligible for grants, scholarships and the Work-Study Program.

Can my parents and I complete the FAFSA online?
Yes, you can complete the FAFSA online. It is recommended that you and your parents get an FSA ID first so you can sign the FAFSA electronically. Using an electronic signature eliminates having to print out, sign and send in a signed paper application. After filling out the pre-application worksheet at College Goal Maryland, submitting the information online should be a simple process.

What is the FSA-ID and how do I get one?
You can submit the FAFSA information you complete at College Goal Maryland online to receive a faster response, but you will need a FSA-ID. To create a username and password, and enter your e-mail address go at www.FAFSA.gov
. Enter your name, date of birth, Social Security number, contact information, and challenge questions and answers.  If you have a Federal Student Aid PIN, you will be able to enter it and link it to your FSA ID. You can still create an FSA ID if you have forgotten or do not have a PIN.

My parents are separated or divorced. Which parent fills out the FAFSA?
Your FAFSA information should be completed based on the information of the parent you lived with most during the last 12 months. If you didn't live with either parent, or if you lived with each parent an equal number of days, use the information of the parent who provided the most financial support to you in the most recent calendar year.

What if I don't have a Social Security number or don't want to report it on the form?
You must enter your Social Security number on the FAFSA form. If you don't submit your Social Security number, the form will be returned unprocessed and you will not be considered for federal and state aid.

When is a student independent?
Under the federal definition, an independent student is one who meets at least one of the following conditions:

My foster parents get Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or welfare benefits for me because I am a ward of the court. Is this my income? No. These benefits are income for the person receiving them. Do not include as part of your income any TANF or welfare benefits received by another person even if they are designated for your support or care.

A family member gets Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or welfare benefits for me because I am a ward of the court. Is this my income? No. These benefits are income for the person receiving them. Do not include as part of your income any TANF or welfare benefits received by another person even if they are designated for your support or care.

I am a single parent with one child and will get free day care for my child (from family member or free day care center) while I go to college. Does this “free” income have to be reported on the FAFSA?
No, this service is not income and the information is not collected on the FAFSA. However, note that you need to let your school know that you are receiving free dependent care; an allowance for dependent care may not be added to your cost of attendance.

I am a ward of the court but graduated from high school and then went to live with my parent for two months. Did I lose my independent status? 
A student is considered to be independent if he or she is a ward of the court, or was a ward of the court until the individual reached the age of 18. If your ward of the court status changed before you reached age 18, you may be considered dependent on your parent. In that case, you should talk about your situation with the financial aid administrator at your college.

I am a dependent child of the court of my county. Is this the same as a “ward” of the court? The term “ward” is used to mean “dependent” of the court. You are a ward of the court (regardless whether this status is determined by the county or state) if the court has assumed custody of you. You should have court ordered documents that designate you a ward of the court.

I am no longer under the court because my foster parents took legal guardianship of me a few years ago. However, my foster parents do not support me with their own financial resources. They still get a foster care check each month for me. You still can be a ward of the court if you have a legal guardian or foster parents; check with the court to determine your current status. Note: Neither legal guardians nor foster parents are considered parents when completing the FAFSA.

My parents died when I was very young. A family member or someone else is my court appointed, legal guardian. They have provided support for me all my life. How do I complete the FAFSA? You must complete the FAFSA as an independent student. A legal guardian is not considered a parent for purposes of completing the FAFSA. Colleges may request death certificates so be prepared to provide requested documentation.

I turned 18 and graduated, so my court case was closed. My college is saying I am no longer an independent student because I’m no longer a ward of the court. Am I considered dependent or independent? You are considered to be independent if you are a ward of the court, or were a ward of the court until you reached the age of 18. You should check “yes” to this question if you were a ward of the court until you reached 18.

I live with my foster parents and their children. Are they my "family members?" No. If you are considered independent (for example, because you are a ward of the court), and you have no dependent children of your own, you are a family of one (yourself).

I have filled out this form as an independent student because I am a ward of the court. Do I need my father's and/or mother's signature(s)? I don't live with them, but I see them sometimes. No. Because of your status as a ward of the court, you are considered an independent applicant; parental signatures are not required.