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Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority
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Hosting a Seminar 

  

Can we partner with a neighboring school to jointly host a financial aid or college prep seminar?
Many smaller schools in close proximity to each other choose to host a joint MEFA seminar, alternating sites each year. To see which high schools near you currently offer a seminar, view our seminar schedule.
 

 

When is the best time of year to host a MEFA College Financial Aid Seminar, and whom should I invite?
Most high schools hold their College Financial Aid seminars between October and mid-January. Fall semester seminars are ideal for parents of seniors, and students often attend as well. College Admissions seminar for Juniors and their parents are usually held in the spring.
 

 

How can I guarantee that I get a specific MEFA presenter?
MEFA has about forty College Financial Aid Seminar presenters. Most present at high schools close to where they live or work. If you prefer a specific presenter, contact MEFA as early as possible — preferably in the spring — to confirm your presenter. It is helpful if you have several available dates that the presenter may choose.
 

 

May we schedule a local bank or financial planner to present on the same night as the MEFA College Financial Aid Seminar?
MEFA prefers that the College Financial Aid Seminar is the only event scheduled in an evening. It often lasts between 90 and 120 minutes, and includes a lot of detailed information for families to absorb. MEFA presenters are experienced financial aid professionals who are prepared to answer parents' questions.
 

 

How should I advise parents who ask me about the credibility of a private company that provides fee-based financial aid services?
Consider developing a school-endorsed policy stating that you do not take a position that recommends or does not recommend specific fee-based individuals or companies offering assistance with the college financial aid process. Remind families that all information about financial aid, scholarships, and completing applications is available for free through MEFA and college financial aid offices.
 


Where should I refer families with extenuating circumstances for individual assistance?
The financial aid office at the student's prospective college is the best source. If the student is not sure where he or she would like to apply, we recommend that you refer the student to the closest federally-funded Educational Opportunity Center. The statewide EOCs provide extensive free individualized services for families. 


How much does it cost to apply?
The FAFSA is a free application, and is required by all colleges for federal and state financial aid. The CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE® has a cost associated, but the application fee may be waived for families with high financial need. 


If a family’s financial aid applications are due before they are able to file their taxes, what can I suggest?
If federal tax forms will not be completed before the earliest college deadline, the family will need to submit estimated numbers. The colleges will base their tentative financial aid award on your estimates. You may update your financial aid applications once you’ve completed your federal taxes. The award won't be considered final until you have produced final tax documents. 


Whose information is included on the FAFSA?
Most high school seniors are considered dependent students and are required to provide parental information along with their own. Parents may be biological or adoptive, and further instructions differ depending on the family situation: 

  • Married: both parents provide information. 
  • Single or widowed: that parent provides information. If remarried, include step-parent’s information. 
  • Divorced/separated: the parent that the student lived with more during the prior 12 months provides information. If that parent is remarried, include step=parent’s information. Non-custodial information is not currently required for the FAFSA, but may be requested by some colleges that use the CSS/Financial Aid Profile. 
  • Court-appointed legal guardian or foster parent: no parental information is currently required. Student is considered independent. 


How is real estate included on the FAFSA?
The family’s primary residence is not included on the FAFSA, but any other property is considered an asset. In the case of a multi-family unit, where the family lives in one of those units, the net value (market value of the property minus any debt) of the rental units would be reported as assets. 


How are college savings accounts treated?
College savings accounts, like MEFA’s U.Plan Prepaid Tuition Program and U.Fund 529 College Investing Plan, are reported as assets of the owner. If the owner is a dependent student, the accounts are reported as the parent's assets. 


Where is debt information entered?
Consumer debt (credit cards, auto loans, etc) and lines of credit (unused, available credit) are not factored into the calculation of financial aid eligibility.  If, however, a family is reporting information about home equity, then they would factor in the balance on any home equity lines of credit when calculating the net equity in the property.  


Keep in mind that the FAFSA does not ask any questions about the primary home. If parents decide to pursue a parent loan to help finance their share of the educational expenses, then the lender would access the borrower’s credit record to determine eligibility for educational loans.  But colleges themselves do not access or use this information when preparing a financial aid award. 


How does a student submit the FAFSA to more than 10 colleges?
Wait until the student receives the processed Student Aid report (SAR) to confirm that the originally listed colleges received your information. Then login to the FAFSA Web site and delete the necessary number of school codes to add the new school codes. 


Do I have to file the CSS PROFILE® online?
If the CSS PROFILE® is required, it must be filed online.
 

 

 

After A Family Applies 

  

What should a family expect after filing the FAFSA?
Soon after filing, a family will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) that tells the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). When the college receives the FAFSA, the financial aid office will review the information and determine what financial aid they can award. The college may request certain documents as part of their verification process of the information provided on the FAFSA. Keep copies of all year-end documents.
 

 

Is the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) for one year or for all four years?
The EFC is what a family is expected to contribute towards the student’s higher education for one year.
 

 

When should a student expect financial aid award letters in the mail?
Many colleges send financial aid award letters to accepted applicants throughout March and April. These letters indicate the types and amounts of financial aid a student can expect to receive if they attend that particular college or university.
 

 

If a family isn’t satisfied with the amount of financial aid offered by a college, can they negotiate for more?
College financial aid professionals do everything they can to give their best possible offer. If there are extenuating family circumstances that are either not properly explained by the information on the financial aid applications or have developed since the family filed, the family should contact the prospective colleges to discuss the specific situation. Examples of significant changes could include loss or reduction of income, unusually high medical bills or nursing home expenses.
 

 

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