Advice to parents of graduating seniors: early return filing may increase access to college financial aid

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Parents of graduating seniors may not be aware that filing their tax returns early can put their child in front of the line for financial aid consideration. Dallas ISD counselors are working to inform parents that early filing can mean more tuition aid dollars for students headed to college. Families in North Texas who earn less than $54,000 can get personalized help from an IRS-certified tax preparer at more than 30 area tax preparation sites. Families can also file online with United Way’s MyFreeTaxes, a product of H&R Block, at no charge if they earn less than $62,000.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA requires the income information listed on the family’s federal income tax form, and filing FAFSA early increases the odds of students sharing in the finite pool of financial aid resources.

Usually, only about 42 percent of district seniors apply for FAFSA, which means they may forego the opportunity to even be considered for financial aid. District counselors want to increase that figure so more students will be financially equipped to attend college.

To help families navigate the FAFSA form, high school counselors are hosting evening and weekend sessions to provide assistance. Two currently scheduled sessions are open to parents from across the district:

  • 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sat., Feb. 20, at Moises Molina High School, 2355 Duncanville Rd.
  • 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27, at Bryan Adams High School, 2101 Millmar Dr.
  • 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 5, at David W. Carter High School, 1819 W. Wheatland Rd.

Parents should come to these sessions with the following documents, which are required to complete the application:

  • 2014 (or most recent) federal income tax returns and W-2s
  • Records of untaxed income if applicable (ex. Social Security benefits, welfare benefits, or veteran benefits)
  • Bank statements and records of investment (if applicable)
  • Social Security Number (if applicable)
  • Driver’s License (if applicable)
  • Alien Registration Number (for non-citizens)

These events will also feature assistance with the Texas Application for State Financial Aid or TASFA form for non-citizens who are classified as Texas residents. The list of necessary items to complete the TASFA includes:

  • 2014 (or most recent) federal income tax returns and W-2s
  • Records of untaxed income if applicable (ex. Social Security benefits, welfare benefits, or veteran benefits)
  • Bank statements and records of investment (if applicable)
  • Proof of selective service registration (males aged 18-25). Click here for more information.
  • Copy of IRS tax transcript. Click here for more information.

Parents with questions about FAFSA assistance should contact their child’s high school counselor or visit www.YouCanAffordCollege.org.

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