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Have you ever tried to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) only to get confused by the forms? Frank’s FAFSA Tool was created to simplify filling out the FAFSA.
Started in 2016 by Charlie Javice and based in New York City, the company is not affiliated with the Department of Education. It provides support in filling out the FAFSA, reducing the process from something that previously could take hours to a task that can be completed in as little as four minutes.
It has also streamlined the process to help you maximize the amount of financial aid that you’ll receive. It does this by ensuring you understand how to answer each of the questions and that you don’t miss or skip important sections.
Benefits of the Frank FAFSA Tool and Service
It can be tedious to fill out complex paperwork. But filling out the FAFSA is important since it can determine how much you and your family will be eligible for in financial aid. In the past, most families have just struggled through the form and submitted it, sometimes not truly understanding what is required and potentially leaving money on the table.
Frank offers a free solution that allows you to streamline your FAFSA application, educates you about what FAFSA does and what parts of the application are important, and helps you potentially get additional money. To date, it claims to have worked with over 200,000 families and helped them save $5.5 billion. All you have to do is answer some questions about your personal, family, and financial situation, and Frank helps you populate the FAFSA forms.
Feel like you might need more support? Frank also offers paid services in addition to the free service. The first is a $49 consultation with a personal aid expert who examines your family’s case, looks through your FAFSA for any mistakes, helps you maximize both federal and state funding, and answers your questions. They ensure that you have no mistakes on your FAFSA that could keep you from getting funding.
Frank also offers a paid service that helps you negotiate with your school of choice for more aid if your aid letter doesn’t give you enough to make it possible for you to attend. They work with over 750 schools, so your school of choice is likely to be on the list.
For $500, they look at your file, negotiate with the school, and get you more aid. The downside is that the service costs $500 – but you only pay if Frank is successful and gets you more money. Frank claims that 80 percent of people who request this service end up getting more financial aid from their chosen school.
It’s important to note that its paid services, while expensive, are likely cheaper than what a financial aid consultant or college consultant might charge.
Drawbacks of the Frank FAFSA Tool and Service
While it can be beneficial to use a service that helps you streamline your FAFSA application and negotiate for more funding, you might not need it. Many high schools offer free talks and programs to help you better understand and fill out the FAFSA. There are also many free resources online you can use.
While Frank’s free service is useful, its paid services might not add much value. It provides you with information that you could easily get or does things for you that you could do yourself. In fact, school guidance counselors are likely to help you with this for free. Still, some parents might be willing to pay for the service for the peace of mind.
The price for the negotiation help is quite steep, and you might not need it. You and your family could file an appeal yourselves for more financial aid by connecting with a financial aid officer. All it would likely take to get your financial aid reviewed is a quick phone call or e-mail. For that reason, you might decide it’s not worth it to pay for this $500 service.
Furthermore, it’s far better to be in control of the conversation and appeal for more money yourself. If the financial aid officer has additional questions, you can then answer them directly.
While Frank claims it can get you up to $15,000 more in aid, those results might not be typical, and the additional amount you get could be lower.
You might enjoy the streamlined process of Frank’s digital FAFSA application, but the paid services that Frank provides might not be worth the money. You will likely be able to get the same results if you were to review your own FAFSA or have a guidance counselor do so, or if you tried to negotiate for more financial aid with your college of choice yourself.
However, if you are nervous about the financial aid process, and paying for the $49 review service puts you at ease, it could be worth it to you. Just be careful before deciding to pay $500 for them to negotiate on your behalf, as you might be just as successful if you do it on your own.
Author: Jeff Gitlen
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