Part: 3 - - Completing The FAFSA
SectionTitle: Simplified Needs Test
Simplified Needs Test
Purpose: Page 7 of the FAFSA instructions includes worksheets A and B, which are used to determine if a student needs to complete Section F. The primary purpose of the "Simplified Needs Test" is to shorten the application process for some students.
Basically, a dependent student does not have to fill out the asset information in Section F if the parents' AGI was less than $50,000 and the student and his or her parents were not required to use the IRS Form 1040 to file taxes. An independent student qualifies for the Simplified Needs Test and does not have to complete Section F when a student's (or a married couple's) AGI is less than $50,000 and the student (or married couple) is not required to file an IRS Form 1040.
An independent student completes Worksheet A; a dependent student completes Worksheet B. Questions 1 and 2 on each worksheet ask about the income used to determine whether the student qualifies for the Simplified Needs Test. Question 1 asks if the AGI from the tax form is $50,000 or more. Question 2 asks if the total of income earned from work is $50,000 or more. Both questions list the question numbers from Section E where the income information is provided.
[[This file contains the graphic of FAFSA Worksheet B in Portable Document Format (PDF). It can be viewed with version 3.0 or greater of the free Adobe Acrobat Reader software.]]
Question 3 on Worksheet A asks whether the student or the student's spouse is required to complete the 1040. Question 3 on Worksheet B asks whether the parents are required to complete the 1040, while Question 4 asks whether the student is required to complete the 1040. The student should answer "yes" if any one of these people was required to complete the 1040 (for example, to report business income). However, if the student, spouse, or parent completed the 1040 but could have filed the 1040A, 1040EZ or 1040TEL (for example, if he or she filed through a tax preparer that only uses the 1040), the student can answer "no" to question 3 or 4.
If the student answers "yes" to any of the questions on Worksheet A or B, he or she must complete Section F of the FAFSA (and the rest of the form).
The Simplified Needs Test will usually increase a student's eligibility for federal student aid programs because it does not include family assets. However, a student who qualifies for the Simplified Needs Test might need to complete Section F if he or she wants to be considered for certain types of nonfederal student financial aid from the postsecondary school he or she will be attending, the state in which he or she is a legal resident, or the state in which the postsecondary school is located.