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Professional Judgment
 
Retirement Funds Not Included in a Qualified Plan

Retirement funds that are not included in a qualified retirement plan, such as a 401(k), 403(b), qualified pension or IRA, should be reported as an asset on the FAFSA. Money stuffed in the mattress must still be reported, even if the parent intends to use it for retirement, as there is no restriction requiring the money to be used for retirement. Otherwise, parents who are already retired could claim that all of their assets were for retirement. Also note that the Federal need analysis methodology already includes an asset protection allowance to shelter a portion of assets to be used to supplement Social Security. Accordingly, it is generally inappropriate to use professional judgment to exclude such assets merely because the parents indicate that they intend to use those funds for retirement.

 

 
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