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Financial Aid News and Updates for Parents

Over the course of the past year, our office has made some changes to the financial aid application process. As a result, our office has designed this page to help parents track any changes in the financial aid application process. Please keep reading for information on any recent or upcoming financial aid changes.


Financial Aid Timeline

Timeline
Click for details

 

Make a selection below for information.

IRS Data Retrieval - NEW

The IRS Date Retrieval is a tool that was introduced last year via the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). When completing the FAFSA, you may use the IRS Data Retrieval tool to populate the FAFSA form with the income information recorded on your federal tax forms (1040 or 1040 equivalent) and submitted to the IRS. The IRS Data Retrieval tool is not available until February 1 of each year. In order to utilize this tool your tax forms must have been received by the IRS at least 2 weeks prior to using the tool if you filed your federal tax forms electronically or at least 8 weeks prior to using the tool if you filed your federal tax forms via paper.

Because of the amount of time a student and parent must wait before using the IRS Data Retrieval tool we strongly recommend that you do not use this tool when filing your original FAFSA form. The priority deadline for financial aid is March 1. The Financial Aid Office recommends that you file your FAFSA as soon after January 1 as possible by using estimated figures. At a later time the student and/or parent will receive a reminder from the U.S. Department of Education via email to correct the FAFSA with updated figures after tax forms have been filed. We recommend using the IRS Data Retrieval tool for your FAFSA corrections only. Email reminders will be sent to parents and students March 15 and May 15 by the U.S. Department of Education. In order to retrieve these emails your spam or junk filters must be turned off. If you are selected for a process called verification and you do not update your FAFSA form at a later time by using the IRS Data Retrieval system, you will be required to submit a Tax Return Transcript from the IRS to our office. You may request a Tax Return Transcript online at www.irs.gov or by calling 1-800-908-9946. This is not the same thing as an Account Transcript.  Account Transcripts cannot be accepted in lieu of a Tax Return Transcripts.  No one should need to request an Account Transcript unless they have filed an amended tax return (1040x), in which case they should submit BOTH an Account Transcript and a Tax Return Transcript to our office.  You can request to have the IRS send the transcript directly to our office by filling out and submitting Form 4506-T to the IRS. This form is available on their website.

FERPA

FERPA stands for the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (1974). This law was designed to protect the privacy of the educational records of students. Due to FERPA regulations, we cannot release any information to anyone other than the student unless the student has completed FSU's Release of Information form giving us permission to release his or her information to that specific individual. This means that in order for a parent to call and ask questions about a student's financial aid that parent must be listed on that student's Release of Information form. A student can complete this form by logging into their PAWS account, selecting "Student Services Center", and completing the Release of Information under the drop down box listed in the "Academics" section of the web page. This Release of Information form expires each June 30, and must be completed again July 1 of every year.

FAFSA4caster -FOR PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS

The U.S. Department of Education has just released the new FAFSA4caster. FAFSA4caster is a tool that enables parents and students to estimate their EFC (Estimated Family Contribution) early, giving them a better picture of their future financial aid eligibility. Students are encouraged to complete the FAFSA4caster during their junior year of high school. Please select the link below to access this tool:

Financial Aid Deadlines

The priority deadline for financial aid at FSU is March 1. This means that students wishing to apply for all types of financial aid should file their FAFSA no later than February 15. Our office recommends filing the FAFSA in early January in order to receive the best financial aid package available. Your taxes do not need to be filed in order to complete the FAFSA. Using estimated tax figures from the prior year is acceptable and recommended.

Read Your SAR Comments

Every student who files a FAFSA form receives a Student Aid Report (SAR). Any student who files his or her FAFSA electronically via FAFSA on the web will receive an email from the U.S. Department of Education notifying him or her that the FAFSA has been processed. The same email will include information on how a student may view his or her SAR. It is important that every student view the SAR, and pay particular attention to the section entitled "SAR Comments." The SAR comments section will tell a student if his or her FAFSA has any errors that need corrected, or if the student is selected for verification. Reading the SAR comments immediately after processing a FAFSA is a good way to ensure that the financial aid process runs smoothly.

Financial Aid Award Information for Returning Students

Beginning in June 2005 the Financial Aid Office will be sending all financial aid notifications to returning students via email. As a result, students should check their official FSU email account on a regular basis. It is especially important that students check their emails during the summer months so that they may receive all financial aid information in a timely manner.

Students may also log into their PAWS (student services) account anytime to find out if our office requires any additional information from them before we may finish processing their financial aid. Students may simply log into PAWS, select "Personal Portfolio," and then "To Do List." Students are also encouraged to check their PAWS account and review this information on a regular basis.

Unused PINs to be Disabled

Beginning in July 2006 the U.S. Department of Education will disable any student or parent PIN number that has been inactive for 18 months of more. Any user whose previous PIN has been disabled must reapply for a PIN by visiting the official PIN website.

Parent PLUS vs. Student Alternative Loans

Our office recommends that parents borrow through the Parent PLUS Loan Program instead of having students borrowing an Alternative Loan, if possible. Please click the following link for more information on the differences between the Parent PLUS Loan program and the Student Alternative Loan program.

Parent PLUS Loan vs. Alternative Loan Comparison Chart