Financial Aid FAQ
Financial Aid FAQ
How do I apply for aid?
Completing the FAFSA is the first step in the financial aid process. It will take seven days to process your form and send you a Student Aid Report (SAR) once all required signatures are received. Your SAR will summarize the data you report on your application. Check this information carefully to make sure it is accurate. Keep a copy of your SAR and note your Data Release Number (DRN) in the bottom left hand corner of the first page; you will need your DRN if you decide to apply to additional schools. If your FAFSA information is complete, an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) will be printed in the upper-right hand corner. Your EFC will be based on the financial information you provide on the FAFSA, and your school will use it to award your financial aid.
For additional help filling out the FAFSA, you can go to Completing the FAFSA on the FAFSA Web Site.
How do I answer the tax questions if I (or my parents) don't file a tax return?
If you will not file a tax return, you should answer Will Not File to question 32 (Have you completed a tax return?). You will then be taken to question 38 (Income earned from work), where you should enter any monies earned from a job that is listed as taxed on a W2 form. Then answer only those income questions that apply to you from that point on.
If your parents will not file a tax return, respond to question 70 (Have your parents filed a tax return?) the same way.
How do I answer the tax questions if I am (or my parents are) separated, divorced, or widowed?
If you or your parents are separated, divorced, or widowed, you may have filed a joint tax return for the last calendar year. However, for the tax questions on the FAFSA, even if you filed a joint return, you should separate your tax information from your spouse's as if you filed a single return.
If you are providing information about a parent, answer his/her tax questions in the same manner.
I have already submitted an application for the upcoming or current school year. May I submit another application using FAFSA on the Web?
If you have already submitted an application (your school already submitted an electronic application for you, you submitted a paper application, or you filed for aid using FAFSA on the Web), do not submit another application.
If you have further questions, please refer to the Customer Service page for contact and assistance information by selecting this link or select the "Check status of a submitted FAFSA or Print a Signature Page" option from the FAFSA on the Web home page at www.fafsa.ed.gov under the "FAFSA Follow-up" section.
I have received a paper Renewal FAFSA in the mail. May I file an original FAFSA instead of a Renewal FAFSA?
You can file an original FAFSA instead of your Renewal FAFSA. However, since an original FAFSA will probably take much longer to fill out than a Renewal FAFSA, we strongly encourage you to file a Renewal FAFSA.
You are not required to complete a renewal application. The Renewal FAFSA is not mandatory.
Remember, to do a renewal form on the Web, you must have a PIN number. However, possession of a PIN does not necessarily mean you have qualified for an electronic Renewal Form.
I submitted two applications for the same year. What will happen?
We use only the first application we receive. All other subsequent applications are deleted from our system.
If you made an error on your application, wait for your Student Aid Report (SAR) to arrive in the mail. Make any necessary corrections on this form and mail it back to us.
You may also check with your financial aid office to determine if they can do electronic corrections for you.
What if I have someone else fill out my FAFSA for me?
If you have someone else fill out your FAFSA for you (unless it was one of your parents or your spouse), you should make sure they list themselves as a "preparer" at the end of your FAFSA. They will have to provide their Social Security Number or Employer Identification Number to verify that the information they reported was correct to the best of their knowledge.
Remember, the FAFSA is a completely FREE application. If you need help filling it out, there are many free tools available to help you. You don't need to pay anyone to help you fill out your FAFSA.
The best place to look for help before you start filling out your FAFSA is at your school's financial aid office. If you have already started filling out your application and you need help with a specific question, click on the "Need Help with this Page?" link located at the bottom of every FAFSA page.
What is the PIN?
The PIN serves as your identifier to let you access your personal information in various U.S. Department of Education systems. It's like the Personal Identification Number that you get from your bank that enables you to access your account. Because your PIN serves as your electronic signature, you should not give it to anyone.
Do I need a PIN?
You need a PIN in order to perform any of the following tasks:
- Electronically sign the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on the Web, Renewal FAFSAs on the Web, or FAFSA Corrections on the Web.
- View the status of a submitted FAFSA application on FAFSA on the Web's Status Check.
- View the results of a processed FAFSA application on FAFSA on the Web's Student Access.
- Access your Federal Student Aid information on the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) Web site.
- Access Direct Loan Entrance and Exit Counseling.
- Make address corrections to a Direct Loan account, calculate a repayment schedule, and get interactive counseling on deferment or forbearance for any Direct Loans on the Direct Loan Servicing Web site.
- Track the processing status of your online Consolidation Loan application throughout the entire consolidation process from application receipt to booking with Direct Loan Servicing.
- Make updates to the e-mail or mailing address where
Who is eligible to receive a PIN?
Anyone who has a valid Social Security Number and is a U.S. Citizen or eligible Non-Citizen may apply for a PIN.
How do I request my PIN and how long does it take to receive?
If you are a new user and do not have a PIN, but would like to apply for one, select "Apply For A PIN" from the menu list on the left side of the PIN Home Page.
If you don't know your PIN and would like a duplicate copy, select "Request a Duplicate PIN" from the menu bar on the PIN Home Page.
If you have lost your PIN, select "Request a Duplicate PIN" from the menu on the PIN Home Page. If you think your PIN has been compromised, select "Change My PIN" from the menu on the PIN Home Page.
If you would like to have your PIN sent to a different address, or you would like to update your first name, you can select "Change My Address" on the PIN Home Page. The PIN e-mail or mailing address is the address where we send your PIN.
It will take approximately 1-3 business days after you request your PIN for you to receive an e-mail notification with instructions on how to retrieve it electronically, or 7-10 days to receive it in the mail via the U.S. Postal Service.