Tips on Applying for Need-Based Financial Aid
Accurate and on-time filing of financial aid application forms is critical to receiving the assistance you are eligible for. By following the suggestions below you will increase the timely turn-around of your application.
- APPLY ON-LINE!!!!
Request your student (and parent, if you are a dependent filer) PIN number now at www.pin.ed.gov. This will serve as your electronic signature(s), resulting in faster turn-around of your FAFSA. If you and/or your parent do not secure a PIN number you must print, sign, and mail the signature page directly to the federal processing center. Your FAFSA will not be processed and the results forwarded to the college/university Financial Aid Office(s) without the proper signature(s). You may also request a PIN number at the FAFSA website (www.fafsa.gov).
- APPLY AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE AFTER JANUARY 1, 2013.
The earlier you apply, the earlier you can receive your financial aid award notification, allowing you time to plan financially for the following school year.
- MEET COLLEGE FINANCIAL AID OFFICE DEADLINE/PRIORITY DATES.
Contact the colleges/universities now to get their filing dates for priority consideration. Every institution sets their own date(s) so you will need to contact each college/university you are considering. Deadline for priority consideration at Viterbo University is March 15, 2013.
- USE COMPLETED 2012 FEDERAL TAX RETURNS.
Use estimated 2012 tax return information only if you cannot complete the tax returns in time to meet a college’s financial aid filing deadline. Using your completed returns insures the accuracy of the data, thereby reducing the opportunity to be selected for “verification of data.” If you use “estimated” tax information you will be required to submit the “completed” tax returns to the Financial Aid Office upon their completion.
- READ THE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY TO INSURE YOU ARE PROVIDING THE CORRECT DATA.
Financial Aid definitions frequently differ from IRS definitions, particularly as they pertain to assets and taxable vs. untaxed income.
- KEEP COPIES OF ALL FORMS YOU SUBMIT. YOU MAY BE ASKED TO PROVIDE THEM FOR VERIFICATION AND/OR CLARIFICATION AT A LATER DATE.
If you are asked to provide additional documentation/information do so at your earliest convenience. Your application will be in a “hold” status until the requested information is provided to the Financial Aid Office. Failure to submit data as requested could jeopardize your eligibility for some/all types of assistance.
- IF YOU ARE SUBMITTING A PAPER FAFSA TO THE FEDERAL PROCESSING CENTER:
- Be sure to sign the FAFSA before mailing (parent must also sign if their information is required on the application).
- Mail the FAFSA at least 4 weeks prior to the college/university financial aid deadline date to ensure it will be processed in time.
- Do not send any additional forms, documents or letters of explanation along with the FAFSA.
- Do not leave any blanks where an answer is required (income and asset questions!). If a question does not apply to you/your parent you must report “0.”
- CONTACT YOUR COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY FINANCIAL AID OFFICE IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS REGARDING THE FINANCIAL AID PROCESS.