With the FAFSA for the next academic year 2018-2019 now available and ready to complete, I am pleased to hear a lot of students have completed theirs. If you have not yet done so, you have until January 1, 2018, for consideration for priority funding. Unlike years before, taxes the application is based upon should have already been completed. Your 2016 tax information will be input into the FAFSA.
Already submitted the application? Good job! You may now have requests to submit various tax documents and information. About a third of students are selected for verification. It is a process that is required by the federal government at any institution receiving federal money. The process requires submitting additional paperwork to the financial aid office to support the information submitted in FAFSA.
Often students are requested to submit tax return transcripts, household information, proof of income and marital documents. Not completing the request will result in aid not being granted. Those who complete the verification steps will most times see no change in their aid. Other times, aid may either be increased or decreased depending on the information. If it is found that your overall income needs adjusting for an increase, your aid may decrease and vice versa.
Here is some information to put you at ease; at least until tax season begins again.
This is not an IRS audit, but a way to make sure nothing is missed. As mentioned earlier, most students do not see a change in their aid. It’s a means of quality control to ensure efficient distribution of our tax dollars.
Pay mind to communication. Remember “the dog ate my homework” excuse? From my experience in higher education, “no one told me” is a college equivalent. Now I concede, there is information out that that’s not advertised, but if it relates to you and your success, we try our best to inform you. Just be sure that your contact information is correct and by no means take a passive role when it comes to your education. This is your time, your money, and your future we are helping to build.
Time is ticking. Fortunately, we have enough time to still get started. To have FAFSA priority status, the application is due January 1, 2018, for ASU. So as you hug your loved ones and wish them a Happy New Year, also wish them friendly FAFSA merriment. Follow any notice in MyASU to turn in your verification items into the financial aid office as soon as possible. Awarding will begin in mid to late spring. If you have any changes of income please contact the financial aid office or me for the next steps. It is recommended by any financial aid officer or representative that students submit a FAFSA regardless of income. There may be a chance that some random had is waiting just for you. Remember there is no rest for the weary, as soon as your FAFSA is in the books, scholarship season will arrive soon after.
Douglas Capitan, M.Ed., MPA
Student Financial Resource Coordinator