FINANCIAL AID ANNOUNCEMENTS
NEW FEDERAL PROCESSING REQUIREMENTS FOR THE 2012-2013 FAFSA!
Beginning with the 2012-2013 award year, the United States Department of Education has made a significant change to the documentation requirements for applications selected for verification. Verification is a process to confirm the information provided on an applicant's Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Since most applicants can quickly and easily access IRS data through the Data Retrieval process during FAFSA filing, the government no longer considers it reasonable for an institution to accept anything less reliable than direct IRS supplied evidence for verification of income data. Therefore, if an applicant selected for verification has not successfully transferred information from the IRS, or one who did transfer the information but then changed it, the Department of Education expects the institution to require the applicant/parent, to provide an official 2011 IRS tax transcript. Schools can no longer accept personal copies of tax returns for the 2012-2013 academic year.
Beginning February 1, 2012, students and parents who have submitted their 2011 Federal Income Tax Return prior to completing the FAFSA will be able to select the IRS Data Retrieval option on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to transfer certain tax information to the FAFSA. We highly recommend the use of the IRS Data Retrieval option during the initial filing OR when subsequent corrections are made to your 2012-2013 FAFSA. It provides the fastest, easiest and most secure solution for meeting certain verification requirements.
We realize that many applicants will not have their Federal Tax Returns completed by the FAFSA priority application deadline of March 1. These applicants can use “estimated income” information on the initial FAFSA and return to FAFSA on the Web for corrections once their tax returns are completed.
To successfully use this option you must:
Have a federal tax return filed with the IRS.
Have a valid social security number.
Have a Federal Aid Personal Identification Number (PIN)
You will be unable to use this option if:
Your marital status changes after December 31, 2011.
You filed married filing separately.
You filed an amended return.
You filed a foreign tax return.
You completed a paper FAFSA.
If on the FAFSA you will list your tax filing status as “Will File” because you had not yet filed a return, please remember to change this status to “Already Filed,” update all relevant income fields to your FAFSA, and select the IRS Data Retrieval option once you have actually submitted a federal income tax return to the IRS.
According to the IRS, electronically filed tax return information will be available online from the IRS site in 1-2 weeks after the return has been filed. Data from paper tax returns will be available in 6-8 weeks.
If your FAFSA is selected for verification, and you chose not to use this option or you changed the IRS data, you will be required to provide an IRS Tax Return Transcript to the Financial Aid Office. For more information about ordering an official IRS Tax Return Transcript, see "Tax Return Transcript Request Process".
How It Works
When a parent or student selects the IRS Data Retrieval option, the FAFSA Central Processing System (CPS) will conduct a data match with the IRS. As the federal income tax filer, you will be redirected to a secure IRS website, where you will permit the IRS to transfer income data to the CPS. Data that is successfully matched will be marked on the FAFSA with the following notation, “Transferred from the IRS.” It’s as simple as that. For additional instructions, see "How To Use The IRS Data Retrieval Tool"
A successful match between CPS and the IRS will allow us to forego the need for certain federal income tax return documents, so long as income data fields are not subsequently changed on your FAFSA. This process avoids reporting errors and processing delays that can otherwise occur when the option is not selected. Please note that you may still be required to supply other income information as part of the general verification process.
CHANGES TO THE FEDERAL STUDENT LOAN PROGRAM EFFECTING 2012-2013 DIRECT LOANS
Effective July 1, 2012 there were significant changes to the Federal Student Loan program (click for more information)
LIFETIME PELL GRANT ELIGIBILITY LIMITS SET
Effective July 1, 2012 a new law reduces the duration of Federal Pell Grant eligibility from 18 semesters (or its equivalent) to 12 semesters (or its equivalent).
This applies to all Federal Pell Grant eligible students effective with the 2012-2013 academic year. This change affects all students regardless of when or where they received their first Federal Pell Grant. As our office is notified by the Department of Education of students that either have reached their Pell limit or have reduced eligibility, we will, in turn, be sending correspondence to those students of their status.
How does this change affect me?
If you received 100% of your Federal Pell Grant award for 12 semesters, you will not have any remaining Federal Pell Grant eligibility beginning in Fall 2012.
If you have received the Federal Pell Grant for four years or more, you may have reduced eligibility or no remaining eligibility for the Federal Pell Grant eligibility for the 2012-2013 school year.
Can I appeal my Pell lifetime eligibility?
No, you may not. Federal Pell Grant limits are set by federal law.
If you rely on Federal Pell Grant funding, stay in school and be conscious about the lifetime limits when changing majors and/or scheduling classes.
How do I determine my remaining eligibility?
Lifetime Eligibility Used (LEU) is tracked by the U.S. Department of Education and is based on full-time enrollment. If you received 100% of your award for 12 semesters, you will not have any remaining Federal Pell Grant eligibility beginning in Fall 2012.
In mid-April and continuing through July, the U.S. Department of Education will send email messages to all 2012-2013 FAFSA applicants who are nearing their Federal Pell Grant lifetime limit or who are no longer eligible for these funds.
For more information about calculating your remaining eligibility, visit the Federal Student Aid Pell Grant page.
How can I see my Lifetime Eligibility Used (LEU) percentage?
In mid-July 2012, you will be able to log on to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) website using your Federal Student Aid PIN and view your LEU.
The LEU will be found on the Financial Aid Review page.