You can now file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) beginning Oct. 1.
This change aims to make the financial aid process quicker and more convenient for you and your family. In the past, families needed to wait until January to file the FAFSA. Now you can file as early as Oct. 1, using the prior year’s tax data retrieved directly from the IRS. For example, students applying to Wilkes University for admission for fall 2017 can file the FAFSA using 2015 tax data.
- Apply for admission to Wilkes. If you haven’t already completed an undergraduate admissions application, you can apply online.
- You and your parents should both apply for an FSA identification number as soon as possible. The FSA ID can be used to electronically sign the FAFSA as well as the Stafford and PLUS Master Promissory Notes.
- After Oct. 1, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). When you apply, list Wilkes University’s Title IV Code: 003394. Enter this code when completing the FAFSA application so that we receive the data to calculate your financial aid award.
- Once the FAFSA is processed, we’ll send you a financial aid award letter that lists your approved aid programs and amounts.
- To apply for a Stafford Loan, indicate your interest in a federal student loan on the FAFSA. For loan proceeds to be applied to your account, you must complete entrance counseling and sign a Master Promissory Note.
- If your parents are interested in using a Federal PLUS Loan to help cover the costs of your education, they should complete a Master PLUS Promissory Note and a PLUS application at www.studentloans.gov.
- Aid received from Wilkes scholarships, federal and state grants and federal loans will be credited directly to your account each semester. Work-study funds will be paid directly to you via a monthly check.
- Financial aid is applied directly to institutional charges (tuition, fees, room and board). Any excess funds will be available to you within 14 days of the date the credit balance occurs.
- Normally all financial aid awards are divided equally between the fall and spring semesters.
- You must make satisfactory academic progress to keep your financial aid. Failure to do so may result in loss of funding.
- Financial aid is awarded on a yearly basis. You must reapply each year. The renewal of financial aid is never automatic. Failure to submit updated financial information in a timely manner may result in the loss of financial aid.
Verification is a process used to verify certain information on the FAFSA to ensure its accuracy. Some students are selected for verification by the U.S. Department of Education. Usually only a percentage of students are selected for verification.
Why is your file being verified?
There are several possibilities for being selected for FAFSA verification. Keep in mind that more possibilities exist, but the following are the main reasons for being selected:
- You were selected randomly.
- The submitted FAFSA application has incomplete data.
- The data on the FAFSA application appears to contradict itself.
- The FAFSA application has estimated information on it.
What needs to be done after the selection?
After you receive notification that you have been selected for verification, you should first read any messages from the Department of Education appearing on your Student Aid Report (the output of your FAFSA application that was emailed to you). Contact the financial aid office if you have any questions. Next, you should submit copies of documents that the financial aid office requests. These documents may include:
- Verification worksheet
- IRS tax return transcript (Note: If you use the IRS Data Retrieval option when completing the FAFSA and make no changes to the tax information, a tax return transcript may not be required.)
- Marriage certificate
- Social Security card
- Alien registration card
- Other information/documentation
The type of documents required will vary from student to student, and not all students selected for verification will have to submit the same documents. Do not turn in any documentation that was not requested.
What happens if there are discrepancies in the application?
After you turn in all required documents, the financial aid office will compare them with your FAFSA. If errors are found, corrections will be made. If the errors are significant enough to change the amount of financial aid that you were awarded, the financial aid office will send you a revised award letter showing increased or decreased amounts.
If you are selected for verification, you need to return the information and requested documentation as soon as possible. Processing usually takes two to three weeks, but it can take longer during the peak season. Because verification must be completed in advance of disbursing any money from any financial aid program, it is vital to send complete and correct information as quickly as possible. Above all else, don't be upset because you were selected for verification. This is a process required by the federal government. The financial aid office may even discover errors in your report that could actually increase your eligibility for more aid.
If you have questions regarding the FAFSA or the financial aid process, please contact one of our financial aid administrators: