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 2018 can file the FAFSA using 2016 tax data.
- Apply for admission to Wilkes. If you haven’t already completed an undergraduate admissions application, you can apply online.
- You and your parent (if you are dependent) should both apply for an FSA identification number as soon as possible. The FSA ID can be used to electronically sign the FAFSA. Hang on to this information as you and your family will need it when you become a Wilkes student.
- After Oct. 1, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). When you apply, list Wilkes University’s Title IV Code: 003394. By entering our school code you are allowing the Department of Education to release your FAFSA results to Wilkes University.
- Once the FAFSA is processed, depending upon the time of year, the Office of Student Financial Services will send you an award letter.
- If loans are listed on your award letter and you have decided to decline or reduce them, please contact your Financial Services Counselor in writing.
- In order for Federal Direct loans to be applied to your student account, please be sure you have completed entrance counseling and signed your Master Promissory Note (MPN). Both items can be completed at www.studentloans.gov
- Should a parent choose to apply for a loan to assist with you educational expenses, the application is located at www.studentloans.gov. Please be sure the parent selects PLUS Loan under the Parent Borrowers tab.
- Aid received from Wilkes scholarships or grants, federal and/or state grants and loans will be credited directly to your account each semester. In most cases, you must be registered full time (taking 12 or more credits) at the undergraduate level.
- 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.
- Financial aid awards are divided equally between the fall and spring semesters.
- Student employment funds will be paid directly to you on a bi-monthly basis provided you are working during those payment periods.
- You must make satisfactory academic progress to keep your financial aid. Failure to do so may result in loss of funding. Please note the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) has different requirements for satisfactory academic progress.
- Financial aid is awarded on a yearly basis. You must reapply each year, meaning you will need to complete the FAFSA each year if you have any federal aid (grants or loans), state or Wilkes University need-based aid. 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 the process schools use to ensure the accuracy of the information reported on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). About 1 in every 4 FAFSA filers is selected by the Department of Education to document their income, family size and other FAFSA data.
Why is your file being verified?
There are several possibilities for being selected for verification. Keep in mind that more possibilities exist, but the following are the main reasons for being selected:
- You were selected randomly.
- The FAFSA you submitted has incomplete data.
- The information you and your family included on the FAFSA appears to contradict itself.
- The FAFSA included estimated information.
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 that was emailed to you). Contact the Office of Student Financial Services if you have any questions. Next, you should submit copies of documents that the Office of Student Financial Services 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.)
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 Office of Student Financial Services 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 Office of Student Financial Services 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 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 Department of Education.