Special to the Chronicle
February is Financial Aid Awareness Month, which makes it the perfect time to complete the Free Application for Federal Financial Aid (FAFSA) form and learn more about financial aid.
About 30 percent of FAFSA forms processed are randomly selected to go through a verification process. The Department of Education has updated regulations for students who are selected for FAFSA verification. Due to these regulations, the Financial Aid Office can no longer accept copies of Federal Tax Returns. Students whose FAFSA has been selected for Verification must use the IRS Data Retrieval Process on the FAFSA or request a copy of their Tax Return Transcript by calling the IRS at 800-908-9946.
Also, students may have some financial changes in the new year, such as a new job or loss of a job, or other changes in their family’s budget. Current and future students are encouraged to complete the FAFSA form using last year’s income and then contact the Financial Aid Office to update their FASFA form with their current financial situation. Documentation will be required.
The most important item to remember is to start gathering all of this information now in order to fill out the FAFSA form for aid in the 2012-2013 academic year.
Some important deadlines and information regarding the FAFSA process are listed below:
• January 1: The 2012-13 FAFSA is available for the student to complete at www.fafsa.gov . Be sure to obtain a Federal Student Aid Personal Identification Number (FSA PIN) for use throughout the federal aid process during and after college at the U.S. Department of Education’s PIN website, www.pin.ed.gov. The PIN number will be used to sign the FAFSA over the web. Both the student and a parent must request a PIN number.
• Mid-February: File taxes early. Seven to 10 days after filing taxes, the IRS Data Retrieval Tool will be available to transfer the IRS tax information of the student and parent(s) directly onto the FAFSA application. If this tool is used, the family will limit their chances of being chosen for verification unless changes are made to the retrieved tax information.
• May 2: Priority Deadline: The FAFSA must be submitted by this date to be eligible for consideration for the Federal Supplemental Grant and SC Need-Based Grant.
• May 2: Priority Deadline: The FAFSA should be submitted by this date to allow adequate time for awards to be processed prior to the fall semester. Students applying after this date can expect a delay in their registration process.
“Students should check their e-mail account regularly for requests of information needed to complete their financial aid file. Information should be return promptly as delays can delay award notices being sent out to students,” said Sheryll Marshall, coordinator of financial assistance at Northeastern Technical College.
For more information, visit the college website, www.netc.edu and click on Financial Aid, or call NETC’s Financial Aid Office at 843-921-6990.