10-Step Application Check List
Over the years, our staff members have become aware of some generally asked questions and sound hints that we would like to make available to you. As a result, here are ten steps we recommend you pay particular attention to in order for your aid application to be processed smoothly and on-time. You may even wish to make a copy of these two pages for your own records and check-off or date each item as it occurs.
We have several helpful financial aid videos that explain the whole Financial Aid process and good information about the FAFSA. We highly recommend you watch them.
Remember: The federal government never charges you to complete your FAFSA. Watch out for scams.
IRS Data Retrieval Tool
The IRS Data Retrieval Tool is available for the 2023-24 FAFSA and will require the 2021 calendar year income information. The 2023-24 FAFSA is for Fall 2023, Spring 2024 and Summer 2024 terms.
The IRS Data Retrieval Tool is available for the 2022-23 FAFSA and will require the 2020 calendar year income information. The 2022-23 FAFSA is for Fall 2022, Spring 2023 and Summer 2023 terms.
10 Steps in Applying for Federal Financial Aid
Complete 1040 Tax Return. If we request additional documentation from you, you may need to request a tax return transcript from the IRS (see Step 5).
If you do not already have a FSA ID, apply for one now. Your parents should apply for one too. This will make getting information and applying for financial aid a much easier process.
Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after completing your federal income tax. You can apply online at https://studentaid.gov/ .
If you include an e-mail address, you will receive verification of your application by e-mail. If you do not have an e-mail address, you will receive a paper verification from the federal government in the mail.
Check your Eagle Online regularly. Under the eligibility link, you will see that the financial aid office may request additional information such as verification forms, marriage certificates, W-2 forms, etc. Return the requested documents promptly so your application can be complete at the earliest possible date. This could mean a difference of several hundred, even thousands of dollars.
If one of your requirements states that you need a Tax Return Transcript for yourself and/or your parents, we highly recommend you watch the video about using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on your FAFSA to pull in this information from the IRS. This is the easiest and quickest way to satisfy this requirement! You can find that video here: Helpful Financial Aid Videos.
If you cannot use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, you can get a Tax Return Transcript from the IRS.
On Eagle Online under the awards tab you can view, accept or reject your awards.
If you are a first time student loan borrower, you will need to complete the Entrance Counseling and the Master Promissory Note.
With government Stafford and Direct Loans remember:
- There is a small origination fee, which can change each October 1st, that reduces the amount paid based on the current origination fee.
- All loans for the full academic year (fall and spring) have to be disbursed in two parts (one at the beginning of each semester).
If you have any questions about documents requested via Eagle Online, email email@example.com, or call the school or agency that sent you the letter. Time is important. Be sure to have the student's T-number handy and have the document on your computer screen or a copy of the document you have questions about in front of you when you call so you can better explain your question to those you are calling.
Attend the Student Orientation, Advisement & Registration (SOAR) Program. Check on your financial aid then too, and learn when your bill is due and payable (so you can be sure about how you can pay it).