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Understanding the FAFSA

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Filing the FAFSA is an extremely important part the college application process. Learn what you’ll need to fill out the FAFSA step by step by clicking the Understanding your FAFSA link.  The FAFSA must be submitted every year you need financial aid.  The FAFSA is available after January 1st each year.

If you are unsure of which year’s FAFSA to submit, use the table below:

Semester File this FAFSA
Spring 2017       (Jan. 2017 – May 2017) 2016-2017 FAFSA
Summer 2017    (May 2017 – Aug. 2017) 2016-2017 FAFSA
Fall 2018            (Aug. 2017 – Dec. 2017) 2017-2018 FAFSA
Spring 2018       (Jan. 2018 – May 2018) 2017-2018 FAFSA
Summer 2018    (May 2018 – Aug. 2018) 2017-2018 FAFSA

FSA ID

Students, parents, and borrowers are required to use an FSA ID, made up of a username and password, to access certain U.S. Department of Education websites. Your FSA ID will replace your FAFSA pin that you previously used to sign your FAFSA.  This FSA ID will be used to confirm your identity when accessing your financial aid information and electronically signing your federal student aid documents.  Please click the following link to review how to obtain your FSA ID https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa/filling-out/fsaid#pin-replacement.

AFTER YOU FILE YOUR FAFSA

FGC will receive your FAFSA within 8 to 10 business days.  You will be sent a letter indicating your FAFSA has been received, but your file is incomplete.  The letter will provide you with a list of required documents to submit to our office.

If you must provide any documentation, or if you were selected for verification, you will also see documents required under the eligibility link of your MyFGC account.   You must provide the requested information as quickly as possible, as you cannot be awarded any federal or state aid until the tracking requirements for these documents are cleared.

VERIFICATION PROCESS 

When the federal government “selects” your Free Application for Student Federal Aid (FAFSA) for verification, the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships (OFAS) is required to collect the source documents you used to complete your FAFSA.   This process is called the “verification process.”

Once ALL documents are received and requirements have been cleared, verification can take 3-5 weeks to be completed and then you will be awarded your financial aid package.  Please submit all documents by the priority deadline posted in order to guarantee your aid will be available when fees are due.

These documents are as follows:

Fall, Spring, Summer 2016-2017 (August 2016-Summer 2017)

  • 2016-2017 Verification Worksheet (dependent or independent)
  • Verification of SNAP (food stamp) Benefits received for 2014 and/or 2015
  • Verification of child support paid out of the house hold or received in the house hold for 2015
  • Identity/Statement of Educational Purpose
  • Untaxed Income Worksheet
  • Low Income Verification
  • 2015 IRS Tax Return Transcript will be needed if:  The student/parent(s) is unable to or chooses not to use the IRS DRT in FAFSA on the Web. OR If the student and spouse or parent(s) filed separate 2015 IRS income tax returns, the IRS DRT cannot be used.

Fall, Spring, Summer 2017-2018 (August 2017-Summer 2018)

  • 2017-2018 Verification Worksheet (dependent or independent)
  • Verification of SNAP (food stamp) Benefits received for 2014 and/or 2015
  • Verification of child support paid out of the house hold or received in the house hold for 2015
  • Identity/Statement of Educational Purpose
  • Untaxed Income Worksheet
  • Low Income Verification
  • 2015 IRS Tax Return Transcript will be needed if:  The student/parent(s) is unable to or chooses not to use the IRS DRT in FAFSA on the Web. OR If the student and spouse or parent(s) filed separate 2015 IRS income tax returns, the IRS DRT cannot be used.
  • Verification of non-filing letter for students and parents who did not file a tax return for 2015.

Online Request – Go to www.IRS.gov, under the Tools heading on the IRS homepage, click “Get a Tax Transcript by Mail.” Click “Get Transcript by MAIL.” Make sure to request the “IRS Tax Return Transcript” and NOT the “IRS Tax Account Transcript.”

  • Telephone Request – 1-800-908-9946
  • Paper Request Form – IRS Form 4506T-EZ or IRS Form 4506-T

In most cases, for electronic tax return filers, 2015 IRS income tax return information is available for the IRS DRT or the IRS Tax Return Transcript within 2–3 weeks after the 2015 electronic IRS income tax return has been accepted by the IRS.  Generally, for filers of 2015 paper IRS income tax returns, the 2015 IRS income tax return information is available for the IRS DRT or the IRS Tax Return Transcript within 6–8 weeks after the 2015 paper IRS income tax return has been received by the IRS.  Contact the financial aid office if more information is needed about using the IRS DRT or obtaining an IRS Tax Return Transcript.

  • Additional documentation may be required in certain verification cases

Most of the documents for verification (with the exception of the tax transcript) are available to be printed from our college webpage under the Financial Aid Forms link.   Once we have received you FAFSA application,  a letter will be mailed out to you letting you know what documents are being requested to complete your file.  It will be your responsibility to either print these forms from our webpage or obtain them from our office.  All requested documents will need to be completed in its entirety, signed and mailed to our office by our priority deadline. 

Why was my FAFSA chosen to complete Verification?

Think of it like an audit of your FAFSA.  Federal guidelines require the Financial Aid office to verify that the information you entered on your FAFSA is the same as what you reported on your federal income tax return.  Each year, the federal government selects up to 1/3 of all FAFSA applications to complete the verification process. 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.
  • You entered information incorrectly on your FAFSA.
  • The information you entered on the FAFSA appears to contradict itself.