How to Apply for Financial Aid: First-Year Applicants

FALL 2017 APPLICATION DEADLINE: MARCH 1, 2017

Students who wish to be considered for all types of need-based state and institutional financial aid for the 2017-2018 academic year must apply with both the CSS/Profile and the FAFSA by March 1, 2017. This deadline impacts financial aid eligibility for the entire academic year, including January Term and Summer Session. In addition, students who wish to receive a preliminary financial aid award before the May 1 admission commitment date should also submit all supporting documents by March 1. 

Students who are unable to meet the application deadline should contact Student Financial Services well before the deadline. Students who do not submit their applications by March 1 may still apply for federal financial aid (Federal Direct Loans and, if they qualify, a Pell Grant). 

 

PREPARING TO APPLY

The 2017-2018 FAFSA and CSS/FinancialAid PROFILE (PROFILE) ask for income and tax information from the 2015 tax year.  Because most all tax filers have filed their 2015 tax year forms, we recommend using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool online to populate relevant information on the FAFSA.  Click here for instructions on using the Data Retrieval Tool.

Important Note: This will be the first year for which aid eligibility will be determined using "prior-prior" tax year information. All applications should reference official tax figures from 2015. Our office assumes that the tax documents you supply to Student Financial Services accurately reflect what you have submitted to the IRS. We use tax return data to make corrections to the FAFSA and the PROFILE and will update those documents with the corrected data after May 1 each year. 

 

APPLICATION CHECKLIST

Step 1: Required Applications

The following documents are required by March 1 for a student to be considered for all forms of need-based federal and institutional financial aid.  Early action applicants should complete and submit these two applications, along with the Required Supporting Documents listed below, prior to January 1, 2017, if they wish to receive a preliminary financial aid award by the early action admission decision release date of February 1.

 

Step 2: Required Supporting Documents

The following documents are required of all applicants.  Early action students must submit all of these documents, in addition to the Profile and the FAFSA, prior to January 1, 2017, in order to receive a preliminary award by February 1.  All other applicants must submit all of these documents by March 1 in order to receive a preliminary award prior to the May 1 admission commitment deadline. Students who submit these requirements after March 1 will still be considered for all forms of aid but are not guaranteed a preliminary award by May 1.  After submission of all the required documents below, students should also check their SIS To Do List regularly for any additional required documentation.

* Applicants who are considered independent for financial aid purposes should only submit the student 1040 and W-2. For information on circumstances that may qualify an applicant as independent for federal financial aid purposes, please click here.

Documents may be submitted by fax (preferred), email, or paper mail. Our contact information is at the bottom of this page. Please choose only one method of transmission and ensure the documents are labeled with the student's full legal name and student ID number (sent to the student in the email they received from Undergraduate Admission when they applied for admission).

 

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT

Applications are reviewed based upon the date the application is considered complete--the earlier a student submits all application requirements, the earlier that student’s application will be reviewed. Because the University meets 100% of a student's demonstrated need, students are not awarded more or "better" financial aid based on the date they apply, provided that both the PROFILE and the FAFSA were submitted by March 1. 

Students should check their SIS To Do List frequently. In some cases, additional documents and forms may be required before the application review can be completed and an award can be offered. 
 
Two common application errors that result in requests additional information include:
  • information was omitted that should have been reported
  • discrepancies exist between information reported, most likely between the PROFILE and the FAFSA

Delays in submitting requested information may result in a delay in providing an award. Students who are unable to submit or are having difficulty submitting both the PROFILE and the FAFSA by March 1 should contact our office immediately.  You can reach us at (434) 982-6000.

 

Verification

Some students may be selected for verification by the Department of Education. SFS is required to collect specific information to complete verification in addition to those items listed under Application Requirements. In almost all cases, students must submit an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Tax Return Transcript to verify income or successfully upload tax information using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. Instructions for obtaining a Tax Return Transcript or using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.

We recognize that some students and parents may not have filed their federal income tax return at the time their application is selected for verification. As a result, students may receive a preliminary award without the tax return transcript, but it is required in order to receive an official award later in the summer. The preliminary award is subject to change if the information on the tax return transcript is inconsistent with the federal income tax return.

 

Preliminary and Official Financial Aid Awards

Students who submit all application materials by the deadline will receive a preliminary award by the admission decision deadline. Students who submit all application materials after March 1 may receive their preliminary financial aid award prior to May 1, but may need to make their Admission decision without the benefit of the preliminary award. Please refer to the Financial Aid Basics section for crucial information on preliminary awards, types of aid, estimated cost of attendance, how to receive your financial aid, and more.