- FAFSA Application (Tutorial)†
- Verification Process
- Frequently Asked Questions for the IRS Data Retrieval Tool
- Other Financial Aid Requirements
- Returning, Transfer and Continuing Students
- Target Dates
- Students Rights and Responsibilities
A note of caution: Even though the FAFSA has been submitted, the financial aid process may not yet be completed because some students are selected for a process called “verification”.
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The Federal Government or a Financial Aid Office Administrator may select students, either at random or for some specific reason (see below). If you are selected for verification, you will be required to submit verification forms and IRS Tax Transcripts if you have not used the Data Retrieval Tool when filling out your FAFSA.
Starting with the 2012-2013 academic year, Colleges will have to verify all applications that are flagged for verification by the Department of Education. The Office of the Federal Department of Education and the Internal Revenue Service have worked together to develop a process to simplify the steps that families must take each year to complete the FAFSA. Beginning January 1, 2012 all 2014-2015 FAFSA on the Web applicants, and the parents of dependent applicants, who indicate that they have filed their federal income tax returns prior to completing their FAFSA, will be directed to use the FAFSA-IRS Data Retrieval Tool.
The process of using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool is that it will greatly simplify and expedite the verification process. You will no longer be allowed to submit complete copies of your federal tax returns to our office. Not using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool will delay your awards by lengthening the verification process.
How This Will Work on the 2014-2015 FAFSA
- Electronically filed tax return information will be available on-line from the IRS site in 1-2 weeks after the 1040 return has been filed,
- If you filed your tax return application by paper the data will be available in 6-8 weeks.
All 2014-2015 "FAFSA On The Web" applicants, and the parents of dependent applicants, who indicate that they have filed their federal tax returns prior to completing their FAFSA and who are otherwise eligible will be directed to use the FAFSA-IRS Data Retrieval process to complete their FAFSA. Applicants who chose not to use the FAFSA-IRS Data Retrieval process, or who retrieve IRS data but subsequently change it, will be informed that they will need to explain to our institutions why information they provided is more accurate than the information that would have been obtained directly from the IRS link.
In general, all applicants who have already filed but elect to not use the Data Retrieval Tool will be subject to being selected for verification based upon the risk they pose to federal funds and, if they are selected, will be required to support their reported FAFSA data with information obtained directly from the IRS. Students and their parents will be required to obtain a 2013 IRS tax return, as well as other documentation required to verify information on the FAFSA. Due to changes in federal financial aid regulations, this represents a change from the normal processing for financial aid, since colleges will no longer be able to accept photocopies of tax returns.
Families must actively choose to utilize the data retrieval tool. If they choose to do so, they will be transferred to the Internal Revenue Service web site.
- You will need to authenticate your identity before any personal information is displayed.
- Tax data will be presented and the applicant will have the option to “Transfer” the tax information to the FAFSA. You can also choose NOT to transfer the data to the FAFSA.
- Transferred data will have a notation - “Transferred from the IRS" on the Student Aid Report.
- Electronically filed tax return information will be available on-line from the IRS site in 1-2 weeks after the return has been filed,
- Data from paper tax returns that are filed will be available to the IRS Data Retrieval Tool in 6-8 weeks.
We know that many of you, will not have your federal tax returns completed when filing the FAFSA. You can use "estimated income" information on the initial FAFSA. You will be able to use the Data Retrieval Tool once your tax return is completed.
Using e-mails and other communications, starting around April 1, 2014, Federal Student Aid Processor’s will remind applicants that once they have filed their income tax return they should use the FAFSA corrections process to update their FAFSA using the FAFSA-IRS Data Retrieval process. If you are selected for verification this will help expedite your verification process. Subsequent messages will be sent every 45 days until mid-September then every 60 days until the end of the processing cycle.
HOW TO MAKE A CORRECTION:
- Click on the link in the middle of the page "Make FAFSA Corrections"
Some Families Will Not Be Able to Use This Tool
- A married independent applicant and spouse who filed separate tax returns;
- When the parents of a dependent student filed separate tax returns.
- An applicant or applicant’s parent who have had a change in marital status after the end of the tax year on December 31, 2013.
- The applicant, or parent or spouse, where applicable, who have filed an amended tax return, will not be able to use the Data Retrieval Tool. These families will need to provide Tax Transcripts Directly from the IRS. To provide information obtained directly from the IRS.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The FAFSA on the Web IRS Data Retrieval Process will only transfer information from an original tax return and not from an amended tax return. Similarly, the IRS Tax Return Transcript only includes information from the original tax return. While the IRS Tax Account Transcript, does include tax return items that were changed when an amended return was filed, it does not include all of the data that did not change. Therefore, both an IRS Tax Return Transcript and an IRS Tax Account Transcript must be obtained from the IRS and submitted to our school for verification to be completed when an amended return was filed. The IRS does provide another option for tax filers who filed an amended tax return – the Record of Account which includes the required information from both the IRS Tax Return Transcript and the IRS Tax Account Transcript: Request a Transcript
However, the Record of Account can only be requested using a paper IRS Form 4506-T and, as a paper request, it could take up to 30 days for the tax filer to receive the Record of Account, whereas the IRS Tax Return Transcript and IRS Tax Account Transcript can be requested electronically from the IRS or by phone, which for electronic filers will yield quicker results.
In summary, when the school is aware that the student or the student’s parent(s) or spouse, filed, or will file, an amended tax return with the IRS, it may obtain from the applicant both an IRS Tax Return Transcript and an IRS Tax Account Transcript and use the information from both transcripts to complete verification. Alternatively, the tax filer could request a Record of Account from the IRS (using IRS Form 4506-T) and submit the Record of Account to the school.
Once you have been selected for verification, your financial aid cannot be processed until all of the verification requirements have been met. To see if you have been selected for verification, go to Access Your Personal Financial Aid Information and follow the Financial Aid Status link to review student requirements for verification and review. The Financial Aid Checklist will help guide you through our procedures so that your awards will be processed seamlessly.
In some cases, a student may be singled out for verification for one of the following reasons:
- Student made errors on the FAFSA
- Student did not use the Data Retrieval Tool
- Student submits income information that seems inconsistent with family size and poverty-level guidelines
- Student’s residency or citizenship status is unclear
- Male student has not filed with Selective Service
- Student under 24 years of age claims independent status
- Conflicting data on FAFSA or information that has been submitted to the college.
(NOTE: Please be sure each paper submitted is a one-sided copy.)
A) The U.S. Department of Education has recently decided to streamline the financial aid application process and to make it more accurate.
Therefore, all 2014-2015 FAFSA on the Web applicants, and the parents of dependent applicants, who indicate that they have filed their federal income tax returns PRIOR to completing their FAFSA and who are otherwise eligible will be directed to use the FAFSA-IRS Data Retrieval Process to complete their FAFSA more easily and accurately.
This simple and time saving feature allows financial aid applicants and their parents to retrieve, directly from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), certain income and information from 2013 income tax returns and to automatically transfer that information to the FAFSA application.
For early FAFSA filers who indicate they have not yet filed a federal income tax return, the FAFSA-IRS Data Retrieval Process can and should be used thereafter as an update to the FAFSA once the 2013 tax returns are filed and the IRS data is available on the FAFSA on the Web.
IRS data retrieved by the tax filer while updating the FAFSA is considered acceptable documentation if an applicant is selected for financial aid verification, even though it was not retrieved with the initial application.
A) Applicants who choose not to use the FAFSA-IRS Data Retrieval Process will be informed before being allowed to proceed with the FAFSA that their applications will likely be selected for verification and if selected, they will later be required to provide documentation obtained directly from the IRS.
A) For applicants who file their tax returns electronically, information from their 2013 tax returns will be available through the FAFSA-IRS Data Retrieval Process in approximately two weeks. For applicants who file paper tax returns, it takes within six to eight weeks for information to be available through the FAFSA-IRS Data Retrieval Process.
A) The FAFSA-IRS Data Retrieval Process becomes available after February 1, 2014 for applicants who have already filed 2013 federal income tax returns. FAFSA on the Web applicants may find their IRS data is not available yet based on when and how they filed their income tax returns.
In general, tax filers can expect IRS data to be available on the FAFSA on the Web in approximately two weeks for tax returns filed electronically and within six to eight weeks for paper tax returns mailed to the IRS. If an applicant needs to complete the FAFSA before filing their federal income tax returns, they should indicate on the FAFSA that they "WILL FILE" but have not yet completed their tax returns. Applicants will then need to correct their FAFSA applications once their tax returns have been filed. The U.S. Department of Education also states that some tax filers with special tax filing circumstances are ineligible to use the FAFSA-IRS Data Retrieval Process.
A) NO. Institutions can no longer accept copies of federal income tax returns to satisfy financial aid verification requirements. In general and in accordance with federal financial aid regulations, all applicants who have already filed their 2014-2015 FAFSA but elect to not use the IRS Data Retrieval Process will be required to support their reported FAFSA data with information obtained directly from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This would include but not be limited to a 2013 IRS tax return transcript for students and their parents (if a dependent student), as well as other documentation required to verify information on the FAFSA.
A) A tax filer can request a transcript, free of charge, of their 2013 tax return from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in one of three ways (via an online request, telephone request, or a paper request form). The easiest two ways are by an online request or by a telephone request.
Instructions to request a tax return transcript are available here: Transcript Request Info.(link http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f4506tez.pdf )
It is required that all IRS Tax Return Transcripts be received directly by the tax filer and for all tax transcripts to be submitted to the SUNY Orange Financial Aid Office in one packet. Please note that the tax filer should sign the IRS tax return transcript at the bottom of the first page.
A) If successfully validated, tax filers can expect to receive a paper IRS Tax Return Transcript at the address included in their online or telephone request, within 5 to 10 days from the time the request was successfully transmitted to the IRS. For those using a paper request form (IRS Form 4506T-EZ) (link http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f4506tez.pdf ), tax filers can expect to receive their transcript within 5 to 10 days from the time the IRS receives and processes their signed request.
A) The U.S. Department of Education states that some tax filers with special tax filing circumstances are ineligible to use the FAFSA-IRS Data Retrieval Process and may be selected for verification. The U.S. Department of Education describes tax filers as having special tax filing circumstances for verification if they:
1) Filed a joint tax return and are:
-Separated, divorced, or widowed.
-Are married to someone other than the individual included on the joint tax return.
2) Are a married independent applicant with a spouse who filed separate tax returns.
3) Are the parents of a dependent student who filed separate tax returns.
4) Were granted an extension to file a tax return.
5) Filed a foreign tax return or a tax return from Puerto Rico and therefore cannot obtain a tax transcript from the Internal Revenue Service.
6) You can obtain tax information in these situation by Requesting a 4506-T
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In order to receive Federal Financial Aid, students must meet the following requirements:
- Must qualify to be admitted into college by supplying valid high-school transcripts or a GED.
- Must be enrolled in a degree program. Note: Federal and State laws require that the courses you take must apply to your degree program.
- Must have submitted their Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) documentation to the Wellness Center.
- Must maintain a good attendance record. Excessive absence form school may cause students to have their financial aid reduced or eliminated.
- Must maintain Federal and State Satisfactory Academic Progress
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Returning, transferring, and continuing students must review their academic status in relation to both Federal and State Satisfactory Academic Progress. Failure to meet the requirements for Grade Point Average or Pursuit of Program will disqualify student for financial aid. To review your Satisfactory Academic Progress information, follow the Access Your Personal Financial Aid Information link and select Financial Aid Status.
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Target dates are not deadlines. Target dates ensure that the financial aid funds you are eligible to receive will be in your account for tuition deferment before the payment-due date. After these target dates, applications for financial aid and loans can still be processed, but you may have to arrange for alternative means of payment, such as using your own funds or participating in the Tuition Payment Plan, until your financial aid processing is completed.
All necessary documents-the Electronic Student Aid Report (which is the answer to the FAFSA), immunization records, declaration of a major, high-school transcripts, admissions applications, etc.—need to be on file in the appropriate offices for financial aid processing by the target date.
Also, if you have been selected for verification, you will be asked to submit to the Financial Aid Office your documentation (such as the verification worksheet, use of the Data Retrieval Tool, or an Official IRS Tax Transcript, W-2’s, and information on other untaxed income, etc.) before the target date.
Target Date for Pell Grants
- Fall Enrollees: July 1st
- Spring Enrollees: December 1st
Target Date for Direct Loans
- Fall Enrollees: July 1st
- Spring Enrollees: December 1st
Target Date for Campus-Based Aid [Including Perkins Loans, Federal Work-Study (FWS), Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)]
- Fall Enrollees: April 15th
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Along with the rights students have with regard to financial aid, they also have corresponding responsibilities.
- To understand the procedures and forms relating to the application for financial aid.
- To submit forms in a timely fashion, accurately filled out – to the best of their ability -- including information on student and family income.
- When requested, to provide documents to verify family income, family size, and similar matters.
- To notify the financial aid office of any changes during the year in the financial situation of the parents and/or student (including any scholarships or awards received), so that the student's award may be adjusted.
- To notify the financial aid office if course load is reduced or increased.
- To honor all agreements made, including agreements with the college as well as commitments to lending institutions.
- If receiving federal financial aid, to maintain eligibility by enrollment in an approved program and all courses must apply to the student's degree major.
- If receiving state aid, to maintain eligibility by pursuing an approved course of study and enrolling in courses within your degree major and progressing toward a degree with satisfactory grades.
- To reapply for financial aid each year when you file your taxes.
- Students can only receive grants, loans and work study at one college. This is known as the Home School. Students taking Distance Education courses must complete Consortium Agreements at the Home School.
- To understand how the financial aid department determines financial need.
- To know the standards used to judge eligibility for financial aid.
- To appeal decisions made by the financial aid office.
- To understand the college’s refund policy.
- To understand the financial aid department’s Code of Conduct.
- To choose freely the participating lender from whom he or she wants a student loan
- To understand which portions of financial aid are loans which must be repaid and what the rate of interest is.
- To be notified in writing if his or her financial aid is canceled and for what reason.
- To reapply for financial aid each year.
- SUNY Orange is committed to preventing fraud associated with the misuse of students' identifying information (identity theft). In compliance with the Federal Trade Commission, as of 11/16/09 we can NO LONGER give out specific information to students over the phone. If you have any questions about your financial aid, please check your "Banner account" or stop by the Financial Aid offices at either the Newburgh or Middletown Campus with your photo ID. Due to the strict guidelines of this policy, no information can be given to parents unless the student is present with photo ID, or unless there is a signed FERPA agreement at the Registrar's office authorizing Financial Aid to release information to a parent.
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