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Financial Aid Overview, Application Process and Student Eligibility. Lisa Stewart Texas A&M University at Galveston. TASFAA 2013 ABC Workshop. Four components that make up financial aid: Scholarships Institutional and outside Grants Federal and state Loans

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Financial Aid Overview, Application Process and Student Eligibility

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Financial Aid Overview, Application Process and Student Eligibility

Lisa Stewart

Texas A&M University at Galveston

TASFAA 2013 ABC Workshop

Four components that make up financial aid:

  • Scholarships

    • Institutional and outside

  • Grants

    • Federal and state

  • Loans

    • Federal, state, and institutional

  • Work Study

    • Federal and state

  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the central element of the federal student aid application process

  • FAFSA data are used to:

    • Compute the expected family contribution (EFC)

    • Confirm certain student eligibility criteria

Module Objectives

  • Explain how to apply for Title IV aid

  • Identify and describe various methods students may use to apply for financial aid

  • Practice completion of FAFSA.

Module Objectives

  • Explain how FAFSA data are processed by Central Processing System (CPS)

  • Identify and describe types of FAFSA processing output

  • Review how to:

    • Make changes to applicant data

    • Override student dependency status

Free Application for Federal Student Aid

There are multiple versions of the FAFSA:

  • The paper FAFSA

  • FAFSA on the Web (FOTW)

  • FAA Access to CPS Online

  • FAFSA on the Phone

Electronic FAFSAs

  • FAFSA may be filed electronically via:

  • FAFSA on the web (completed by student)

  • FAA Access to CPS Online(completed by advisor)

FAFSA on the Web

  • Available in English and Spanish

  • Real-time FAFSA submission and updates

  • Ability to electronically sign using a Federal Student Aid (FSA) Personal Identification Number (PIN)

  • Instructions and “help text” for certain questions

  • Skip-logic allowing student and/or parent to skip unnecessary questions

  • “Chat” help.

FAFSA on the Web cont.

  • Built-in edits check for errors prior to submission

  • Ability to check application status on-line

  • Printable FOTW Worksheet assists in collecting necessary application information

FAA Access to CPS Online

To use:

  • School must register with U.S. Department of Education (ED)

  • Financial aid administrator must have user ID and password

Dependent Student Status: Special Circumstances

Dependent applicants unable to provide parental information due to a special family circumstance, may use FAFSA on the Web to bypass the parent questions

Internal Revenue Service Data Retrieval

  • Process enables students and parents to transfer tax return information from IRS website directly to FOTW application

  • IRS Data Retrieval also available for corrections

Completing FAFSA on the Web

  • Answer all applicable questions accurately

  • List colleges to receive FAFSA results

  • Sign and submit.

  • If selecting “Will File”, return and input corrected information.

Signing the FAFSA on the Web

Three methods to sign application:

  • Electronically using FSA PIN;

  • Sign printed copy of signature page; or

  • Sign rejected Student Aid Report (SAR) - (when using CPS completion method)

Application Signatures

  • Signing application:

    • Certifies accuracy of data

    • Acknowledges ED authority to verify information reported with other federal agencies

    • Agrees to provide any info requested

    • Certifies identity

    • Acknowledges consequences of false information

    • Agrees to certain application certification statements

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

  • Amount family can reasonably be expected to contribute

  • Stays the same regardless of college

  • Calculated using FAFSA data and a federal formula

What makes up the EFC?

  • Number of individuals in the household

  • Number of individuals in college

  • Parents income/assets

  • Students income/assets

Student Eligibility for Title IV Aid

Students must meet several general eligibility requirements

  • Some requirements are student related

  • Others relate to the program of study

General Student Eligibility Requirements

Criteria categories:

1.Checked via application process

2.Checked and monitored by school

3.Not specifically checked, but must be resolved if conflicting information exists

Department of Homeland Security Primary Verification

  • Database match between Central Processing System (CPS) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to confirm eligible noncitizen status

  • If primary verification confirms eligible noncitizen status, no further proof is required

DHS Secondary Confirmation

  • CPS submits automated DHS secondary confirmation request to DHS if primary verification failed and an Alien Registration Number was provided on the FAFSA

  • Automated secondary confirmation usually is completed within 3 days

Social Security Number

Three types of Social Security Administration (SSA) database matches:

  • Student’s Social Security Number (SSN)

  • Parent’s SSN

  • Date of death

National Student Loan Data System

Student and parent PLUS borrower must:

  • Not be in default on a Title IV loan

  • Not owe a Title IV overpayment

  • Not have exceeded Title IV loan limits

  • Have fully repaid any fraudulently obtained Title IV funds

Drug Convictions

  • Two sets of student eligibility requirements apply

  • Different means used to determine whether student meets the requirements

    • Department of Justice database match

    • Question 23 on 2013–14 FAFSA

Institutional Eligibility Regulations

School may not admit as a regular student persons who:

  • Do not have high school diploma or its recognized equivalent; and

  • Are below the age of compulsory attendance in the state in which school is located

CPS Database Matches

  • Social Security Administration:

    • Social Security Number (SSN)

    • Master Death File

    • U.S. citizenship

  • Department of Homeland Security:

    • Eligible noncitizen status

  • Selective Service System:

    • Registration with Selective Service

CPS Database Matches

  • National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) for Title IV funds:

    • Loan defaults

    • Exceeds loan limits

    • Any unpaid fraudulently obtained funds

    • Repayments

CPS Database Matches

  • Department of Defense: Identify eligible students for increased aid due to parent or guardian death as a result of U.S. military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after 9/11/2001

  • Department of Veterans Affairs (VA): Verification of veteran status

Application Output

Processed application output sent to:

  • Student in form of SAR(paper or electronic)

  • School in form of Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR)

  • Student’s state agency in form of ISIR

Student Aid Report (SAR)

  • Summarizes information reported on application (paper or electronic)

  • Provides processing results including:

    • EFC

    • Messages related to database matches

    • Verification selection

    • Eligibility for Title IV aid

Application Output

  • Student output depends on whether the student provided e-mail address

  • CPS sends student:

    • E-mail Notification of SAR Processing, if e-mail address is provided;

    • Paper SAR, if paper FAFSA and no e-mail address; or

    • Paper SAR Acknowledgement, if electronic application and no e-mail address

Paper Student Aid Report

Paper SAR enables students to readily determine:

  • Status of their FAFSA (complete or incomplete)

  • Eligibility or ineligibility for Federal Pell Grant

  • Next steps in the application process

SAR Acknowledgement

SAR Acknowledgement is sent to student whose application data was electronically submitted and no e-mail address provided

  • Includes EFC

  • Establishes student’s Title IV eligibility

  • Cannot be used to make changes

Changing Applicant Data

  • Corrections: Changes to incorrect data

  • Updates: Changes required for some data items that change after FAFSA was filed

  • Adjustments: Changes to applicant data by financial aid administrator using PJ

    • Dependency override: Adjustment of student’s status from dependent to independent by FAA

Corrections: Adding Schools

  • Adding a school to CPS record is considered a correction

  • Student can add schools by:

    • Using FAFSA on the Web and FSA PIN;

    • Calling Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1.800.433.3243 and providing Data Release Number; or

    • Submitting correction on paper SAR

Electronic Corrections

  • Students with a FSA PIN can electronically make and sign corrections

  • FSA PIN or signature of dependent’s parent required only if change is made to parental data

Paper SAR Corrections

  • Student or parent must follow SAR instructions

  • SAR must be signed by:

    • Student

    • Parent, if dependent

Items That Must Be Updated

  • Household size, if selected for verification

  • Number in college, if selected for verification

  • Dependency status, whenever change occurs, whether or not selected for verification, except updating not permitted for:

    • Change in student’s marital status (This is an option for the school, if it chooses)


  • Made only by financial aid administrator

  • May be made using FAA Access to CPS Online

  • Financial aid administrator can perform dependency overrides on paper FAFSA

  • Student’s and/or parent’s signature not required if documentation used as basis of the adjustment is signed

Dependency Status Override

Student may be considered independent if unusual circumstances exist

  • Decision must be made and documented on case-by-case basis

  • Can override dependency status on initial paper application or after initial application is filed

Dependency Override: After Initial Application

  • Override performed using FAA Access to CPS Online (or EDExpress)

    • Only the school submitting the override will be sent a revised ISIR.

    • Your school may accept a decision made by another school for that award year.


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