The time has come for students to start filling out their Free Application for Federal Student Aid, better known as FAFSA for the 2016-2017 academic year.
Financial Aid & Scholarships Advisor Joni Thornburg suggests students fill out the forms as soon as possible, but the deadline to file is March 10.
“If a student or their parental guardian has not completed their taxes before the March 10th deadline they are able to use the 2014 tax information and the school can update the 2015 tax information in the state and federal financial aid system. Any changes made to the FAFSA have to be done by May 15, no exceptions,” Thornburg said.
Thornburg added the March 10th deadline is important because that date is the State of Indiana deadline for any state aid and grants. All students should fill out the FAFSA.
“Every student is encouraged to fill out the FAFSA. Students that do not fill the forms out because they are receiving scholarships frequently do not research the rules of the scholarships and they must maintain the specific scholarships rules to keep receiving the funds,” Thornburg said.
One of the many misunderstandings with receiving scholarships are that once they are received they cannot be taken away.
Thornburg said that each student should review the terms of their scholarship because there are usually disclosures that may include maintaining a specific ongoing GPA, full-time student status, participation in extracurricular activities, and at times, attendance standards. Students who fail to keep up with the rules will lose the scholarships and will be required to either repay the scholarship and/or pay the prorated amount for the remainder of the semester.
There is no cost to fill the FAFSA out, so it is important for all students to fill it out regardless of need.
According to FAFSA.gov, the only new procedure for returning students this year will be that all students will have a SSA ID instead of the pin that has been used in previous years.
When students log on to FAFSA.gov they will be asked to create a SSA ID before moving to the process of applying for aid if they have not already created an ID. The remainder of the FAFSA remains unchanged and the three to five-day window remains the same for the school to see applied status and available aid.
For those students that are having problems filling out the forms or have questions, feel free to stop by the Office of Financial Aid at in Whitewater Hall room 112. Students can also call the Financial Aid office at 765-973-8206, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Financial Aid office held a “Financial Aid Filing Day” on March 2 to help students with questions as well as assisted with inputting tax information and resolving problems.