No one, but NO ONE collates and stuffs envelopes like our financial aid work-study students. Forget about it. In a John Henry-esque battle between our work-study students and some towering, ominously chugging Xerox machine (think Smoke Monster from Lost), with each side collating at a feverish, superhuman pace, I have no doubt that our students would reign victorious (and hopefully without the tragic denouement of the John Henry legend). Right now, our cracker jack team is just finishing up the final preparations for the first round of financial aid award packages that should start to go out next week! This initial batch of Award Letters for the 2012-2013 financial aid year will go to our prospective Freshmen and Transfer students, who surely await this important information with acute anticipation.
For those prospective students and their families who are reading my blog posts, you will now begin the daunting task of evaluating the financial aid award letters from your candidate schools as you move toward your final decision. You may already have noticed that there’s no standard format or universal terminology for financial aid award letters. It can be difficult to sort through everything to make ‘diplomas to diplomas’ comparisons (seemed more apropos than ‘apples to apples’). Once your award letter is printed and mailed, you will receive a follow-up email from the Student Solution Center in about a week offering to have a Solution Center representative call you, at your convenience, to discuss any questions about your award letter. Be sure to take advantage of this opportunity!
Our current students might be wondering, “What about us?” We haven’t forgotten you. But you will have to wait a bit longer for your award letters. As soon as they’re ready to go, you’ll read about it here. In the meantime, current students can stay ahead of the game by making sure you complete the 2012-2013 FAFSA and, if you are a New York State resident, the NYS Tap application as well.
If you file the FAFSA before you file your 2011 Federal income tax return, you should update the FAFSA after you file your taxes. Log in to your FAFSA and choose the option to make corrections. Importantly, you now have the option to import data directly from your 2011 federal tax return by using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. Your data should be available about 10 days after you file your taxes electronically or 6 to 8 weeks after filing a paper return. On the other hand, if you plan to wait to file the FAFSA until after you file your taxes, you may wish to wait about 10 days, so that you can take advantage of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.
One of the primary advantages of utilizing the IRS Data Retrieval Tool is that it will greatly simplify and expedite the financial aid verification process if you happen to be selected for verification at a later time. More on that later too!
Has anyone used the Data Retrieval Tool when filing the FAFSA yet? Was it simple and user friendly? Was it ridiculously frustrating? Leave a comment and tell us about it!