Applying for Financial Aid

What is the FAFSA?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the form used by the U.S. Department of Education to determine what types of financial aid you may qualify for. Completing and submitting the FAFSA is free and quick, and it gives you access to the largest source of financial aid to pay for college. In addition, many states and colleges use your FAFSA data to determine your eligibility for state and school aid, and some private financial aid providers may use your FAFSA information to determine whether you qualify for their aid.

On This Page: (click to jump to section)

What does the FAFSA determine?

Do I need to file a FAFSA?

When is the FAFSA deadline?

What documents will I need to complete the FAFSA?

How do I create an FSA ID and password?

How do I complete the FAFSA?

What is a school code?

What is the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?

General Processing Timeline

What does the FAFSA Determine?

When you have completed the FAFSA, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR). This report tells you your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and estimated federal aid. The types of financial aid that you qualify for is determined your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) which is calculated during the FAFSA application process. Your EFC is not the amount of money your family will have to pay for college, nor is it the amount of federal student aid you will receive. It is a number calculated by the FAFSA and used by your school to calculate how much financial aid you are eligible to receive. The EFC is calculated according to a formula established by law. Your family's taxed and untaxed income, assets, and benefits (such as unemployment or Social Security) all could be considered in the formula. Also considered are your family size and the number of family members who will attend college or career school during the year. The EFC Formula guide shows exactly how an EFC is calculated.

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Do I need to file a FAFSA?

You are not required to complete a FAFSA, however, in order to be considered for federal grants and loans you must complete and submit a FAFSA application. 

If you don’t fill out the FAFSA, you could be missing out on a lot of financial aid! There are number of reasons students think they shouldn’t complete the FAFSA. Here are a few:

    • “I (or my parents) make too much money, so I won’t qualify for aid.”
    • “Only students with good grades get financial aid.”
    • “The FAFSA is too hard to fill out.”
    • “I’m too old to qualify for financial aid.”

If you think any of these statements apply to you, then you should read Myths About Financial Aid. The reality is, EVERYONE who's getting ready to go to college should fill out the FAFSA!  

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When is the FAFSA deadline?

The FAFSA application is available online October 1st, of each year and will request tax information from the previous year. You must complete and submit a FAFSA application for every academic year that you are in school. You can complete the FAFSA at any time during the academic year that you are attending, however, there are deadlines to be considered eligible for certain types of financial aid.

Recommended Deadline: MARCH 15 each year to be considered for all types of financial aid (federal, state and institutional aid).

PA State Grant Deadline: MAY 1 each year. If you complete the FAFSA after May 1, you will still qualify for federal student aid, however, you will not be considered eligible for the PA State Grant due to your application being late.

NOTE: The above deadlines are for the initial submission of the FAFSA; not subsequent paperwork. The previous year tax information is requested on the FAFSA so you should have already completed your taxes as of April 15th. Since your tax information is already completed you will be able to accurately enter your information by hand or you can use the recommended IRS Data Retrieval Tool on the FAFSA to electronically import your tax information from the IRS, which will simply your process. 

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What documents will I need to complete the FAFSA?

To complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you will need:

  • Your Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID and password to log into the application
  • Your Social Security Number or your Alien Registration Number (if you are not a U.S. citizen)
  • Your most recent federal income tax returns, W-2s, and other records of money earned. (Note: You may be able to transfer your federal tax return information into your FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.)
  • Bank statements and records of investments (if applicable)
  • Records of untaxed income (if applicable)
  • An FSA ID to sign electronically.

If you are a dependent student, then you will also need the above information for your parent(s).

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How do I create an FSA ID and password?

Students, parents, and federal loan borrowers are required to create an FSA ID, made up of a username and password, to access certain U.S. Department of Education websites. Your FSA ID is used to confirm your identity when accessing your financial aid information and electronically signing your federal student aid documents. 

Student: An FSA ID is a username and password you need to log in to and sign the FAFSA online. If you don’t have an FSA ID, get one here ASAP. It takes about 10 minutes to create an FSA ID. If this will be your first time filling out the FAFSA, you’ll be able to use your FSA ID right away to sign and submit your FAFSA online. If this is not your first time filling out the FAFSA, you’ll need to wait 1–3 days before you can use your new FSA ID (there’s an account verification process).

Parent: If your child is required to report parent information on the FAFSA, you need to create your own FSA ID in order to sign your child’s FAFSA online. Create an FSA ID here. Parents are able to use their FSA IDs right away.

IMPORTANT: Some of the most common FAFSA errors occur when the student and parent mix up their FSA IDs. Keep in mind that the same e-mail address cannot be used for both parent and student IDs. If you don’t want your financial aid to be delayed, it’s extremely important that each parent and each student create his/her own FSA ID and that they do not share it with ANYONE, even each other. 

To create YOUR User ID here or click the link below.

PIN

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How do I complete the FAFSA?

The FAFSA is available each year beginning October 1, 2016. Even if your state and school deadlines aren’t for a while, you should complete the FAFSA as soon as possible because some types of financial aid may run out if you wait until the last minute to apply.

To get started, go to fafsa.gov and click “Start a New FAFSA”. To have your FAFSA information sent to Millersville University, you must include our School Code: 003325 on your application.

FAFSA

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What is a school code?

To complete the FAFSA application and have your information sent to Millersville University, you must include our School Code: 003325 on your application. Even if the student has not been accepted by the schools he/she has applied to and/or has not made a final decision of where to attend, it is recommended that you complete the FAFSA and include all schools (up to 10 are allowed) that the student is considering. To list other schools, you will need their school code as well. If you are unsure of this code, please refer to the Federal School Code Search website.

MU School Code

 

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What is the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) allows students and parents to access the IRS tax return information needed to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and transfer the data directly into their FAFSA from the IRS Web site. You will be asked a series of questions to determine if you are eligible to use the Data Retrieval Tool on the FAFSA.

If you are eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, we highly recommend using the tool for several reasons:

    1. It’s the easiest way to provide your tax data.
    2. It’s the best way of ensuring that your FAFSA has accurate tax information.
    3. You won’t need to provide a copy of your or your parents’ tax returns to your college.

If you are eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, then click Link To IRS to transfer your tax return information from the IRS Web site into your FAFSA. (Note: If you previously transferred your tax return information from the IRS, or you indicate that you filed your tax return electronically within the last three weeks or through the mail within the last eleven weeks, then the Link To IRS button displays once you click the "View option to link to the IRS" hyperlink.)

Why can't I use the Data Retrieval Tool?

Students or parents who are married and filed as Married Filing Separately, are married and filed as Head of Household, filed an amended tax return or filed a Puerto Rican or foreign tax return are not eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool and will need to enter their tax return information manually.

Additionally, students or parents who filed their tax returns electronically within the last three weeks, or through the mail within the last eleven weeks, might need to either enter their tax return information manually or return at a later date to transfer their tax return information into the FAFSA, as their tax return information might not be available for transfer from the IRS.

If you are ineligible or otherwise choose not to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to retrieve tax information, Millersville University's Office of Financial Aid may require a copy of your IRS Tax Return Transcript (or your parents’ IRS Tax Return Transcript, if you are a dependent student); and selected for Verification.

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General Processing Timeline

Application Type Email Address Provided
on the FAFSA
Processing Time Notification method of
Student Aid Report (SAR)
Online Yes 3 - 5 business days electronically via email
Online No 1 - 2 weeks US Postal Service
Paper Yes 3 - 4 weeks electronically via email
Paper No 4 - 6 weeks US Postal Service

Once you receive your Student Aid Report (SAR) - paper or via email, review all information to be sure it is accurate. If corrections need to be made, you can do them through the paper SAR by mailing it in with the corrections on it or make corrections online using your FSA ID and password. 

* The email comes from the U.S. Department of Education, so depending on how
strong your email filter is, you may have to check your Bulk/Junk mail folder for the email.

** Please note - the times above are approximate times and may be longer for some individuals

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