Financial Aid FAQs
What is VSU’s school code for FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)?
What is the FSA ID and Password?
This is how the FAFSA is electronically signed. In most cases, the FSA ID and password must be created both for the student and a parent. To create your FSA ID and password, please visit https://fsaid.ed.gov. Please note that a FAFSA application that is submitted without a signature, will not be processed.
The FAFSA is requiring parental information. My parents are divorced and I live with my mother. My mother is also remarried. Do I need to include her husband’s information?
Yes, the federal government requires all household income to be included. So, in this example, both the mother and step-father’s information must be provided.
The FAFSA is asking for the prior year tax and wage information. I am currently making a lot less money, than what was reported on my tax return. Do I still have to provide last year’s tax and wage information?
Yes, the federal government determines financial aid eligibility based on the prior year tax information.
What is verification? Why do I have to turn in documents?
Verification is a process mandated by the U.S. Department of Education in an effort to confirm the accuracy of the data provided on the FAFSA. This means that the office of financial aid is required to collect certain documents from students who have been selected by the U.S. Department of Education based on data that is typically entered in error. The financial aid administrator has the right to request any documentation deemed necessary to complete the verification process. Typically, additional documentation is requested in order to clarify information that is unclear. If the family refuses to provide the documentation, the office of financial aid is prohibited from providing financial aid until the requested documentation is provided. Currently, documentation includes IRS Tax Return Transcripts, W-2 Forms, Verification Forms, Divorce Decrees, Child Support Documentation, SNAP Benefits, Social Security Benefit forms, etc.
My parents are separated, but are not legally divorced and have not filed for divorce yet. What documents will I need to provide in order to show proof of separation for Federal Verification purposes?
Your parents can complete either Option 1 or Option 2.
Option 1: A written, signed, and dated statement from the parent’s explaining current marital status and date of separation, along with documentation such as separate utility bills and/or lease agreements to prove separate residences.Option 2: Two 3rd party statements from (minister, counselor/therapist, employer) stating how they know your parent(s), the knowledge they have of the parent’s current marital status, date of separation, and provide a way they can be contacted if we have questions. The statements must be dated, have an official (ink pen) signature, and be notarized.
My parents are married, but did not file taxes as Married Filing Separate/Married Filing Jointly, what documents will I need to provide for Federal Verification purposes?
Parent(s) must provide a signed statement explaining why they filed taxes the way they did (Single/Head of Household) and MUST also provide a copy of the IRS regulation that allows them each to file this way. If unable to provide both the signed statement and the IRS regulation, they can submit signed 1040X(s), along with the newly generated 1040(s) that shows all updates.
What if my parents are unwilling to provide their information on my FAFSA?
When the FAFSA asks you whether you are able to provide information about your parents, you may say “no”. Your FAFSA will be submitted to the school(s) listed on the FAFSA, but it will not provide you with an EFC (Estimated Family Contribution) figure. Please allow 3-4 days and then contact the Office of Financial Aid. You will then need to provide a signed statement (from a parent) that indicates their refusal to provide their information and that they do not support you.
NOTE: Once your file is processed, you will only be eligible to receive Unsubsidized Loans from the federal government (you will not be eligible for federal grants or the Subsidized Loan). Due to this, we encourage families to do whatever is possible to provide the necessary parental information, in order to be fully considered for all forms of federal money.
When should I complete FAFSA and Verification?
For the Fall semester, FAFSA should be completed no later than June 1st, but is available for completion in January. Typically, the FAFSA should be completed at least 2 weeks after filing taxes for the previous year since the data from the tax return is required in order to complete the FAFSA. Documents for verification should be turned in as soon as possible and students should monitor the progress of the application through the Banner system for any additional requested documentation.
Am I dependent or Independent?
Typically, students must be able to answer “yes” to questions in Step 3 of the FAFSA in order to be independent. The questions usually ask if a student is the age of 24, married, working on a Master’s Degree or higher, in the military, or currently have children who they provide more than 50% of support for, or have been legally declared independent, homeless, or orphaned.
Who should I include on the FAFSA?
Parents should be on the FAFSA if the student is a dependent student. Grandparents, legal guardians (as determined by a court), or other family members (Aunts/Uncles) cannot be added to the FAFSA. Dependents of parents, such as other children or children who have been placed in the legal guardianship of parents can be included in the household.
How long does Financial Aid take?
Once we receive your FAFSA, the awarding process can average 2-3 weeks.
How much am I getting back?
We cannot tell you over the phone what your refund is. However, if you log into your BANNER account you will be able to see it or you can stop by the BURSARY or Financial Aid office with a picture id and we can tell you then.
What else do I need to turn in?
When you log onto your BANNER account, under the Financial Aid section select Eligibility>Student Requirements to see what else is required to be awarded financial aid
What is my Financial Aid status?
You can check your status online by logging onto your BANNER account and clicking on Overall Status.
Why isn’t my money on my FLEX card?
It can take up to one hour to have money become available on your FLEX card after the transfer. If you have a balance due, your FLEX card will not work. You can check on your balance by contacting the Bursary at (229)333-5725.
What is my balance of financial aid?
By logging onto your BANNER account you can see what Financial Aid has offered click on the following links:
Student Services and Financial Aid>Financial Aid>My Award Information>Award By Aid Year>select the appropriate term and press “Submit.” This will show the amount of Financial Aid that will pay towards the balance on your account.
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