You must complete this application for each academic year to determine your eligibility to participate in federal, state, and institutional grant and loan programs. The FAFSA is available beginning January 1 preceding the academic year. An academic year generally consists of a fall, spring and summer term. Schools must define whether summer begins or ends an academic year for financial aid purposes. NIU has defined the academic year to begin with fall and end with summer. The 2015 -2016 FAFSA is for the Fall 2015, Spring 2016 and Summer 2016 academic year. The 2016 -2017 FAFSA is for the Fall 2016, Spring 2017 and Summer 2017 academic year.
Now! MAP grant eligible students should plan to file the FAFSA as early as possible in January or early February. The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) uses a “first-come, first-served” methodology, based on the FAFSA processing date, to allocate limited funds. Once the state-wide application volume reaches the estimated number of students that can be funded, ISAC suspends all future applications.
It is advisable to complete the FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. The second best option is to use information from a completed tax return. If the student or parent tax return cannot be completed in time to ensure meeting the MAP deadline, you can use estimated tax information. Even though you will have to update the tax information later, the original FAFSA processing date is always used for the MAP deadline. See FAFSA IRS Data Retrieval Tool and How to Estimate Taxes.
You should double check to make sure your name, date of birth, and Social Security Number are also reported accurately on your NIU Admission application. These three data elements are used to match the results of your FAFSA to your student record. Last year over 600 new students reported one of these items incorrectly on either the FAFSA or NIU Admission application, resulting in significant delays.
The FAFSA serves as the application for both federal financial aid and the State of Illinois MAP grant.
ISAC EFC Calculator: http://www.isac.org/calculators/
For the past several years the deadline to file the FAFSA for MAP Grant consideration has been earlier each subsequent year due to limited funding availability, increasing numbers of applicants, and ISAC’s need to suspend awarding to stay within their level of funding for the year.
February 21, 2015. FAFSA applications submitted after this date were placed in a suspense status and will not have MAP awarded unless additional funding becomes available. The funding cutoff date is dependent on application volume and could be even earlier this year.
The IRS Data Retrieval Tool is a feature that helps streamline the FAFSA by allowing online FAFSA filers to securely pull tax data directly from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
When completing the "Financial Information" sections on FAFSA, for both the student and parent sections, you will need to provide both your 2015 income and the amount of income tax paid. If you have not yet filed a 2015 tax return, there are a number of methods available to estimate "taxes paid."
If your income has not changed in the past year, the easiest way to estimate taxes is to use your 2014 tax return information and indicate "I will fill but have not yet completed my return." Once your taxes are filed, update tax information to 2015 figures.
Once your 2015 taxes have been filed, you will need to update the information reported on FAFSA to reflect the actual information from your 2015 tax return. You should use the FAFSA correction process to update your FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. If you are ineligible or choose not to use the retrieval process you may enter the updated tax information manually. You will also need to indicate you "have already completed my tax return." Students who submitted their FAFSA with a tax filing status of "Will File" may not be issued an award notification until their 2015 tax information has been updated to "have already completed my tax return."