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 2012 – 2013 FAFSA establishes eligibility for Fall 2012, Spring 2013 and Summer 2013. The 2013 -2014 FAFSA is for the Fall 2013, Spring 2014 and Summer 2014 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. For 2012- 2013, ISAC suspended MAP awards for all students with an original FAFSA processing date greater than March 19. The date could be even earlier for 2013 – 2014.
It is advisable to complete the FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. If time does not permit, the second best option is to use information from a completed tax return. However, if the student or parent, if applicable, 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 MAP grant.
ISAC EFC Calculator: http://www.isac.org/calculators/
For the past several years the deadline to file the FAFSA for MAP 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.
March 19. FAFSA applications submitted after this date were placed in a hold status and will not have MAP awarded unless additional funding becomes available. The cutoff date is dependent on application volume and could be even earlier this year.
Unfortunately, until ISAC begins awarding MAP for the 2013-2014 academic year it cannot be determined when the FAFSA deadline will occur but we do expect it to be even earlier than last year’s March 19 deadline.
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). It is scheduled to be available for use beginning February 3, 2013.
When completing the "Financial Information" sections on FAFSA, for both the student and parent sections, you will need to provide both your 2012 income and the amount of income tax paid. If you have not yet filed a 2012 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 last year's tax information.
Once your 2012 taxes have been filed, you will need to update the information reported on FAFSA to reflect the actual information from your 2012 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.