All students are encouraged to file their FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1 each year for the following fall/spring academic year, to ensure the best financial aid package possible.
You are encouraged to use prior-year tax returns and 2015 W2 forms to estimate your income and file your FAFSA in January with estimated data. Your estimated income on the FAFSA should accurately reflect any significant change to your 2015 income. Beginning on February 1, 2016 or at least one to two weeks after you electronically file your tax return with the Internal Revenue Service, you may log back into the FAFSA and link directly to the IRS database to update your tax information. The IRS data retrieval tool is not an option until the IRS has actually processed your 2015 tax return. If you file a paper return with the IRS, it will be 6-8 weeks after filing before IRS data retrieval will be available to you. Using the IRS data retrieval option will reduce documentation that you will be required to submit to the Financial Aid Office later in the financial aid process.
The benefit of completing the application process early is substantial for students with a low expected family contribution (EFC). A freshman student with a zero EFC, who completed the FAFSA process early for 2015/16 was offered over $5000 more financial aid than a zero EFC student who completed the process after limited funds were depleted.
Federal Pell Grant and Federal Direct subsidized and unsubsidized loans are available throughout the aid year. All students that meet the eligibility requirements and complete the FAFSA process for these two aid programs will receive the funds, as long as they apply within the academic school year. There are other funds, however, that are limited and offered on a first-come, first-serve basis to eligible students. These funds include Perkins Loans, Ferris Grant and Work Study. To be considered for these limited funds you must meet the eligibility requirements and you must complete the application process early.
It is important that all students file the FAFSA in January to allow enough time to correct any mistakes and resolve rejected FAFSA issues. FAFSA’s may be rejected by the federal processor for a number of reasons – missing electronic signatures, incomplete responses to questions, social security number or legal name mismatches, missing parental data, selective service issues and many others.
It is the student's responsibility to follow up and check for any missing financial aid requirements. You may monitor missing requirements in MyFSU, Student tab, select the Financial Aid icon, select Missing Requirements in the "You Have Missing Requirements" section.
Your financial aid application is considered complete on the date that all of the following have occurred:
The Financial Aid Office will begin to send out awards for continuing students who have successfully completed the FAFSA (and verification if selected) approximately June 1 - after Spring grades have posted.