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Helpful tips for completing your FAFSA

  • FAFSA stands for "Free Application for Federal Student Aid."  Online and telephone support is available for assistance in completing the FAFSA .
  • Beware of companies who charge fees for completing your FAFSA. Some of these companies have been identified as scams; others have been known to provide incorrect advice or fail to meet deadlines.
  • If your FAFSA is submitted after the March 1, 2020 Priority Deadline, you will receive lower priority consideration for many grants, need-based low interest rate loans, and work study.  In most cases, the awards will be limited to Stafford Loans and Pell Grant (if eligible).
  • DO NOT enter cents when entering dollar amounts in the income sections of the FAFSA.
  • Do not wait for an Admissions decision before filling out your FAFSA.
  • Complete all items on the FAFSA form.  Use a “0” for items that are not applicable.
  • IMPORTANT: Enter your Social Security Number correctly.  If you enter it incorrectly, your SAR (Student Aid Report generated from the FAFSA) will have a reject code and your application will be rejected.  You will need to file a new FAFSA and your aid award could be significantly delayed.
  • The Virginia Tech school code is 003754. 
  • Report asset figures effective as of the day that you submit the FAFSA. (Please note: do not change these figures in future corrections unless you have specific knowledge that the figures were incorrect on the original filing day.) 
  • Include your current e-mail and your physical mailing address.
  • Provide all required electronic signatures.  Use your FSA ID (and your parent’s FSA ID if you are a dependent student) to sign the FAFSA application electronically.  You may also print, complete, and mail the signature page to the federal processor within 10 days of submitting your FAFSA.  Be aware that mailing in a signature page will delay the processing of your application.
  • Print or save your confirmation page.  This will verify that the federal processor received your FAFSA.
  • Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) to supply your tax information without having to re-type it all.
    • The following are not eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool:
      • Students or parents who are married and filed as Married Filing Separately
      • Students or parents who are married and filed as Head of Household
      • Students or parents filed an amended tax return
      • Students or parents filed a Puerto Rican or foreign tax return
  • Log in to fafsa.ed.gov with your FSA ID to check the status of your FAFSA. 
    • 3-5 days after submitting your FAFSA if you signed with your FSA ID
    • 7-10 days after submitting your FAFSA if you printed, completed, and mailed in a signature Page
  • If your initial FAFSA submission was before March 1, 2019, you may make updates/corrections to the FAFSA after that time without losing priority status for financial aid.
  • Do not change asset figures when updating an already-filed FAFSA, unless the figures were incorrect on the day you first submitted the FAFSA.  Online corrections to asset information will prompt the Office of University Scholarships and Financial Aid (USFA) to request verification forms that could delay financial aid awards and/or disbursement.  (If your assets are affected by extenuating circumstances such as one-time disbursements, extraordinary medical expenses, or changes in employment or income, please review the Professional Judgment Appeal option.

Please do not send documents (tax forms, W2s, etc.) unless requested.

  • Documents sent to us that were not requested can delay the processing of your award package, often triggering additional verification requirements.
  • For prospective students, we will send request emails to the address provided on the FAFSA.
  • For continuing students, we will send request emails to the vt.edu email account and post the request on HokieSPA.

Rollovers
Retirement savings moved from one qualified retirement plan to another qualified plan should not be reported as untaxed income on the FAFSA. However, if a parent/student uses the IRS Data Retrieval Tool embedded in the FAFSA any rollover will be reported incorrectly. Applicants in this situation should file the FAFSA without changing the transferred tax data and then follow the steps below.

What happens with your IRA and/or pension rollover?
The data retrieval tool does not identify and exclude tax return IRA and/or Pension distributions that have been rolled over into another account.  It will take the IRA/Pension distribution minus the taxable portion of the distribution and enter the result as untaxed IRA and/or Pension on your FAFSA.  This may result in a higher Expected Family Contribution (EFC) than you should have.

What should you do if you have an IRA or a pension rollover?

  • DO NOT attempt to correct the information yourself.  By changing any of the tax data, you compromise the data transferred from the IRS. 
  • Provide the following documentation to our office (please write "Rollover" on all pages along with the student ID number):
    • A written notice/request for a correction to your FAFSA Untaxed IRA and/or Pension Rollover.
    • A copy of IRS Form 1099 from the organization the IRA or Pension was rolled into.
  • As long as you have not compromised the tax data by making changes to your FAFSA, once your documentation is received, it will be reviewed and processed.

You transferred the IRS data but you already updated the rollover figures yourself. Now what do you do?

  • Go to www.fafsa.gov and click on FAFSA Corrections.
  • Select Link to IRS to again transfer your tax data to your FAFSA.
  • Do NOT make any changes to the transferred tax data.
  • Provide the following documentation to our office (please write "Rollover" on all pages along with the student ID number):
    • A written notice/request for a correction to your FAFSA Untaxed IRA and/or Pension Rollover.
    • A copy of IRS Form 1099 from the organization the IRA or Pension was rolled into.
  • Once your documentation is received, it will be reviewed and processed.