A handy guide to filing and correcting your FAFSA.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) opens on January 1. In order to streamline the FAFSA process, we recommend you take the following steps:
Complete your federal tax returns as soon as possible and submit them electronically to the IRS. Once you have submitted your federal tax returns, you can now begin the FAFSA.
Utilize the IRS Data Retrieval Process Learn More
Enter Rollins school code of 001515
Electronically sign the FAFSA with your FSA ID.
Watch this video turtorial to learn more about how to update/correct your FAFSA with the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.
1. Why file a FAFSA? The FAFSA is the main financial aid form for federal, state, and Rollins funding. You could qualify for grants, loans, and/or work-study depending upon your family's situation. Many families underestimate their financial aid eligibility, so we highly encourage families to complete this free application for financial aid.
2. What is a FSA ID and why do I need it? An FSA ID is a username and password that you must use to log in to certain U.S. Department of Education (ED) websites. Your FSA ID identifies you as someone who has the right to access your own personal information on ED websites such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
If you are a parent of a dependent student, you will need your own FSA ID if you want to sign your child's FAFSA electronically. If you have more than one child attending college, you can use the same FSA ID to sign all applications. Please note: Each FSA ID user must have a unique e-mail address.
3. What is verification? The U.S. Department of Education randomly selects FAFSA applications for verification as they are submitted. This process is to confirm the data on the FAFSA matches information submitted to the IRS as well as household information. Rollins is required to request copies of tax transcripts (if the family has not utilized the IRS Data Retrieval Tool) and other information to verify that the data reported on the FAFSA is accurate. Errors must be corrected and sent to the Federal Processor. Eligibility for financial aid may change due to verification, so we highly encourage families to utilize the IRS Data Retrieval Tool in order to provide accurate information.
4. How will I know if I am selected for verification? There will be a notification on your Student Aid Report (SAR), which you automatically receive after submitting the FAFSA. You will also receive a notification from Rollins as well as a missing item on your "To Do" list in Foxlink.
5. Why have I been selected for verification? Students can be randomly selected for verification by the Federal Processor when the FAFSA is submitted or when any subsequent changes are made. Rollins is also required to select students for verification if there is conflicting information on the FAFSA.
6. If I am selected for verification, do I have to complete it? Yes. You cannot receive need-based financial aid if you do not complete the verification process.
7. Can I make changes to my FAFSA after I have completed verfication? The FAFSA application will allow you to make changes after you have completed verification. However, Rollins cannot utilize those changes once verification is complete. If you have extenuating circumstances, please review contact our office.
8. What is an IRS Data Retrieval Tool and should I use it when completing the FAFSA? The U.S. Department of Education has partnered with the IRS to allow applicants to utilize the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) to import your tax return information directly from the IRS onto your FAFSA. The DRT makes completing the FAFSA easier and more accurate, and it also allows selected students to complete the verification process more quickly. You will be prompted to select this option when completing the FAFSA if you are eligible. You can utilize the DRT when originally completing the FAFSA or by making a change to the FAFSA. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool is expected to be available beginning February of each year. For more detailed information on the DRT process, please view our tutorial at: www.rollins.edu/finaid/irs-drt.
9. Why am I unable to choose the IRS Data Retrieval?
In certain circumstances, families may not be eligible for the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT). Examples include:
10. My, or my parent's, IRA Distribution was a rollover, but it is showing on my FAFSA. What should I do? Rollover IRA Distributions should not be counted as untaxed income, however the IRS Data Retrieval Tool is unable to distinguish these from non-rollover distributions. You should submit a signed copy of your 1040 tax return, along with a signed statement explaining the amount, to the Rollins Financial Aid Office. Do not make the correction to your FAFSA.
11. I completed the IRS Data Retrieval, but I feel the information on my FAFSA is incorrect. Is there anything I can do? Yes. You should contact the Rollins Financial Aid Office and we will provide options based on your specific situation.
12. Why complete my federal tax returns first? You will be able to utilize the IRS Data Retrieval Tool which will enable you to complete the FAFSA more easily and accurately.
13. What if I cannot complete my tax returns before the priority filing deadline? You may still file an estimated FAFSA. However, once your federal tax returns are submitted, access your FAFSA and then utilize the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to ensure your information is correct.
14. What is a tax return transcript and why do I need one? A tax return transcript comes directly from the IRS and contains most of the line items from your federal tax return. The U.S. Department of Education will only accept official tax return transcripts from the IRS to verify financial information on the FAFSA. The tax return transcript is free and can be ordered by calling 1-800-908-9946 or visiting www.irs.gov. The tax return transcript may take 2-3 weeks to receive. Once you have received it, please send to the Rollins Financial Aid Office. To avoid this additional delay, we highly encourage you to utilize the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.
15. What is a tax account transcript? A tax account transcript provides some of the information from the tax transcript described above. However, this document does not satisfy the requirement. Only submit this document if you filed an amended tax return. This document is also free and can be ordered by calling 1-800-908-9946 or visiting www.irs.gov.
16. I have a tax return summary. Is that the same as a tax transcript? No. A tax summary does not include all of the information required. You will need to submit a tax transcript.
17. I filed for a tax extension. What documents does the financial aid office need? You should estimate your income information on the FAFSA. Once you have completed your tax returns, either use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool or submit your tax transcript.
18. I will not file a federal tax return. Am I required to go through the verification process? Yes. You will indicate that you didn't file on the Verficiation Worksheet (will be available in mid-January) and complete the income information. The Verification Worksheet will need to be signed and returned to the Rollins Financial Aid Office.