We wanted to take some time to notify you of a change in the FAFSA process beginning in the 2012-13 school year.

Unchanged is the opportunity for families to complete the FAFSA for the new school year as of January 1, 2013.  However, we would encourage you/your parents to complete your tax return early and before you complete the FAFSA.  In fact, we would encourage you to wait a week or two after having submitted your tax return (one week if you file your taxes electronically or two-three weeks if you file via paper) before you complete the FAFSA.  You may file electronically at www.FAFSA.gov. Make sure you have requested a PIN for yourself and a parent if applicable at www.PIN.ed.gov, which will allow you to sign the FAFSA electronically.

If you wait for your IRS information to be available, the FAFSA application now has an “IRS data retrieval” option available to you.  If your tax return information is available with the IRS, key data on the FAFSA will be populated from your actual tax return.  Of course, if you have any deadlines that would require you to complete the FAFSA before your data is available with the IRS, we would encourage you to file using estimated income to meet those deadlines.  When you return to the FAFSA to make corrections, you can request the IRS data retrieval at that time. Please remember that BVU has a June 1, 2013 deadline for students to be considered for SEOG, Perkins Loan or College Work Study funds.  Iowa residents need to file by July 1, 2013 for Iowa Tuition Grant consideration.

Each year, at least 30% of all FAFSAs are selected for a process called verification.  In this verification process, a school is required to verify the income information you provided.  In the past, those applicants that were selected for this process were required to send us a signed tax return (1040, 1040A or 1040EZ).  For the 2012-13 school year forward, selected applicants will be required to either have used the IRS data retrieval process on the FAFSA (either originally or through the correction process) or request tax transcripts directly from the IRS; we can no longer accept copies of tax returns.  This could prove to be a time consuming and perhaps confusing process that could be avoided by using the data retrieval process.

As always, if you have any questions on this or other financial aid related issues, please contact our office at 800.383.2821 ext. 2164.