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FAFSA FAQ

1. What is the FAFSA?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is required to apply for financial aid (work-study, federal and state grants and loans, as well as PUC financial aid and some outside scholarships).

2. I probably don't qualify for financial aid. Should I fill out my FAFSA anyway?

Yes! Many families mistakenly think they don't qualify for aid when they do. The FAFSA is free, so it's worth trying.

3. How do I fill out the FAFSA?

Online at www.fafsa.ed.gov.

4. When should I file my FAFSA?

You can start filling out your FAFSA for the next school year starting every January. The earliest you can file for the next school year is January. We recommend filing as early in the year as possible. If you are applying for Cal Grant, you will need to submit your FAFSA by March 2. However, much financial aid is based on a first come, first serve basis. So the sooner you fill out your FAFSA, the better!

5. Do I need to fill out a FAFSA every year?

Yes. You are required to apply for financial aid every year.

6. Where can I get help for filling out the FAFSA?

FAFSA provides a FAFSA on the web worksheet. View the worksheet.

7. How do I request a FAFSA PIN?

  • Go to www.pin.ed.gov
  • If you never received a PIN, click on 'Apply For A PIN.' If you have a PIN but lost or forgot it, click on 'Request A Duplicate PIN.' If you think somebody else knows your PIN, click on 'Change My PIN.'
  • Answer the questions that display on the screen.
  • Verify your mailing and email address.
  • Click 'Submit Request' and wait for the confirmation page to display

8. Do I need a Social Security number to apply for federal aid through the FAFSA?

  • You must have a Social Security number to be eligible for federal financial aid. If you submit a FAFSA without a SSN, your FAFSA will be returned unprocessed.
  • If you do not have a Social Security number, you can still apply for financial aid through Pacific Union College. PUC Financial Aid Application

9. What documents will I need when I fill out my FAFSA?

The FAFSA will ask you for identifying information as well financial information. You will need to know your social security number, and have your driver's license (if any), W-2s for yourself and your parents, and 1040 Tax Returns for yourself and your parents, bank statements, information regarding any business or investment or mortgage, and your alien registration or permanent resident card (if you are not a U.S. citizen).

10. What is PUC's school code for FAFSA?

001258

11. I sent in my FAFSA over four weeks ago, but haven't heard anything. What should I do?

If you haven't received a Student Aid Report (SAR), call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at (800) 433-3243. You must provide your Social Security number and date of birth as verification.

12. Who should I put down as my parent for the FAFSA?

  • If your parents are married, provide information about both parents.
  • If your parent is widowed or single, provide information about that parent
  • If your parents have divorced or separated, provide information about the parent that you lived with most during the last 12 months. If you did not live with one parent more than the other, provide information about the parent who provided most of your financial support during the last 12 months.
  • If your parent has remarried after being widowed or divorced, provide information about both your parent and your stepparent.
  • If you have a legal guardian, you cannot use your legal guardian's information on your application. A legal guardian is not considered a parent in the financial aid process.
  • If you have foster parents, you cannot use your foster parents' information on your application. A foster parent is not considered a parent in the financial aid process.
  • If you were adopted, follow the instructions above for parents, based on your adoptive parents' current marital status.

13. FAFSA asks for information about my parents, but I don't receive any financial support from them. What should I do?

Federal regulations require your eligibility to be based on your income and that of your parents unless you are 24 years old; married, or have legal dependents other than a spouse; are a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces; an orphan or ward of the court (or you were until age 18); or will be working on a degree beyond a bachelor's. If you think that you have exceptional circumstances, contact your financial counselor.

14. What can I do if my family has unusual circumstances?

If you and your family have unusual circumstances that you believe are not adequately reflected on the FAFSA, contact your financial counselor. We may request additional documentation to adjust your FAFSA information. Some common examples of unusual circumstances include:

  • Tuition expenses at an elementary or secondary school
  • Unusual medical or dental expenses not covered by insurance
  • A family member who recently became unemployed
  • Changes in income or assets

15. What is the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool allows students and parents to link their IRS tax return information needed to complete the FAFSA directly from the IRS website into their FAFSA. If you are eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, we highly recommend using it.

  • It is the easiest way to provide your tax information
  • It's the best way to ensuring that your FAFSA has accurate tax information
  • It is less likely that you will be required to have your FAFSA verified later on
  • If your taxes are not yet completed, you will not be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. You can still submit your FAFSA, and then correct your FAFSA to include the IRS Data Retrieval Tool once your taxes have been process by the IRS. If you do not use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, you will need to provide student financial services with copies of your IRS Tax Return Transcript. You can request your IRS Tax Return Transcript by calling (800) 908-9946 or by visiting https://sa2.www4.irs.gov/irfof-tra/start.do.

16. I made a mistake on my FAFSA! What should I do?

You cannot make a change to your FAFSA until it has been processed and your SAR is generated. Your first FAFSA should be processed within 3-5 days, and then you can make your correction. You will need to log in to your FAFSA at www.fafsa.ed.gov to make the correction. After you have adjusted all of the information you need to correct, submit your FAFSA again. Corrections usually take 3-5 business days to process.

17. My FAFSA was rejected! What should I do?

You FAFSA might be rejected for several reasons. The most common reasons are that it is missing a signature or the tax information is entered incorrectly. You can fix your FAFSA at www.fafsa.ed.gov. After you have adjusted all of the information you need to correct, submit your FAFSA again. Corrections usually take 3-5 business days to process.

18. Once I submit my FAFSA, am I done?

No. After you submit your FAFSA, you may be required to provide IRS Tax Return Transcripts and W-2s or other information to student financial services. If you do not provide these documents, you may not receive federal student aid.

19. What other documents will PUC need to verify my FAFSA?

If your FAFSA needs to be verified, Student Finance will notify you of the documents we need. Most likely we would need a copy of your and your parents IRS Tax Return Transcript and W-2s. You can request your IRS Tax Return Transcript by calling (800) 908-9946 or by visiting https://sa2.www4.irs.gov/irfof-tra/start.do. If you would like to double check what documents are required, you can call or e-mail student financial services.

20. Is there anything else I need to do?

If you haven't applied for financial aid through PUC yet, you should do that. PUC Financial Aid Application