The Early FAFSA at Northeastern Illinois University Starts October 1st
What students and families need to know
Applying for financial aid is one of the most misunderstood, yet important, parts of the college admission process. With changes coming to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), it's doubly important to understand the steps you must take to secure funds for college. Starting this fall:
- Students will be able to apply for financial aid beginning Oct. 1, a full three months earlier than previously allowed and
- Applicants will use prior-prior year (PPY) tax information when reporting personal and family income. Currently, the FAFSA uses the previous year's tax data
Completing the FAFSA along with applications for institutional and private scholarships is essential for securing the least amount of loan debt for college. In addition to federal grants and loans, the FAFSA is used to determine eligibility for the Illinois Monetary Award Program or MAP grant.
Why should i do the FAFSA in October?
Because the FAFSA will be completed earlier, you will know your Illinois MAP Grant eligibility before any suspense date and qualify for scholarships along with other campus based assistance.
"Because the FAFSA will ask for older income tax information, you will already have done your taxes by the time you fill out your FAFSA, and you will not need to estimate your tax information and then go back into the FAFSA later to update it."
"Because you will already have done your taxes by the time you fill out your FAFSA, you may be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) to automatically import your tax information into your FAFSA. (Learn about the IRS DRT at StudentAid.gov/irsdrt)." The hope is to reduce the number of students selected for the verification process.
How to apply for aid
When applying for financial aid, it is important to understand and follow these steps in order to maximize your funding benefits. View NEIU’s Cost of Attendance to determine tuition, fees and other expenses associated with attending college.
Federal Student Aid Eligibility Requirements
You are …
- Enrolled in a degree-seeking program (student-at-large statuses are non-degree)
- A United States Citizen or Permanent Resident (eligible non-citizen)
- Maintaining minimum Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress
- Not in default on any student loan nor owe a repayment on any grant
Step 1: FAFSA
Your path to financial aid begins with filling out the Free Application for Student Financial Aid (FAFSA). It takes about 30 minutes to complete online. Upon submission of the application, eligibility will be determined for Federal and State assistance (grants, loans and work study funds).
You will need:
- your social security number or alien registration number
- FSA ID (create a username and password here)
- your most up-to-date financial documents
- last year's tax return
- last year's W2 forms
- records of non-taxed income (e.g., welfare and veterans benefits)
- asset information (e.g., bank statements, brokerage statements, mortgage information)
You will also need the school code for Northeastern 001693. When you fill in the form, it's important not to leave any part blank. If you encounter a problem, there is a hotline for help: 1-800-4FEDAID.
A few days after submitting the FAFSA form, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR). Northeastern will also receive a copy of your SAR. This report takes the Cost of Attendance at Northeastern and subtracts the Expected Family Contribution or EFC based on information from your FAFSA. The result is a calculation of your Financial Need. Based on this calculation, Northeastern will send you a financial aid package, including any Federal and State eligibility.
After you receive your Student Aid Report, it's up to you to actually apply for the scholarships or loans that you are eligible for. Some of these applications are competitive. Some of the applications involve writing a brief essay that explains why that scholarship is important to you.
- Misunderstanding or misinterpretations of the instructions could delay the process.
- Keep copies of Student Aid Report (SAR) and supporting documents.
- File FAFSA prior to February 15 in order to meet NEIU's priority filing deadline.
- SARs are reviewed in order of date received and aid is awarded based on the availability of funds.
New Students (Freshmen and Transfer Students)
- SARs received after April 30 may not be processed in time to meet Fall semester payment dates; late applicants should be prepared to make the initial payment.
- FAFSA can be submitted, even if you have not been admitted to NEIU.
- Final award offers will be delayed until admittance to NEIU is confirmed.
- An online Loan Entrance Counseling session must be completed by all first time Direct Loan borrowers. This session expires after five years.
- Be sure the NEIU Enrollment Services Office has your Social Security Number (SSN). To be eligible for Federal and State assistance, the SSN on the FAFSA must match the SSN with NEIU.