Following is a thorough explanation of the federal student aid (FSA) process. It discusses student expectations as well as provides helpful hints for navigating the application. Students interested in applying for financial aid are strongly encouraged to read this information as it addresses frequently asked questions.
- Create Your FSA ID
- Complete the FAFSA
- Review Your Student Aid Report (SAR)
- Make Corrections to the FAFSA
- Submit File to Office of Financial Aid
- Track Progress
- Receive Financial Aid
Step 1 – Create Your FSA ID
Students and parents completing the FAFSA for the first time must create Federal Student Aid (FSA) IDs. This FSA ID credential must be established before starting the FAFSA. Please note students:
Must create a separate ID from their parents using their personal email address and information.
Those who completed the FAFSA in prior years (before 2015) and previously signed the application using a four-digit PIN number must also create an FSA ID.
View the Create Your FSA ID on the Before Your Start webpage for a detailed explanation of this requirement.
Step 2 – Complete the FAFSA
Students should visit fafsa.ed.gov and select "Start a New FAFSA" if this is a student's first time completing the application. Returning FAFSA applicants have the option to select "Start a New FAFSA" or "Login." After logging in, students must select the "2017-2018 FAFSA" option for the upcoming academic year. This application asks students for personal and financial information, of which is based on their 2015 tax and income.
Determine Your Dependency Status before you begin the FAFSA. This will let you know whether or not you must report your parents' information.
Determine Which Parent to Report on FAFSA, if divorced. Consult the available guidelines to learn which parent you should use on the application.
Independent students must report their personal and financial information, and if married, their spouse's.
The federal government strongly encourages students and parents to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) when completing the FAFSA. Doing so will expedite the processing of financial aid and can minimize the chance of being selected for verification.
Reference the left-hand side of the FAFSA as you are completing the form. This
side of the page will indicate if you are filling out information for the student or the parent/spouse.
If unsure how to answer the question, hover the mouse/cursor over the answer field. A helpful hint and explanation of the question will appear on the right side of the screen.
The U.S. Department of Education will receive the student's application first within a few days of filing. After it's processed, the institutions whose federal school codes are listed on the student's FAFSA will then receive it.
Step 3 – Review Your SAR
After submitting the FAFSA, students will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) from the U.S. Department of Education summarizing all the information provided on their application. This report projects a student's estimated Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is used to determine a student's eligibility for federal student aid.
Important Aspects of the SAR
It's sent to students within 3-10 days of submitting the Online FAFSA and 14-21 days of submitting the Paper FAFSA. View How and When Will I Get My SAR for a detailed overview based on your filing status.
Notifies students if they made mistakes or there's discrepant information on their FAFSA requiring correction. Applicants should review the SAR for accuracy.
Provides initial eligibility for aid programs such as grants and/or loans.
States whether or not students are selected for verification.
If students do not receive the SAR, or have questions regarding this report, they should contact the U.S. Department of Education at 1-800-4FED-AID or https://studentaidhelp.ed.gov/app/ask.
Step 4 – Making Corrections to FAFSA
It's vital to use accurate personal and financial information when first completing the FAFSA. By signing the application, students and parents are certifying the information is correct. However, if mistakes are made, it's imperative to update the application in a timely manner.
Acceptable corrections to the FAFSA include changes to dependency status, personal contact information and adding/deleting federal school codes. If students made mistakes regarding their legal name, Social Security number or marital status, they must visit the Office of Financial Aid and consult with an administrator before altering their FAFSA.
How to Make Corrections
Click on the "Login" button and provide the information requested to get into
On the "My FAFSA" page, select "Make FAFSA Corrections."
Enter your FSA ID (username and password).
Change your information.
Electronically sign the FAFSA using your FSA ID.
Submit your new information by selecting "Submit FAFSA."
Step 5 – Submit File to Office of Financial Aid
RCGC DOES NOT RECEIVE THE FAFSA APPLICATION RIGHT AWAY. The Office of Financial Aid typically receives a student's FAFSA two weeks after he/she submits it to the U.S. Department of Education. This timeframe also applies to corrections.
The college will then begin communicating with students through the email listed on the FAFSA as well as their RCGC email and Portal accounts for additional required documentation. All students must submit a copy of the 2017-2018 Disclosure and Release Form to the Office of Financial Aid to create their personal file once the school has notified the student that it has received the FAFSA application via email.
Students who are selected for verification will be required to submit additional forms, financial documents and tax information to Financial Aid. To learn more about this process, view the Verification webpage.
File Review Process
Files take up to 30 days for review by an administrator.
Files will not be reviewed the same day a student submits paperwork.
Students may need to provide additional documents after the initial file review to clarify discrepancies or make general corrections.
Additional paperwork will be requested via the student Portal and RCGC email account.
Step 6 – Track Progress
It's essential students monitor their RCGC email and Portal accounts for up-to-date information on financial aid requirements and eligibility. Students must get into the habit of checking both platforms throughout the semester to guarantee their financial aid is in order.
Additional documentation that must be submitted to the RCGC Office of Financial Aid will be listed on the Portal with the following status updates:
R – Required; complete/submit this paperwork as soon as possible as part of your file.
N – Pending review; the student file is being assessed by an administrator.
I – Incomplete; one or more of the documents initially submitted are incomplete and require further action.
S – Satisfied; the student file is reviewed and approved.
All documents are reviewed within 30 days; however, because many are processed much sooner, students should check the status of their documents often. If additional information is needed after the initial file review, the request for documents will be listed on the "Requirements" page.
Note: The Office of Financial Aid does not make tentative awards. No federal or state financial aid (including grants and loans) will be awarded until all of the required documents have been verified.
Step 7 – Receive Financial Aid
The Office of Financial Aid will package students after their files have been reviewed and their eligibility has been established. Financial aid recipients with grants, loans and/or scholarships can view their awards on the Rowan College Portal under "Financial Aid Awards."
Awards are usually based on 12 credits and will be adjusted depending on a student's enrollment for that semester. Students will receive notification via their RCGC email account if their aid has been adjusted for any reason. Typically, it will explain whether or not his/her aid is based on the assumed 12 credits or the actual amount of credits in which a student registers. Review the Receive Your Aid webpage for an overview of how enrollment impacts financial aid awards.
How it Works
Financial aid is awarded to the student's account and applied immediately to tuition and fees.
Book vouchers are issued by the Business Office; vouchers are available one week before the semester begins and during the first four weeks of classes.
Refunds for additional funds are issued by the Business Office beginning the sixth week of the semester.
For more information on book vouchers or refunds, contact the Business Office at 856-468-5000, ext. 2226 or firstname.lastname@example.org.