Financial Aid

Applying for Financial Aid

Applying for Financial Aid

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step in the financial aid process. The FAFSA is used to apply for federal student aid such as grants, loans, work-study, non-federal, and scholarship aid. Each student must complete the FAFSA and sign the application electronically with her personal identification number (PIN). A second PIN will be required for the custodial parent if the student is classified as a dependent student. Please follow the three steps below to complete the FAFSA application process.

1. Gather Income Tax Forms,Statements, etc.
2.Complete the FAFSA www.fafsa.gov#pin;sign with your pin
3. Submit Competed forms as requested Institutional Application, copy of W2 forms

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process after January 1 of each year in order to receive consideration for student aid for the upcoming academic year. Students are encouraged to complete the appropriate award year for FAFSA via the Web (FOTW) which is available on January 1 of each year. Electronic applications can be completed at www.fafsa.gov using the Bennett College Title IV school code of: 002911.

Students and parents who file online via the FOTW (FAFSA ON THE WEB) make fewer errors, and are usually able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Process. Electronic filers are able to complete the FAFSA process much faster than those who file a paper FAFSA. Please be careful and use the official U. S. Department of Education FAFSA site (fafsa.gov) because there are numerous commercial sites with very similar web addresses which charge fees to complete the application.

When completing a FAFSA, use your name exactly as it appears on your Social Security card. Please do not use nicknames, abbreviations, or middle names as first names. The U. S. Department of Education requires your name on the FAFSA to confirm your identity and match your name with the Social Security Administration. You will be required to submit additional information if there is a name conflict and/or social security number conflict.

Completing the FAFSA

You must complete the FAFSA in order to apply for student aid. At the end of the application, your confirmation page will appear and your Student Aid Report will be sent to you with a brief explanation of your application status. It is very important to provide the correct mailing and email addresses. You can start the FAFSA and SAVE the FAFSA, but you must remember that it isn’t complete until you submit the application and view your confirmation page.

Federal PIN for Students and Parents

All FAFSA applicants are required to obtain a Personal Identification Number (PIN) from the U. S. Department of Education. The Federal Student Aid PIN, along with the input of personal information serves as your electronic signature when entered on the FAFSA web site. The PIN also serves as an identifier to let you access your personal information in various U.S. Department of Education systems. Because your PIN serves as your electronic signature and provides you access to personal information, it should not be shared with anyone.

Students and parents of dependent students can create their own PINs, or request that Federal Student Aid generate a PIN number for them that is displayed on the screen in real-time, or request that the PIN be e-mailed in real-time. Applicants may also request to have the PIN number sent through postal mail. You can go to www.pin.ed.gov to request a PIN. Once you receive the PIN, you must use it to sign and submit the FAFSA. Students and parents who do not use the PIN number will have a rejected application with the financial aid office and may experience an enormous delay with the financial aid process.

Completion of the FAFSA Process

The FAFSA application process is completed when the Office of Financial Aid (OFA) has (1) received from the U.S. Department of Education's Central Processing System (CPS) the valid Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) from the student's FAFSA, (2) the student/family have completed Verification of FAFSA Information (if selected), and (3) furnished us with any other required documentation (citizenship, resolution of conflicting information, etc.).

IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) Process

When completing the FAFSA, students and parents of dependent students who have filed federal income tax returns are able to retrieve, directly from the IRS, certain income information they reported on their tax returns. Utilizing the IRS Data Retrieval Process can significantly reduce the time it takes to complete the FAFSA process.

According to the U. S. Department of Education, approximately 84 percent of FAFSA applicants qualify to use the IRS Data Retrieval. The Department of Education strongly encourages students and the parents of dependent students to utilize the IRS Data Retrieval Process at the time they initially compete the FAFSA. When applicants have not filed their federal tax returns at the time they initially complete the FAFSA, they should later use the FAFSA corrections process to access their IRS information using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool and correct their income tax information.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, applicants who electronically file their IRS income tax returns can expect their tax return information to be available for retrieval and transfer to the FAFSA within two to three weeks of filing the tax return. Information for paper tax return filers will generally be available within eight weeks of filing the tax return.

FAFSA Applicants Who Are Not Eligible to Use the IRS Data Retrieval Process

The following applicants are not eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Process and instead must use the figures from their completed federal income tax return to enter the requested income information on the FAFSA:

  • Married parents of a dependent student filed separate federal income tax returns.
  • Student or Parent of a dependent student had a change in marital status after the end of the applicable tax year reported on the FAFSA.
  • Student, student's spouse, or parent of dependent student filed an amended federal tax return.
  • Student and spouse filed separate federal tax returns.

Verification Process

The U.S. Department of Education created the Verification Process to confirm the accuracy of information provided on the FAFSA. Applicants are randomly selected and are notified upon completion of the FAFSA. By federal regulation, the post secondary institution (College/University) in which the student is enrolled is responsible for conducting the verification process on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education.

Bennett College students selected for Verification cannot be awarded any federal student aid until they complete the process and the Financial Aid Administrator has transmitted to and received any necessary FAFSA corrections from the U.S. Department of Education.

Students who are selected are required to complete the Verification Process. Even if the student aid report does not indicate you have been selected by the U.S. Department of Education, any conflicting information must be resolved before the awarding process begins.

When a student's FAFSA is selected for verification, we will notify the student and parent (when applicable) of the information needed to complete the process. If you are selected for verification, you will not receive an award offer until the verification process is completed.

Acceptable Verification Documents

A signed copy of a student or parent federal income tax return is no longer acceptable as verification documentation. To verify the federal income tax return information entered on the FAFSA, parents of dependent students or independent students must either:

  • Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (if eligible to do so) to verify their income tax information, or
  • Send us an IRS Tax Return Transcript of their tax year information (call 1-800-
  • Attach completed Verification forms & supporting documentation (ex: SNAP benefits, Child Support Paid, etc.)

Please Note that if you choose to provide an IRS transcript, the IRS will only provide one tax transcript per tax year. Please make copies for yourself and do not provide your only copy to Bennett College.

The IRS's granting of an extension to file a federal tax return does not eliminate the requirement to provide us the requested tax return documentation. The Verification Process cannot be completed and the student eligibility for federal financial aid cannot be determined until all requested acceptable documentation has been received by the Bennett College Office of Financial Aid.

We will send a MIL Missing Information Letter via mail or e-mail the student (and/or parent when applicable) if information or documentation is needed. Please respond promptly to prevent processing delays.

Annual Verification Deadline and Consequences of Missing Deadline

As previously noted, Bennett College students selected for verification cannot be awarded any federal student aid until they complete the process. There is also a deadline after which the verification process can no longer be completed for the selected award year.

Students and parents (when required) must submit to Bennett College all requested documents necessary to complete the verification process the earlier of either:

  • the 90th calendar day following the student's last date of attendance at Bennett College for the award year selected for verification; or
  • September 1 of the award year immediately following the award year selected for Verification.

Example: A student completes 2013/14 FAFSA prior to Fall semester 2013. Her FAFSA is selected for verification and Bennett mails and/or emails the student requesting verification documentation. Student attends Fall 2013 semester which ends on December 15, 2013. Student does not enroll for Spring 2014 semester and in order for Bennett College to determine the student eligibility, the Office of Financial Aid must receive all requested documentation no later than 90 calendar days following December 15, 2013 since that would be earlier than September 1, 2014.

Students and families who fail to provide all requested verification documentation prior to the earlier of the two dates above will not be awarded.

Financial Aid Awards

Beginning with the 2013/14 school year, the Financial Aid Office will be transitioning away from paper award letters and moving to an online process. Students will be contacted via the email address submitted on the FAFSA as to how to obtain access to the financial aid award.

Awards can be accessed on the Bennett College Net Partner System. All Bennett students who have a Belle Net user ID & password can log in and click on Net Partner to view their financial aid status and financial aid awards. More information will soon be available. Please check your email regularly to keep up with the process.