What is the new FAFSA priority filing deadline?
Due to the new federally-mandated changes to the application and verification processes, Northeastern University has extended the FAFSA priority filing deadline for returning students from March 1 to April 1. We hope that the additional month will give parents and students sufficient time to file their tax returns and allow them to use the IRS Data Retrieval Process.
What is the IRS Data Retrieval Process?
The IRS Data Retrieval Process allows financial aid applicants and their parents to retrieve, directly from the IRS, certain income and other information from their federal income tax returns when completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The IRS Data Retrieval Tool populates the infomation into the FAFSA on the Web application. Because the information comes directly from the IRS, using the IRS Data Retrieval Process is the preferred way to file your FAFSA for the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 academic years.
What if I already filed my FAFSA and did not use IRS Data Retrieval Process?
If you already filed your FAFSA for 2013-2014 academic year and did not use the IRS Data Retrieval Process, and subsequently have filed your federal tax returns, you can go back and submit a correction to FAFSA on the Web. You may use Data Retrieval Process at that point.
What is verification?
Approximately one-third of all financial aid applicants are selected by either the U.S. Department of Education or Northeastern’s Office of Student Financial Services to verify the accuracy of information provided on the FAFSA. You will be notified by email if you have been selected. If you are a new student, your offer of assistance is tentative pending the completion of the verification process. If you are a returning student, you will not receive a financial aid award letter until the verification process is complete.
What is different this year?
NEW for 2013-2014 academic year: Northeastern University may be required to verify high school completion, student identity and educational plans. More information will be provided as federal regulations and our procedures become final.
Similarly to last year, per The Department of Education, signed copies of federal tax returns are no longer acceptable forms of documentation for federal verification purposes. The options to provide tax filing data for verification are:
Option 1 - IRS Data Retrieval Process through FAFSA on the web (www.fafsa.ed.gov)*
Option 2 - IRS Federal Tax Return Transcript
* Certain tax filers may not be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Process and will be required to use Option 2.
Once again, we will not utilize the College Board IDOC service for the 2013-2014 academic year. All Verification materials are to be mailed, faxed or emailed to Northeastern University Student Financial Services.
What do I have to do?
If selected for verification, you will be required to submit the following documentation:
- Verification worksheet
- FAFSA tax filing information for student and parents (IRS Data Retrieval through FAFSA on the Web)
- IRS tax transcripts
- W-2s and/or 1099s for all reported earned income
- Signed non-tax filer statement form (if applicable)
- Other documentation as requested
Verification of tax filing data can be completed two ways:
Option 1: Use the IRS Data Retrieval when completing FAFSA or submitting a correction online
Instructions to use the IRS Data Retrieval are provided while completing the FAFSA or filing a correction. Certain data elements such as AGI and taxes paid will be entered for you on the FAFSA.
Student Financial Services strongly encourages students and parents to use this option when initially completing the FAFSA or when making a correction after the required tax returns have been filed.
In order to use the IRS Data Retrieval process, you must have:
- Filed a federal tax return at least 2 weeks (if filing electronically) and 6-8 weeks (if filing a paper return) before using the IRS Data Retrieval Process to allow time for the IRS to process the return
- You must have a valid social security number
- You must have a Federal Aid Personal Identification Number (PIN)
You will not be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval process if:
- Your marital status changes after December 31 of the same tax year.
- You filed married filing separately.
- You filed an amended return.
- You filed a foreign tax return.
Option 2: Submit an official tax transcript
An official tax transcript will be required for tax filers who are not able to use the IRS Data Retrieval process or make changes to FAFSA data after using this process.
Verification forms, including required worksheets, are available here for students who have been chosen for verification.
All Verification documents should be sent to Northeastern University. We are not utilizing the College Board IDOC service for 2013-2014.
Please submit all Verification materials to the following address, fax or email:
ATTN: Student Financial Services, 354 RI
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
Fax (617) 373-8735
Please be sure to respond to requests for follow-up documentation in a timely manner to avoid delays in applying your financial aid as a credit to your student account. Upon receipt of the required materials, we will finalize the review of your application for financial aid. If documentation is not received by the established deadline, your offer of assistance could be canceled. All verification documents should be submitted no later than 2 weeks prior to the end of the term. Should the verified financial information differ from the original information provided on the FAFSA and CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE forms, your aid may have to be changed and a revised award email or letter will be sent.
How do I request an IRS tax transcript?
Tax filers should NOT request to have their IRS Tax Transcript mailed directly to Northeastern University as it may not contain the necessary identifying student information. 2012 tax return transcript can be requested, free of charge, in one of the following three ways:
- Go to the IRS website at www.irs.gov
- In the Online Services section, click 'Order a Tax Return or Account Transcript'
- Click 'Order a Transcript'
- Enter the tax filer's Social Security Number, date of birth, street address, and zip or postal code. Use the address currently on file with the IRS. Generally, this will be the address listed on the latest tax return filed. However, if an address change has been completed through the U.S. Postal Service, the IRS may have the updated address on file.
- Click 'Continue'
- In the Type of Transcript field, select 'Return Transcript' and in the Tax Year field, select '2012'
- If successfully validated, tax filers can expect to receive a paper IRS Tax Return Transcript at the address included in their online request, within 5 to 10 days from the time the request was successfully transmitted to the IRS.
- IRS Tax Return Transcripts requested online cannot be sent directly to a third party by the IRS.
- Call the IRS at 1-800-908-9946
- Tax filers must follow prompts to enter their Social Security Number and the numbers in their street address. Generally, this will be the address listed on the latest tax return filed. However, if an address change has been completed through the U.S. Postal Service, the IRS may have the updated address on file.
- Select 'Option 2' to request an IRS Tax Return Transcript and then enter '2012'
- If successfully validated, tax filers can expect to receive a paper IRS Tax Return Transcript at the address used in their telephone request, within 5 to 10 days from the time the IRS receives the request.
- IRS Tax Return Transcripts requested by telephone cannot be sent directly to a third party by the IRS.
- IRS Form 4506T-EZ should be used instead of IRS Form 4506-T because it is sufficient to request an IRS Tax Return Transcript.
- Download the form at www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f4506tez.pdf
- Complete lines 1 through 4, following the instructions on page 2 of the form. Note that line 3 should be the most current address filed with the IRS. It is the address where the IRS Tax Return Transcript will be sent. If the address has recently changed, include the address listed on the latest tax return filed on line 4. However, if an address change has been completed through the U.S. Postal Service, the IRS may have the updated address on file.
- Line 5 provides tax filers with the option to have their IRS Tax Return Transcript mailed directly to a third party by the IRS.
Institutions are responsible for notifying aid applicants whether to list the institution as the third party to receive the transcript or not. Some institutions may have difficulty matching a parent's incoming IRS Tax Return Transcript to the aid applicant, as the two names may be different.
- On line 6, enter '2012' to receive IRS tax information for the 2012 tax year that is required for the 2013-2014 FAFSA.
- The tax filers (or spouse if requesting information from a joint tax return) must sign and date the form and enter their telephone number. Only one signature is required to request a transcript for a joint return.
- Mail or fax the completed IRS Form 4506T-EZ to the appropriate address or fax number provided on page 2 of the form.
- Tax filers can expect to receive their transcript within 5 to 10 days from the time the IRS receives and processes their signed request. Note: Processing form 4506T-EZ means verifying and validating the information provided on the form. If any information does not match the IRS records, the IRS will notify the tax filer that it was not able to provide the transcript.
Since final regulations have not yet been issued by the U.S. Department of Education for the verification process, please keep checking this web site for further updates.