What tax information do I use when completing the FAFSA? The CSS Profile?
You will use 2015 income and tax information to complete both the FAFSA and the CSS Profile.
Do I use 2016 income information to complete the CSS Profile?
No, you use 2015 income and tax data to complete the CSS Profile. The Profile has also changed this year to accommodate using two year old income and tax data to determine financial aid eligibility.
What do I report for cash, savings or investments?
For both the FAFSA and the CSS Profile you report the value of your cash, savings or investments the day that you complete the application.
Who do I report in my household? Do I report household members from 2015 to match up with the income from 2015?
No, you want to report the members of your household when completing the application and those members who you anticipate will be in your household for the 2017-18 school year: July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018.
Will my financial aid be exactly the same in 2017-18 as it was in 2016-17 because both years are based on 2015 income information?
Not necessarily. There are many other factors that determine the amount of the family contribution besides income information. Financial aid eligibility takes into consideration the size of your household and the number of students supported by the household that are enrolled in college, along with the amount of cash, savings and investment at the time of the application. These factors may differ from last year when you applied for aid, so your family contribution may be different, even though the income is the same. In addition, the cost of attendance for the College has traditionally increased from year to year and student work study awards and student loan expectation increase from year to year, which will result in a different amount of aid from the different financial aid sources. Even though we will be using 2015 income information to determine financial aid awards for two years in a row, the financial aid award may not be exactly the same.
If I submitted my parents 2015 W-2 forms and Federal Income Tax Return for the 2016-17 financial aid application, do I need to send it in again?
No, students do not send in their 2015 tax forms if they have previously submitted them to our office or to IDOC.
Do I need to complete a new Nonfiling Statement to reapply for financial aid if I submitted it for 2016-17?
No, you do not need to submit another Nonfiling statement if one is already on file. However, there is a new regulation effective for 2017-18 that students or parents that do not file a federal tax return, and are selected for Verification, are required to provide documentation from the IRS that a tax return was not on file. Students and parents who need to demonstrate they did not file a tax return in 2015 may request a tax transcript from the IRS online here; if no tax records are found, the IRS will generate a letter verifying that a tax return was not filed, which must be submitted to the Financial Aid Office to complete the Verification process.
I filed an Amended 2015 Tax Return (1040X) after I applied for financial aid for 2016-17. Do I need to submit the amended return to Pitzer?
Yes. If you filed an amended tax return (1040X) and have not already turned it into the Financial Aid Office, you should turn it in as soon as possible. The data on the amended tax return may impact your financial aid award for both the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school year. If selected for Verification, you will also need to submit an IRS Tax Return Transcript.
What if my family’s 2015 income is not the same as my family’s current income? What if we cannot afford to pay for school in 2017-18 based on 2015 income?
We understand that for some families, income from 2015 may be different than income used to pay for school expenses during the academic year. We encourage students to let us know about their financial circumstances that may not be reported on the FAFSA, Dream Act Application or CSS Profile. If current income varies from 2015 income, we welcome students and their parents to share with us the change in income. Students and families that want to update their income with our office can complete the Parent Income Update Form or the Student Income Update Form. We also may ask for the family to submit 2016 Federal Income Tax Returns and W-2 forms to document the income differences, along with other supplemental information.
When can I use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool in the FAFSA?
The IRS Data Retrieval Tool is available on October 1. Families that filed their 2015 tax return in April 2016 will be able to import actual tax information into the FAFSA when they begin working on the FAFSA application.
Do I have to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool? What if I cannot access it?
We encourage all students and parents to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT). It can reduce the likelihood of being selected for Verification and may reduce the need to submit supplemental documents, like a student or parent tax transcript. However, not everyone is able to use the IRS DRT. You might not be eligible to use the IRS DRT if you or your parents are married, but filed separate tax returns, if you filed an amended tax return, or if a social security number was not submitted on the application.
Do I submit application materials to IDOC? We have in the past.
Current students who are already enrolled at Pitzer will not use IDOC this year because we already have most tax documents on file. We will resume using IDOC in future years when we have to collect tax documents. IDOC cannot pass along data to us if a student/parent does not upload a tax return. We do not want to require students and parents to resubmit a document we already have on file, so current students will not use IDOC for the 17-18 school year. We will resume using IDOC in future years.
I am a current Pitzer student, but have not applied for financial aid in the past. How do I apply?
Current Pitzer students, who are applying for financial aid for the first time will complete the FAFSA and the CSS Profile applications, the Scholarship Assignment Information Form and will submit copies of their and their parents 2015 Federal Income Tax Return and W-2 forms directly to the financial aid office as early as October 1, 2016, but no later than April 15, 2017. Returning students should view their list of missing documents on the “FinAid” tab of the student portal to view any supplemental documents they may need to submit as part of the application process. All documents must be submitted to the Financial Aid Office prior to the end of the spring semester to be considered for financial aid for the fall 2017 semester.