Executive Director of Communications
PRESS RELEASE: University students reminded of the importance of 'FAFSA' for financial aid /// Form determines any federal aid & is required for some state awards
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—JUNE 21, 2012
UNIVERSITY STUDENTS REMINDED OF THE IMPORTANCE OF ‘FAFSA’
FOR FINANCIAL AID
Form determines any federal aid & is required for some state awards
TIMELY INFO: Deadlines occurring June 30 and through 2012
ORLANDO—The Board of Governors of the State University System reminds students who plan to receive most any form of financial aid for the 2012-13 academic year – either federal or state, or both – that they must fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online application.
A student’s FAFSA is critical because it is required to apply for any federal student aid, such as Pell grants, federal loans and work-study programs. In addition, the FAFSA now is utilized across the institutions as a common tool when applying for most state-level and university-specific aid (mostly need-based), in addition to many scholarship applications (mostly academic- and merit-based).
Some of the emerging and increasing circumstances requiring a FAFSA that can occur outside of a traditional federal aid determination include:
- Eligibility for a student loan by another public source, or a bank or credit union;
- Meeting documented “need” as part of some merit-based scholarships; and
- Work-study opportunities that may mandate a FAFSA as part of the selection process.
Board of Governors Chair Dean Colson has said that student financial aid is one of his focus areas during his tenure (January 2012-December 2013).
“The importance of completing this form cannot be overstated. What began as the common paperwork for determining federal grants or loan eligibility is today the information that state and local groups ask for when assessing local scholarships and various academic awards,” Colson said. “With so many federal, state and local entities utilizing the same methodology, I urge every student and family to avail themselves of this opportunity to maximize their potential financial assistance.”
The State University System has more than 329,000 enrolled students as of the 2011-12 academic year.
Students must have what is referred to as an “error-free” FAFSA. The federal government verifies income and other items, and may have follow-up questions. The student must have an “error-free” FAFSA prior to receiving any federal aid, so early completion of the FAFSA can be beneficial as well.
Financial aid officers recommend filling out the FAFSA as soon as possible in the calendar year for next academic year. That helps to be considered for the maximum amount of federal aid for which a student may qualify. The Florida Board of Governors is not directly involved in administering any state financial aid program, so students should not send any information to its Tallahassee office.
If the student is separately anticipating scholarship funds, it is recommended by financial aid officers that students verify whether the FAFSA is needed to receive those funds. If so, they must make sure to complete an “error-free” FAFSA before the time of their scholarship disbursement to avoid any surprises.
“The form, once completed and processed with federal confirmation called ‘error-free,’ will provide valuable information to university financial aid officers about student eligibility for many different types of aid,” said Board spokeswoman Kelly Layman. “It is to the student’s benefit to complete a FAFSA as soon as possible, since some aid is generally on a ‘first come, first served’ basis, especially with limited federal dollars available for disbursement.”
The Florida Board of Governors urges all students to make the time to see a financial aid adviser or counselor on their campus. Financial aid officers are busier than ever, but they are the experts in assisting students through this process, Layman said.
“The members of the Florida Board of Governors want to ensure that there is a heightened level of awareness about the growing dependency on the FAFSA – both from the different groups awarding funds and by the students themselves,” she said.
For more details, see www.FAFSA.ed.gov and your local state university financial aid office. Some of the many documents needed in order to fill out a FAFSA include:
- The student's Social Security card.
- A driver license, if applicable.
- The previous tax year’s W-2 forms and other records of money earned.
- The student’s (and spouse, if married) previous year's Federal Income Tax Return.
- Any foreign tax return, or tax return for certain U.S. territories, such as Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands and others as specified on the site.
- The student’s parents’ most recent Federal Income Tax Return (if you are claimed as a dependent).
- The student’s current bank statements.
- Any of the student’s current business and investment or mortgage information, business and farm records, stocks, bonds and similar records.
- The student’s alien registration or permanent resident card (if not a U.S. citizen).
Facts about the State University System of Florida and the Florida Board of Governors
The State University System of Florida is governed by a 17-member Board of Governors, a constitutional body and led by appointed public servants. The System has 12 universities and a total enrollment of nearly 330,000 students, making it the second-largest public university system in the nation in terms of enrollment (some states have more than one university system). The Florida Constitution (Article IX, Section 7) was amended by the state's voters in 2002 to establish a statewide system of governance for all Florida public universities. As a result, the Florida Board of Governors was created in 2003 to oversee the State University System of Florida. Responsibilities include defining the distinctive mission of each institution and ensuring the well-planned coordination and operation of the System. The Board’s 17 members include 14 appointed by the Governor, with three serving by virtue of their designations (a faculty member, a Florida Student Association student representative, and the Florida Commissioner of Education). The Board of Governors appoints a Chancellor who serves as the chief executive and administrative officer of the State University System. For more, including the Board’s Annual Accountability Report that reflects important measurements for the System, see www.flbog.edu. The Board of Governors also released its 2025 Strategic Plan for the System in November 2011, also available from the home page of the web site.
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