SFA Fall 2016 Newsletter

Welcome to the online version of the Fall 2016-17 issue of NEWS: Financial Aid for Gators — a publication produced once a semester to keep students informed of important developments in financial aid.

Featured in this issue:

Apply for 2017-18 Financial Aid on October 1
Sign Up for Direct Deposit
Florida Bright Futures Renewal Requirements
Student Loan Advice and Tips
Tips for Graduating Students
Stay Eligible for Financial Aid
Consumer Information
Check your Financial Aid Status
Mark your Calendar to Apply for Aid October 1
and more

 

Apply for 2017-18 Financial Aid on October 1

To apply for financial aid, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at www.fafsa.gov.  You can now file a 2017-18 FAFSA as early as October 1, 2016.  UF’s “On-Time” deadline to receive the results of your 2017-18 FAFSA from the federal processor is December 15, 2016. Apply well before December 15 to ensure that the federal processor has time to analyze and send the results of your FAFSA to our office.  Financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis so apply as early as possible to be considered for the most, and best aid.   In order for us to consider you for a financial aid package, you must be an admitted student and have met the “On-Time” deadline.

What can students do to prepare for 2017-18?
  1. Use Your FSA ID
    Create an FSA ID at https://fsaid.ed.gov. An FSA ID gives you access to Federal Student Aid’s online systems and can serve as your legal signature. You must have an FSA ID before you can file a FAFSA.
  2. Apply Online
    SFA recommends filing online using the FAFSA website. Filing an online FAFSA can save you weeks of processing time. The online application also has edit checks to catch errors. The online application is available at www.fafsa.gov.
  3. Apply Early
    Apply starting October 1, 2016. For your application to be considered “On-Time,” SFA must receive your FAFSA results, with a calculated Expected Family Contribution (or EFC), by December 15, 2016. Keep in mind that you are submitting your FAFSA to the federal government, not to the University of Florida. Submit your FAFSA weeks before the December 15 deadline so that there is enough time for your FAFSA data to reach our office before the deadline. Apply as early as possible to be considered for the most, and best aid.
  4. Use the IRS DRT
    The 2017-18 FAFSA will use 2015 income and tax information for students and parents. Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) when possible to automatically import your tax information into your FAFSA.
  5. Reapply Every Year
    Don’t make the mistake of assuming that financial aid magically renews itself—students must reapply each year by filling out the FAFSA.

Have questions or need help?
Get free assistance and answers at www.fafsa.ed.gov or 1-800-433-3243 or make an appointment with your financial aid adviser.
www.sfa.ufl.edu/contact-sfa

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Sign up for Direct Deposit

The University of Florida recommends that all students sign up for direct deposit. While students are not required to use direct deposit or any specific banking institution, they are encouraged to establish a bank account and use direct deposit. Failure to use direct deposit will result in delayed receipt of any excess funds after university charges have been paid.

To sign up, go online to https://my.ufl.edu/ and select “Access myUFL” to login. On the top toolbar, select “Main Menu.” Choose “My Campus Finances,” then “Direct Deposit–Student or PLUS.”

Direct Deposit is the quickest and safest way to receive your financial aid refunds.
Please direct any questions about direct deposit to the University Bursar (UB) at (352) 392-0737.

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Florida Bright Futures Renewal Requirements

  • All Bright Futures recipients are required to meet minimum credit hour and GPA requirements in order to renew their award each year. Students enrolled full time for both semesters are required to earn at least 24 semester hours in order to renew their award at the end of each academic year.  For students not enrolled full time for both semesters, the hours required to renew are prorated.
  • Students who do NOT earn the credit hours for which they were funded by the end of the evaluation period will be TERMINATED from the scholarship program.
  • Students who do NOT earn their program’s required GPA at the end of their first evaluation period will be permitted a one-time restoration opportunity.  Traditional students receiving funding during fall/spring will be permitted a one-time summer opportunity. Innovation Academy students receiving funding during spring/summer will be permitted a one-time fall opportunity.
Bright Futures  Renewal Predictor

Determining exactly how many hours you will need to renew your particular Bright Futures award can be confusing. SFA has created a Renewal Predictor to aid you in determining your individual renewal requirements.

For more information, students should contact the FDOE Office of Student Financial Assistance at 1-888-827-2004. www.floridastudentfinancialaid.org

Florida Bright Futures Repayment Policy
  • Students will be required to repay their award hours for any course dropped or withdrawn after the drop-add period.
  • Hours repaid for dropped or withdrawn courses are added back to the student’s total semester hours available, and are not included in the student’s total credit hours required to renew the award.
  • Repayment for the cost of dropped or withdrawn award hours is required to renew a Bright Futures award for the subsequent academic year.
  • Nonpayment of dropped or withdrawn Bright Futures award hours may also negatively affect renewal eligibility for other state programs.

renewalrequirements


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Graduating? Advice and Student Loans Tips

As you prepare for life after school, we want to provide you with next steps, tips, and advice regarding your student loans.

First, review your records and student account. You’ll need to figure out whether you have federal student loans, private student loans, or both. The advice below is for your federal student loans. To discuss repayment options for your private student loans, contact your lender.

If you will not be continuing your education: In most cases, you’ll have six months from the time you graduate or leave school before you have to begin making federal student loan payments. This is called your grace period. Use this time period to explore the different loan repayment options and prepare for repayment.

Here’s your repayment checklist:

□  Compare your monthly payment options with the Repayment Estimator at studentloans.gov

□  Decide whether you want to consolidate. Consolidation can simplify the repayment process if you have more than one loan or servicer. In some cases, it can also help you qualify for different loan repayment options.  Just be sure to weigh the pros and cons.

□  Choose or apply for an affordable repayment plan. If you take no action, you’ll be placed on the 10-year standard repayment plan. If you need a lower payment, apply for an income contingent loan repayment, such as Pay As You Earn, where your payments can be as low as $0 per month.

TIP: Ask your servicer how to sign up for automatic payments. You could receive a 0.25% interest rate deduction for enrolling!

□  Set up your payments. You will not pay the U.S. Department of Education directly. In most cases, you will make payments to your loan servicer.

TIP: Save your loan servicer’s phone number in your phone.

□  Know who to contact if you need help with your student loans. You never have to pay for student loan help! Your federal loan servicer can help for free.

If you are going to continue your education: Contact your loan servicer to request an in-school deferment. If you have unsubsidized loans, it’s even more important to consider making student loan payments while you’re in school to prevent interest from accumulating.

Beware of student loan scams: You never have to pay for help with your student loans. As you are researching repayment and forgiveness options, make sure you are getting information from trusted sources, like .gov websites or your servicer’s website. The government and your servicer will never charge application or maintenance fees, so if you are asked to pay, walk away.

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Tips for Graduating Students

Remember to submit the Statement of Expected Graduation Date form here.

Planning to be an undergrad in the fall and a graduate student in the spring?

If you are graduating this fall and continuing at UF in the spring as a graduate student, financing spring term requires financial aid changes to your status. This process is mainly automated at the University of Florida, but affected students should monitor their status to make sure the process goes smoothly.

Visit ONE.UF to check your aid status and your graduate admission status.
If you receive verification documentation requests respond promptly.  Requests for documentation may include student assets or tax return transcript requests as well as the Graduate Student Status form.

Once your student status has been updated, your file will be reviewed for graduate level loan eligibility and assessed for any additional aid eligibility.

As always, communication with you is through your official Gatorlink email address. Check your email regularly.

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Stay Eligible for Financial Aid

You need to make satisfactory academic progress in order to continue receiving federal student aid. In other words, you have to make good enough grades, and complete enough classes (credits, hours, etc.), to keep moving toward successfully completing your degree.
Students who fail to meet the following criteria will be ineligible for federal, state, and/or institutional scholarship and grant funds:

  • maintain the required cumulative grade point average,
  • successfully complete the required percentage of attempted coursework,
  • complete their program of study within the prescribed length of time.

Read about the quantitative and qualitative components you must meet to maintain your eligibility for financial aid at our website here.

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Consumer Information

The University of Florida is committed to providing important information to its students, faculty and staff. Consistent with this commitment and pursuant to the university’s notice and reporting obligations under various laws, UF consumer information can be found here.

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Check Your Financial Aid Status

Use ONE.UF “Aid Status” to:
  • Find out if your financial aid file is complete or if you have outstanding requirements that will prevent the disbursement of your financial aid.
  • Request student loans.
  • Print verification documents.
To check your aid status:
  1. Go to ONE.UF https://student.ufl.edu
  2. On the left menu, under “Financial Aid,”  choose “Aid Status” for the correct academic year.

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Mark Your Calendar to Apply for Financial Aid with the Earlier FAFSA

Complete a 2017-18 FAFSA starting on October 1, 2016. This new date will be a permanent change, enabling students to complete and submit their FAFSA earlier.

Starting with the 2017-18 FAFSA, students will report income and tax information from an earlier tax year. On the 2017-18 FAFSA, students and parents will report their 2015 income and tax information.

More information about FAFSA changes is available here.


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Additional Financial Aid Information and Links

Payment Permissions

The university is required to obtain permission from students to allow federal aid to pay charges other than tuition, fees, housing, and books. Login at https://my.ufl.edu, and under “Main Menu” choose “My Campus Finances,” then “View Student Permissions,” then “Access Permission Forms.”

View Your Tuition Statement

Login at https://my.ufl.edu, and under “Main Menu” choose “My Campus Finances,” then “View Tuition Statement.”

Scholarship Search

UF’s Scholarship Search Engine is a searchable database of both college-awarded and private scholarships.  www.sfa.ufl.edu/search

Update Your Address and Contact Info

The UF Directory is the sole source of contact information for students. Remember to update and verify your local and permanent addresses, phone numbers and email in the UF Directory. Accurate information will ensure that you receive all university correspondence. You must update this information each time you change your address, including when you move home for summer or move to a different apartment or residence hall on campus.

In order to protect the confidentiality of your student record, the university will not allow the post office to forward mail to an address other than the one on your directory file. Remember to change your address info whenever any information changes.

To update your contact info:

  1.  Log on to myUFL portal at  www.my.ufl.edu
  2. From the main menu, go to “My Account” and choose “Update my Directory Profile.”
  3. Follow the directions to verify and update all necessary information.

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The SFA Calendar is available here.

Fall SFA News

The Fall 2016-17 issue of NEWS: Financial Aid for Gators — is available in PDF format here.

NEWS Financial Aid for Gators is produced once a semester by the Information/Publication Services section of the Office for Student Financial Affairs, to inform students about financial aid programs and services that help UF students meet educational costs.

Director:     Rick Wilder
Editor:     Sharon Eyman

NEWS: Financial Aid for Gators is available in other formats for students with documented, print-related disabilities. Students who are speech- or hearing-impaired can contact the Florida Relay Service. Dial 711 or 1-800-955-8771(TTY) http://www.ftri.org/FloridaRelay

The University of Florida is committed to equal treatment of students without regard to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations, or veteran status.

Contact SFA
UF Federal School Code: 001535
Visit SFA on Social Media    Facebook    Twitter    Instagram     YouTube

 

Sign up for Direct Deposit

The University of Florida recommends that all students sign up for direct deposit. While students are not required to use direct deposit or any specific banking institution, they are encouraged to establish a bank account and use direct deposit. Failure to use direct deposit will result in delayed receipt of any excess funds after university charges have been paid. More information on direct deposit can be found here.

To sign up, go online to https://my.ufl.edu/ and select “Access myUFL” to login. On the top toolbar, select “Main Menu.” Choose “My Campus Finances,” then “Direct Deposit–Student or PLUS.”

Direct Deposit is the quickest and safest way to receive your financial aid refunds.

Please direct any questions about direct deposit to the University Bursar (UB) at (352) 392-0737.

 

 

 

Changes to FAFSA coming for 2017-18

To apply for financial aid at the University of Florida, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at www.fafsa.gov.

Mark your calendars to file a 2017-18 FAFSA starting on October 1, 2016. This earlier date will be a permanent change, enabling students to complete and submit their FAFSA earlier.

Starting with the 2017-18 FAFSA, students will report income and tax information from an earlier tax year. On the 2017-18 FAFSA, students and parents will report their 2015 income and tax information.

Beginning with the 2017–18 FAFSA, UF’s “On-Time” deadline to receive the results of the 2017-18 FAFSA from the federal processor is December 15, 2016.

Information on how to apply for financial aid at UF is available here.

A FAFSA Toolkit for UF college and departments, high school counselors and students is available here. It contains videos, links and other resources.

More information about FAFSA changes is available here and in the chart below.

2017-18-fafsa-process-changes

Although you must be accepted for enrollment at UF before you are considered for financial aid, you should apply for aid before being admitted. To apply for financial aid, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at www.fafsa.gov. You can file a 2017-18 FAFSA as early as October 1, 2016. UF’s “On-Time” deadline to receive the results of your 2017-18 FAFSA from the federal processor is December 15, 2016. Apply well before December 15 to ensure that the federal processor has time to analyze and send the results of your FAFSA to our office. Financial aid is awarded on a firstcome, firstserved basis so apply as early as possible to be considered for the most, and best aid. 

In order for UF to consider you for a financial aid package, you must be an admitted student and have met the “On-Time” deadline.

 

Summer Financial Aid

If you plan to enroll for classes during the Summer 2016 semester and would like to apply for available financial aid, follow these steps:

  1. Talk to your academic adviser. You will want to plan your schedule in advance and ensure you enroll in the correct classes.
  2. Go to the 2015-2016 Financial Aid Status Page at ONE.UF and complete the instructions found at the Summer Financial Aid Request link.

Your financial aid will be disbursed based upon your total enrollment for Summer A, B, and C classes. If you are paid financial aid based on your enrollment, and subsequently drop classes, you may be placed into repayment.

Please note that Bright Futures funding is disbursed for fall and spring terms. Funds are not available for summer awards, with the sole exception of Innovation Academy students.

Additional information on Summer Financial Aid can be found here.

How to Create An FSA ID

The FSA ID ― a username and password ― has replaced the Federal Student Aid PIN and must be used to log in to certain U.S. Department of Education websites. Your FSA ID confirms your identity when you access your financial aid information and electronically sign Federal Student Aid documents. If you do not already have an FSA ID, you can create one when logging in to fafsa.gov, the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS®) at www.nslds.ed.gov, StudentLoans.gov, StudentAid.gov, and Agreement to Serve (ATS) at www.teach-ats.ed.gov.

For step-by-step instructions on how to create an FSA ID, visit http://www.sfa.ufl.edu/pub/other/CreateAnFSAID.pdf

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Beware of potential scholarship and financial aid scams

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, unscrupulous companies may guarantee or promise scholarships, grants or fantastic financial aid packages. Visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website for more information on scholarships and financial aid scams.

Additional links:

Federal Student Aid’s website has information on how to spot potential fraud, avoid paying for free services, and prevent identity theft. This site also has information on how to report fraud and scams.

CollegeBoard.com’s website lists signs of common financial aid and scholarship scams in addition to information on how to report fraud and scams.

 

IRS System for Ordering Tax Return Transcripts

The new IRS system for ordering tax return transcripts is now available. It is called “Get Transcript” and allows users to get a record of past tax returns, also referred to as tax return transcripts. IRS tax return transcripts are used to validate income and tax filing status.

www.irs.gov/Individuals/Get-Transcript

“Get Transcript” allows users to request a tax return transcript to be mailed if the tax return for the chosen year has been processed.

Financial Aid Requirements for Verification

If you visit FASFA on the Web at www.fafsa.gov and complete the Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) process, your IRS tax information will be imported into your financial aid application. This eliminates the requirement to turn in a Tax Return Transcript and W2s. If you are unwilling or unable to use the DRT, you must request a Tax Return Transcript from the IRS and also turn in all W2 forms.

For students that have been selected for verification, please be aware that the IRS Online Get Transcript service is currently unavailable to print an online copy. You can still use this site to order a tax return transcript by mail.

Students can “Get Transcript by Mail” at http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Get-Transcript. To use “Get Transcript by Mail”, you need your Social Security number (SSN) or your Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN), date of birth, and address from your latest tax return.

Transcripts can also be ordered by phone at 1-800-908-9946.

Transcripts can be requested by mail with a paper request form – IRS Form 4560T-EZ http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f4506tez.pdf

Notes:

  • Only the first person listed on the federal tax returns can order a transcript.
  • It is free to order or view a tax return transcript.
  • Do not request a Tax Account Transcript or Record of Account because they cannot be used for financial aid verification purposes.
  • The U.S. Department of Education no longer accepts copies of a tax return for verification purposes. The only exception is if you filed amended tax returns.
  • If you filed an amended tax return, you will need to submit a signed copy of your original IRS Form 1040 or a Tax Return Transcript, AND a signed copy of your IRS Form 1040X.

 

UF designated as a military friendly school

The University of Florida has been designated a 2016 Military Friendly School by Victory Media, publisher of G.I. Jobs, STEM JobsSM and Military Spouse. The Military Friendly Schools designation is awarded to the top colleges, universities, community colleges and trade schools in the country that are doing the most to embrace military students, and to dedicate resources to ensure their success both in the classroom and after graduation. Now in its seventh year, the original, premier Military Friendly Schools designation provides service members and their families with transparent, data-driven ratings about post-military education and career opportunities. More information on this designation is available here.

2016_MFS_Logo_HR

Address to Mail a Scholarship Check

Private donor scholarship checks may be dropped off in person to S-107 Criser by the student (be sure to endorse if a joint check) or mailed to:

University of Florida
Office for Student Financial Affairs
Attn: Disbursements
P. O. Box 114025
Gainesville, FL 32611-4025

For FedEx or overnight delivery address,
omit the PO Box number and add our physical address of S-107 Criser.

Follow these instructions:

  • If the check is made out to the University of Florida: bring it to the UF Student Financial Affairs office in S-107 Criser Hall or send it to SFA at the address above.
  • If the check is made co-payable to you and the University of Florida: endorse the check and bring it to the UF Student Financial Affairs office in S-107 Criser Hall or send it to us at the address above.
  • If the check is made payable to you only but mailed directly to UF without endorsement: it will be processed through the Disbursement area in Student Financial Affairs (SFA). The check is then mailed, with instructions, to the student’s local address within 5 to 10 days after drop/add or receipt of the check.

NOTES:

A scholarship check made payable to the University of Florida (UF) is placed on deposit with the University Bursar’s (UB) accounting office. Any fees owed to UF will be deducted and excess funds made available to the student via direct deposit or a check mailed to their local address, within 5 to 10 days after drop/add or receipt of the check.

A joint check that has not been endorsed by the student will be disbursed all in one semester; it cannot be split between multiple semesters

It’s time to apply for 2016-17 Financial Aid

Apply Now for 2016-17 Financial Aid

To apply for financial aid, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at www.fafsa.gov. You can file a FAFSA as early as January 1 each year. UF’s “On-Time” deadline to receive the results of your FAFSA from the federal processor is March 15. Apply well before March 15 to ensure that the federal processor has time to analyze and send the results of your FAFSA to our office. Financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis so apply as early as possible to be considered for the most, and best aid.

In order for us to consider you for a financial aid package, you must be an admitted student and have met the “On-Time” deadline.

NOTE: The 2017-18 FAFSA will be available on October 1, 2016 and the “On-Time” deadline to receive the results of your 2017-18 FAFSA from the federal processor is December 15, 2016.