Applying for Financial Aid and Verification FAQ

Q:What is financial aid?
A:

Financial aid is money used to pay for educational related expenses such as tuition, fees, books, supplies, etc. These funds may come from federal, state, and institutional sources.

Q:How do I apply for financial aid?
A:

To determine if you qualify for financial aid, you should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is the U.S. Department of Education’s need analysis form used to determine what your family can contribute to your college education and what financial aid programs that may be able to assist with the payment of the cost of attendance—tuition, fees, books and supplies, transportation, room, board, and personal expenses at your chosen college or university.

Q:When is the deadline to apply?
A:

The Financial Aid Office has application deadlines for each semester.  Although we will accept applications for financial aid at any time during the academic year, deadlines are set to ensure that financial aid is in place by the fee payment deadline and for the purchase of books and supplies in our bookstore. WGTC’s priority deadlines can be found here.

Q:What are the eligibility requirements for financial aid?
A:

In general, to qualify for financial aid, you must: be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen; be registered with selective service, if you are a male; not owe a refund on a federal grant or be in default on a federal loan; be enrolled in an eligible program as a regular student seeking a degree or certificate; maintain satisfactory academic progress towards the completion of your program of study; and not have a conviction for the possession or sale of illegal drugs for an offense that occurred while you were receiving federal student aid.

Q:Do I need to be accepted for admissions to apply?
A:

No, you can apply prior to being accepted for admissions; however, our office cannot award you financial aid funding until you are accepted.

Q:Do you have to complete the FAFSA every year?
A:

Yes, you must complete a FAFSA for each year of enrollment. Our academic year starts each Fall Semester and ends with the Summer Semester. The FAFSA is available beginning October 1st for the upcoming academic year.  It can be completed online, the easiest and preferred method of submission, at: https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa

Q:What information do I need to complete the FAFSA?
A:

You will need the following information to complete the FAFSA:

  • Your Federal Income Tax Return for the applicable tax year
  • Your W2s documenting your income earned from work during the applicable tax year
  • Your parents’, if a dependent student, or spouse’s, if married, Federal Income Tax Return, for the applicable tax year
  • Social Security Card or Alien Registration Card
  • Bank statements and record of investments, if applicable
  • An FSA ID
Q:How do I know which tax return I need to use?
A:

The Federal Income Tax Return and W2s required will depend on when you are enrolling. Below is a chart that specifies which tax returns are needed for the next three (3) academic years.

School YearSubmit this FAFSAWhenUse These Taxes
July 1, 2019- June 30, 20202019-2020Available beginning October 1, 2018 and valid Fall Semester 2019 – Summer Semester 2020

 

2017
July 1, 2020- June 30, 20212020-2021Available beginning October 1, 2019 and valid Fall Semester 2020 – Summer Semester 2021

 

2018
July 1, 2021- June 30, 20222021-2022Available beginning October 1, 2020 and valid Fall Semester 2021 – Summer Semester 2022

 

2019
Q:What is an FSA ID and where do I get it?
A:

An FSA ID is a unique username and password that allow the student and a parent, if applicable, to access the FAFSA website and to electronically sign the FAFSA application.  The student and a parent, if applicable, can create an FSA ID at: https://fsaid.ed.gov/npas/index.htm.  You will be asked to provide identifying information: name, SSN, date of birth to confirm your identity with the Social Security Administration.

Q:When is the best time to complete the FAFSA?
A:

You should complete the FAFSA as soon as possible, but, at minimum, you need to complete your FAFSA and your financial aid file by the priority deadline.

Q:What is West Georgia Technical College’s School Code?
A:

Our school code is 010487.  This code applies to all of our campuses despite the address associated with the school code.

Q:How will I know that my FAFSA is processed?
A:

The FAFSA is usually processed within 2-3 days.  You can check the status of your application by returning to the FAFSA website.  Also, the Federal Student Aid will mail or send an e-mail to you advising that your FAFSA is processed and provide a link to view the Student Aid Report (SAR).  WGTC and any other schools you listed on your application will also receive your application information. WGTC will send you an e-mail or postcard advising you that we have received your FAFSA with instructions on the next steps in the financial aid process.  If you are applying for the current aid year, you can see if we have received your FAFSA application in your BANNER web account.

Q:What is the Student Aid Report (SAR)?
A:

The SAR is a summary of the information reported on your FAFSA and provides information on your eligibility for financial aid.  You are encouraged to review your SAR and make any necessary corrections.  Please be advised that any correction made must be based on the date you originally completed your FAFSA.  For example, if you got married after completing the FAFSA, you cannot update your FAFSA for this change.

Q:What is the Expected Family Contribution (EFC)?
A:

The Expected Family Contribution is calculated from the income and asset information reported on the FAFSA.  The EFC is used to determine how much financial aid you can receive at a particular school.  The EFC is compared to the school’s estimated cost of attendance for an academic year to determine your family’s financial need.

 

Q:My SAR says I’m selected for verification. What does this mean?
A:

Verification is the process of reviewing the accuracy of the information reported on the FAFSA.  The U.S. Department of Education’s Central Processing System selects the applications to be reviewed. Financial aid cannot be awarded to an applicant selected for verification until it is completed.  If you are selected for verification, you will receive an e-mail or postcard advising you of the required verification with a link to our verification portal, verifymyfafsa.  If accessing the portal for the first time, you will need to create a username and password, or, if previously selected for verification, use your existing username and password, for the documents necessary to complete verification.

Q:How long does verification take?
A:

Due to the volume of applications to be verified, it can take up to four (4) weeks.  We recommend that you monitor your e-mail for important notifications, submit documents as soon as possible, and take advantage of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool option when completing or making updates to your FAFSA.

Q:What is IRS Data Retrieval Tool?
A:

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) allows you to electronically transfer tax return information directly from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) into your FAFSA application.  Eligible students and parents, if applicable, can use IRS Data Retrieval.  Utilizing IRS DRT can expedite the verification process.

Q:How do I use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?
A:

For step-by-step instructions, go to: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/help/how-use-irs-drt

Q:What can I do if I can’t use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?
A:

If you are not eligible for the IRS Data Retrieval tool and are required to submit an IRS Tax Return Transcript, you can request it in one of the following ways:

  • Call the IRS automated system at 1-800-908-9946
  • Online or by mail at IRS.gov under “Get Transcript”
  • Victims of Identity theft, who cannot obtain a tax return transcript, should contact the IRS’s Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490

 

Q:Why are my documents being rejected?
A:

The U.S. Department of Education requires specific documents to satisfy verification.  When a document is rejected, you should see a message explaining why it is not acceptable.  Common reasons for document rejections are:

  • Incomplete information
  • Missing signatures on document(s)
  • Submitted document does not satisfy verification requirement, for example, the submission of a 1040 Federal Tax Return instead of the required IRS tax return transcript.
  • Potential conflicting information with reported information on the FAFSA— tax filing status is not consistent with marital status, reported household size does not align with response of questions on the FAFSA, etc.
Q:What happens if my financial aid is not processed by the fee payment deadline?
A:

If your financial aid is not processed by the fee payment deadline, you will need to pay for your classes to remain enrolled.

 

Q:If I pay for my classes, will I get my money back once my aid is processed?
A:

If you pay for your classes, you will be refunded the amount of financial aid you are deemed eligible. It may be more or less than your tuition and fee charges, or you may be deemed ineligible upon review.  You will receive a refund for any eligible awards.

Q:How do I apply for a Federal Direct Loan?
A:

You will need to complete the applicable FAFSA for the academic year for which you want the loan and submit all required documents to determine your eligibility for financial aid.  You will also need to complete a Federal Direct Loan Request.  The form can be found at: https://www.westgatech.edu/financial-aid/financial-aid-forms/

Q:How do I apply for Federal Work Study (FWS)?
A:

Participants in FWS must meet all eligibility requirements to receive Federal financial aid, complete a FAFSA, demonstrate financial need, be enrolled in a federal aid eligible program of study, and be determined eligible for a position by the Financial Aid Office.  Students can apply for available FWS jobs by following the instructions below:

 

1) Go to WGTC’s website:  https://www.westgatech.edu/

2)  Scroll down and click on the link to “WGTC Employment Opportunities

3) Click on the link to “Career Opportunities” and you will be redirected to Team Georgia Careers.  Type in the KEYWORD “FWS” to search

4) Click the desired position to view the job description and duties

5) Click “Apply Now” to create a login and complete an application for submission

 

Q:How do I apply for the HOPE Grant?
A:

You will need to complete a FAFSA or a GSFAPP on Georgia Futures.

Q:How do I apply for the HOPE Scholarship?
A:

You will need to complete a FAFSA or a GSFAPP on Georgia Futures.  You will also need to submit a HOPE Evaluation Request Form at https://form.jotform.com/81014505038143.