FAQ - Application Process

 

 

Do I have to apply for financial aid every year?

Yes. In order to be considered for aid programs administered by the Office of Student Financial Aid, you must file the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) each year. For complete application instructions, see our Step-By-Step Process page.

Should I still file the FAFSA if I think my family's income is too high to be eligible for financial aid?

There is no automatic income level cutoff for financial aid eligibility. The only sure way to determine your eligibility for need-based financial aid is to file the FAFSA. A number of factors are considered in determining eligibility. There are non-need based loans available for those families in higher income brackets whose FAFSA information indicates they have no financial need. We encourage all interested students to apply for financial aid. The likelihood of being eligible for some form of financial aid may be better than you think.

When should I file the FAFSA for the upcoming academic year?

You can file the FAFSA beginning January 1 prior to the academic year for which you are applying for financial aid. We encourage you to file as soon as possible after January 1. The FAFSA can be filed using estimated income information if actual information is not available. For complete details on applying for financial aid, see our Step-By-Step Process web page.

What if I (or my parents) have not yet filed our taxes when I want to complete the FAFSA?

You can file the FAFSA using estimated income amounts. The University of Iowa Office of Student Financial Aid will update those estimates to actual figures after you submit a photocopy of the federal tax return(s) to them. Your application for financial aid will not be reviewed by the Office of Student Financial Aid until the actual federal tax returns and the Iowa Verification Form (IVF) are submitted to the University of Iowa Office of Student Financial Aid. See our Information on IVF and Federal Tax Returns web page.

My family and I have unusual circumstances. How can I reflect that on my FAFSA?

You must complete the FAFSA accurately, giving the actual numbers requested. You will have the opportunity to provide information about your special circumstances to the University of Iowa Office of Student Financial Aid when you complete the Iowa Verification Form (IVF).

I reported on the FAFSA that I had $2,500 in savings. I have since spent that money. Can I correct that figure?

Assets must be reported as of the day you signed the FAFSA; therefore, these figures cannot be updated.

How will I know if my FAFSA has been processed by the federal processor?

You can check on the status of your FAFSA using the U.S. Department of Education FAFSA web site at www.fafsa.gov. You can also check your FAFSA status by calling 1-800-433-3243.

What is the definition of a self-supporting student for the 2014-2015 academic year?

The federal government has established criteria for classifying financial aid recipients as dependent or self-supporting. The University of Iowa Office of Student Financial Aid does not determine your status; nor is your status determined by whether your parents claim you as a dependent on their federal income tax return.

To be considered a self-supporting student for the 2014-2015 academic year, you must answer "yes" to one of the following questions:

  • Were you born before January 1, 1991?
  • As of today, are you married? (Answer "Yes" if you are separated, but not divorced.)
  • At the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year, will you be working on a master's or doctorate program (such as an MA, MBA, MD, JD, PhD, EdD, or graduate certificate, etc.)?
  • Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training?
  • Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces?
  • Do you now have or will have children who will receive more than half of their support from you between July 1, 2014, and June 30, 2015?
  • Do you have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and who receive more than half of their support from you, from the date you file the FAFSA through June 30, 2015?
  • At anytime since you turned age 13, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care or were you a dependent or ward of the court?
  • Are you or were you an emancipated minor as determined by a court in your state of legal residence?
  • Are you or were you in legal guardianship as determined by a court in your state of legal residence?
  • At any time on or after July 1, 2013, did your high school or school district homeless liaison determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless?
  • At any time on or after July 1, 2013, did the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless?
  • At any time on or after July 1, 2013, did the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?

If you answered "no" to all of the above questions, you are considered a dependent student for the 2014-2015 academic year and must provide parental information on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

My parents do not claim me on their federal income tax return; am I considered self-supporting for financial aid purposes?

Whether your parents claim you as a dependent on their federal tax return does not determine whether you file your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as a dependent or self-supporting student. To be considered a self-supporting student, you must be able to answer "yes" to one of the above questions.

Which parent fills out the FAFSA if my parents are divorced or separated?

The parent you lived with more during the past 12 months. If you did not live with either parent or if you lived with each parent an equal amount of time, provide information for the parent who provided the most financial support to you during the last 12 months or during the most recent calendar year that you actually received support from a parent. If this parent is remarried as of the date you are filing the FAFSA, provide information on the FAFSA about that parent and the person whom that parent married (your stepparent).