Third-Party Debt Relief Company Use of Phone Number Formerly Assigned to the Direct Loan Servicing Center
Third party “debt relief companies” are charging borrowers large up-front or monthly fees for Federal student aid services that are offered by the Department of Education and its student loan servicers for free.
Please be advised that the former DOE Direct Loan Servicing Center is no longer operational. DOE offered to purchase the Direct Loan Servicing Center’s toll-free number so that it could not be used by other entities, but that offer was rejected.
It appears that one such debt relief company has purchased, and may be using, the following toll-free phone number that was previously assigned to the Department’s former Direct Loan Servicing Center (ACS): 800-848-0979. If you call this number for assistance it will NOT direct you to a legitimate Federal loan servicer, but instead to a private debt relief company. Federal Loan borrowers can find the correct toll-free phone number for their loan servicer by going to the studentloans.gov website.
Institutions, students, and borrowers can file a complaint or report suspicious activity through the Federal Student Aid Feedback System for concerns related to third party debt relief companies. Issues can include information that a debt relief company is inappropriately using the Department of Education’s or your institution’s logo or other identifying information to give the impression that they were working with or for the government or your institution. We are posting this notice in an effort to ensure our students are not misled by third-party debt relief companies.
Federal Title IV Aid & U.S. Department of Education Updates
New Federal Loan Servicing System – Strengthening the student loan experience for borrowers.
Student Aid Bill of Rights (SABOR)
Changes Impacting the 2017–18 FAFSA®
What is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) and how is it changing?
The FAFSA® is the application that students must complete to apply for federal student aid, which can be used to attend an eligible college or career school. Federal student aid includes Federal Pell Grants, federal student loans, and work-study opportunities. In addition to determining eligibility for federal student aid, many states, private organizations, colleges, and career schools rely on information from the FAFSA to determine eligibility for non-federal sources of aid.
Two major changes to the FAFSA will take effect for the 2017–18 school year. (The 2017–18 school year runs from July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018.)
- The FAFSA will be available earlier (October 1 of the previous year instead of January 1 of the upcoming school year).
- The FAFSA will collect income information from an earlier tax year.
Summary of the Changes
You’ll find details below the table.
|When a Student Is Attending College (School Year)||When a Student Can Submit a FAFSA||Which Year’s Income Information Is Required|
|July 1, 2015–June 30, 2016||January 1, 2015–June 30, 2016||2014|
|July 1, 2016–June 30, 2017||January 1, 2016–June 30, 2017||2015|
|July 1, 2017–June 30, 2018||October 1, 2016–June 30, 2018||2015|
|July 1, 2018–June 30, 2019||October 1, 2017–June 30, 2019||2016|
The FAFSA will be available earlier.
Currently, students cannot complete a FAFSA for the upcoming school year until January 1. For example, for the 2016–17 school year, an applicant cannot complete a FAFSA until Jan. 1, 2016. Beginning with the 2017–18 school year, applicants will be able to complete a FAFSA as early as October 1 of the previous year. (See table.)
The FAFSA will require information from an earlier tax year.
The second major change also begins with the 2017–18 FAFSA cycle. Currently, in addition to other information, FAFSA applicants (and their parents, if applicable) must report the prior year’s income information. For example, for the 2016–17 school year, applicants must report income information for 2015—the tax year before the beginning of the school year. Beginning with the 2017–18 FAFSA, students will report income information from two years prior, which in this case is 2015 income information—two tax years before the beginning of the school year. (See table.)
How will an earlier FAFSA and the change to the income year benefit students?
Benefits include the following:
- Alignment. The financial aid application process will be more aligned with the college application process.
- Certainty. Students (and their parents, if applicable) will not need to estimate income information.
- Less pressure. There will be more time for students to explore and understand financial aid options and apply for aid before state and school deadlines.
Will colleges change their financial aid processing timelines due to the FAFSA being available earlier?
Whether a college changes its financial aid processing timelines when the FAFSA becomes available on October 1 is a decision that each college will make. Students should contact their schools to determine whether the schools will adjust their processing timelines once the FAFSA is available earlier.
Do students still have to complete the FAFSA every year?
Yes. Because eligibility for federal student aid does not carry over from one school year to the next, students will need to fill out the FAFSA for each school year in which they plan to be a student. Eligibility for financial aid can differ from year to year for various reasons, including a student’s or family’s financial situation and the number of family members enrolled in college.
Do families need to complete their taxes before they fill out the FAFSA?
No. If students (and their parents, if applicable) are required to file taxes, they do not have to complete their taxes before they fill out the FAFSA. Considering that many state and college FAFSA deadlines fall before the April 15 tax deadline, applicants have been allowed to provide estimated income information. Example: The 2016–17 FAFSA will ask for 2015 income information. If applicants estimate income, they will need to log back in to the FAFSA once their 2015 taxes are complete and correct any information that
needs to be corrected.
Beginning with the 2017–18 FAFSA, students will report income information from two years prior, which in this case is 2015 income information. Considering that the 2015 tax filing deadline is April 15, 2016, and the 2017–18 FAFSA will become available on Oct. 1, 2016, applicants are very likely to have completed their taxes before October 1, and the tax information would be available to be reported on the FAFSA.
How does information transfer from the IRS to the FAFSA?
The IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) allows applicants (and their parents, if applicable) to access the IRS tax return information needed to complete the FAFSA, and transfer the required information directly into the FAFSA from the IRS. The FAFSA includes a link to the IRS if an applicant is eligible to use the IRS DRT.
Can a student still be selected for verification if he or she is using 2015 income information on his or her 2017–18 FAFSA?
Yes. A student can be selected for verification by either the U.S. Department of Education or by the student’s school. Verification is a process by which a student is required to submit documentation that the data reported on the student’s FAFSA is accurate. The financial aid administrator at a student’s college may make corrections or updates to the student’s FAFSA based on the documentation provided as part of the verification process.
Be sure to complete your FAFSA as soon after January 1st of each year to ensure that you do not miss out on available aid.
The first step in completing your FAFSA is to create an FSA ID. If you or your parents are a first time borrower, you will need to request an FSA ID from the Department of Education. An FSA ID gives you access to Federal Student Aid’s online systems and can serve as your legal signature. Go to: fsaid.ed.gov to create your ID.
Visit www.fafsa.gov and complete your 2016-2017 application today.
One thing to consider, however, is that the FAFSA asks for your tax return information for the current year. Often, this information might not be available until the end of January, at the earliest. Keeping this in mind, you can choose to either wait until you or your family files income taxes for the year or complete your FAFSA using estimates derived from the previous year’s tax returns and other documentation. Note: If you do this, you will need to return later and correct any discrepancies between the estimated values and the current year’s tax returns.
Available Early November! The Oregon Office of Student Access and Completion (OSAC) will open their scholarship application early November 2015 for the 2016–2017 academic year.
Priority Filing Dates and Important Information
Changes Coming for 2017: The Early FAFSA submission
The early FAFSA is coming. Starting fall 2016, students planning to attend college in 2017-18 will be able to file the FAFSA beginning October 1. In addition, students and parents will use their 2015 tax information for completing the FAFSA, ensuring that income information is readily available.
With the early FAFSA, students and families will get an earlier understanding of their financial aid eligibility, and have more time to make an informed decision.
NUNM will continue to keep you updated on the FAFSA changes and other student financial aid news.
Key Dates to Keep in Mind
February 15, 2016
To be considered for Federal Work-Study, your 2016-2017 FAFSA should be filed no later than February 15, 2016. The funds are awarded on first come-first serve basis until all funds have been exhausted, and will only be awarded to the highest need students as determined by the U.S. Department of Education.
March 1, 2016
If you meet the qualifying determination of a high-need student, but miss the February 15, 2016 deadline, you may be placed on the Federal Work-Study Wait list, as long as your FAFSA is filed by March 1, 2016.
NUNM receives an annual allocation for its participation in need-based aid programs, such as the Federal Workstudy Program (FWSP). Institutions across the nation have seen a significant reduction in their FWSP funding allocations over the last few years and this has resulted in changes on how these funds are administered.
Federal workstudy funds are administered in the following manner:
- Funds awarded to high need students only as determined by the U.S. Department of Education
- Annual award reduction for all eligible students
- FWS recipients who fail to maintain satisfactory academic progress will lose their ability to participate for the remainder of the year regardless.
- FWS awards do not begin until fall term each year. Students with a desire to work in summer term must sign an Intent to Enroll form.
- Students who estimate their taxes must submit corrections once their taxes have been filed. NOTE: Corrections may result in a change of FWSP eligibility.
You must transmit your FAFSA to NUNM. Our federal school code is B07624.
You do not need to wait until your 2016 taxes have been prepared if this means missing the priority filing dates. Instead, you may use estimated tax information which can be corrected later. Note: If you do report estimated financial information, you will be required to submit a valid (signed) FAFSA correction once your tax forms are completed. You can also select the IRS data match.
You’ll need an FSA ID to electronically sign your FAFSA. If you do not have an FSA ID, you may get one at fsaid.ed.gov.