Applying for Aid: Step–by–Step Process


 graphic of the number one Prepare

Gather all the documents you will need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The 2021-2022 FAFSA requires your 2019 tax information.


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Filing early is key! The FAFSA opens October 1 of every year. We strongly encourage our students to complete the FAFSA as early as possible. This will ensure that they have enough time to complete any missing financial aid documents or make any necessary financial plans for the upcoming school year. FAFSA school code: 008849.


Graphic of the number 3Review 

In 3-5 business days you will receive your Student Aid Report (SAR) . If necessary, make corrections to your SAR so that the most accurate information is reported. Please keep in mind that it will take an additional 3-5 business days for our office to receive any corrections you make. 


 RespondGraphic of number 4

Once our office receives your FAFSA we will begin to package you with the financial aid you are eligible to receive. Accepted PBA students are able to receive their award letters as early as November prior to their academic year start date. This process generally takes 2-3 weeks to complete and is dependent on all financial aid documents being submitted.

Graphic of the number five Receive

Your aid will be disbursed after the Office of the Registrar completes enrollment verification each semester. Your aid will first be applied to your tuition, fees, and miscellaneous charges. Any remaining aid on your account will be credit balance, or refund. Students receive their refunds approximately one month after classes have started (this is dependent on course enrollment - please contact our office for more information).


Graphic of the number 6Renew 

You will need to renew your FAFSA  application before the beginning of each academic year. One academic year includes Fall, Spring, and Summer.



Have additional questions?

FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This form is the single most important financial aid gateway. It asks you questions about the student’s (and, if you are under the age of 24, the student’s parents’) income and savings to estimate how much aid the student needs. Your FAFSA information is used to award federal grants, state grants, and numerous scholarships from colleges, foundations, and companies..

Visit (or get the "My Student Aid" app) to complete the 2021-22 FAFSA. You will need your FSA ID and Password. If you or your parent have not yet created an FSA ID, you will need to visit before starting the FAFSA. You will also need you and your parents (if dependent student) 2019 tax information. The FAFSA opens October 1 of each year.

PBA does not have a specific deadline to complete the FAFSA, however, the Financial Aid office encourages students to fill is out as soon as they are able to, in order for their file to be complete within a timely manner for the next academic year. Bills are due August 1 of each academic year, so students MUST have all documents completed with our office in order for financial aid to be applied.

After submitting your FAFSA, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR), which is a summary of the FAFSA data you submitted. Review your SAR for accuracy, as this information will be sent to PBA to determine your eligibility. Once we receive your FAFSA, a preliminary award letter will be sent to you within 5 to 10 business days. Please check the Financial Aid portal on your myPBA account to ensure you are not missing any additional documents, which would prevent us from packaging your financial aid package.

The new federal regulation for verifying FAFSA income information against the IRS database is meant to streamline the FAFSA correction process. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool is the easiest method of accomplishing this requirement.

It takes approximately three weeks, from the time you file your federal tax return before the IRS information is available for you to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.

Federal Tax Returns that are mailed to the IRS will be available online from the IRS Data Retrieval Tool approximately 9-11 weeks after filed.

Students will use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool for the Student Financial Information section and parents of dependent students will use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool for the Parent Financial Information section.

For 2021-2022, applicants filing an initial or renewal FAFSA application or making a correction are eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval tool if you meet all of the following criteria:

  • Must have valid SSN
  • Must have filed a 2019 federal tax return
  • Must have unchanged marital status since December 31, 2019

The following list represents those who cannot use the IRS Data Retrieval tool for 2021-22:

  • Parents who filed their federal tax returns using a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) or completed the FAFSA using all zeroes for SSN
  • Any student or parent with a marital status date of January 1, 2019 or later
  • Any student or parent who indicates they have not already filed a tax return or will not file a tax return
  • Any student or parent who is married but file separate federal income tax returns (e.g., married filing separately or head of household)
  • Parents who are unmarried but living together and parents have an informal separation but continue to file a joint federal income tax return (e.g., married filing jointly).
  • Any student or parent who have filed foreign income tax returns instead of or in addition to a U.S. federal income tax return

If you successfully use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool and subsequently change FAFSA data, you will need to either use the Data Retrieval Tool again, and NOT change the information from the IRS, or provide us with a Tax Transcript.