Applying for Aid

 What is FAFSA?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step to applying for many financial aid opportunities including Federal Student Aid programs such as Federal Pell Grant and Federal Work Programs. 

Have questions on FAFSA? Click here to see common FAQs about it. 

FAFSA opens on October 1 of every year. For the 2020-21 FAFSA that opened on October 1, 2018, the tax information for the 2018 tax year is required.

Does gathering all of this information seem overwhelming? The IRS Data Retreival Tool (also referred to at DRT) allows students and parents to access the IRS tax return information needed to complete your FAFSA. Click here to see some common FAQs about DRT. 

Filing early is key!

We cannot stress enough the importance of filing your FAFSA using the 2018 tax information as early as you are able. Roughly $150 billion in aid is awarded annually to college students by the federal government in the form of need-based grants, loans, and work-study funds. If you file your application late, you may risk missing out on certain funds.

New Applicants and First Time Students

Accepted students to Palm Beach Atlantic University will be eligible to receive a financial aid award letter as early as November if they have selected to complete or waive their FAFSA. Completing the FAFSA early provides new students with more time to set up payment plans or other payment arrangements to successfully begin their first term. It also gives students additional time to resolve any verification requirements, loan paperwork, and other documents that are required. 

PBA is here to support you

Please reach out to the Financial Aid Office at 561-803-2126 or with questions or concerns you may have regarding any FAFSA changes. We appreciate that financial aid and the college admissions process can be a trying time, and we want to make the path as smooth and enjoyable as possible.


What is FAFSA?

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.

How do I fill out a FAFSA?

Visit (or get the "My Student Aid" app) to complete the 2020-21 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) 2018 tax information. The FAFSA opens October 1st of each year.

When is FAFSA due?

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 1st of each academic year, so students MUST have all documents completed with our office in order for financial aid to be applied.

When do I find out how much aid I will receive?

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.


Why do we have to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?

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.

I just filed my taxes. When can I use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?

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.

Am I eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?

For 2020-2021, 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 2018 federal tax return
  • Must have unchanged marital status since December 31, 2018

The following list represents those who cannot use the IRS Data Retrieval tool for 2020-21:

  • 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, 2018 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

What happens if I use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool and then go back into FAFSA corrections and change the information?

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.

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