Students encouraged to start financial aid process - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Students encouraged to start financial aid process

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NATCHITOCHES, La. (KALB News Channel 5) NSU gives reminder about financial aid paperwork.

It's not too early to begin getting paperwork in order to receive financial aid for the 2014-15 academic year, according to Northwestern State University Director of Financial Aid Lauren Jackson.

Students and prospective students can start the process by filling the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) which is available online at fafsa.gov. Filling out the FAFSA is a requirement for students who want to receive student loans, grants, participate in the work-study program or receive TOPS. According to a release from NSU, ninety-four percent of their beginning full-time students received some type of financial aid last year.

Jackson said starting the process as early as possible can be very helpful.

"If you get started early, it gives you plenty of time to gather necessary documentation and get answers to any questions you may have," Jackson said. "By waiting you risk having to scramble at the last moment and perhaps not making deadlines."

Northwestern State's priority deadline for financial aid is May 1.

Jackson said there are several things students and their parents should do when filling out the FAFSA to prevent problems.

"The biggest thing is to not leave anything blank," she said. "Even though you are allowed to skip certain items, it's best not to do that because each item on the form has a purpose. Another item that causes problems involves the number of people in a household. This should be the number of people the parents support."

This year, Northwestern State is encouraging students and parents to use the IRS data retrieval process. Jackson said this process allows tax filers to load their data into the FAFSA.

"There is no requirement to do this, but it can save students and their parents a lot of time," Jackson said. "If a student is chosen for verification, we can no longer accept a copy of a tax return if they do not use the IRS Data Retrieval Process. The tax return will need to be a return transcript that comes from the IRS. By using the IRS Data Retrieval Process, we can quickly get needed information."

Jackson encouraged students or prospective students of NSU to visit the Financial Aid Office's website at financialaid.nsula.edu or contact the Financial Aid Office at (318) 357-5961 or nsufinaid@nsula.edu.

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