The 2017-2018 FAFSA is Now Available!

You might have heard that there have been some recent changes surrounding the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Last September, President Obama announced a new initiative to simplify the way in which students and families apply for financial aid beginning with the 2017-2018 academic year. Under this initiative, commonly known as Prior-Prior Year (PPY), applicants will be asked to report income and tax information from two years prior (as opposed to one year prior). For instance, when completing the 2017-2018 FAFSA, 2015 income figures are required, rather than 2016. But, that’s not the only change. In addition to reporting income information from a completed tax year, the 2017-2018 FAFSA also became available three months earlier, on October 1, 2016, rather than January 1, 2017.

What does this mean for you? From beginning the financial aid application process sooner to no longer estimating income and tax figures, Prior-Prior Year has a number of benefits for you and your family. These exciting changes are sure to save you time when filing the FAFSA and make it much easier to complete. Be sure to check out our previous post to learn more about PPY and the benefits.

As the financial aid application process is officially underway for the 2017-2018 academic year, we want to share some helpful tips and reminders:

  • Complete the FAFSA each academic year. If you completed a 2016-2017 FAFSA, you were asked to provide your 2015 income and tax information. Although the 2017-2018 FAFSA requires income information from the same tax year, you must still submit a renewal or a new FAFSA for 2017-2018.
  • Utilize the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. When completing your FAFSA for the 2017-2018 academic year, be sure to take advantage of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. This tool allows applicants to electronically transfer their completed 2015 tax information from the IRS to the FAFSA. This not only ensures your FAFSA has accurate income and tax figures but also simplifies the process for you!
  • The FAFSA does not need to be updated after completing 2016 taxes. Unlike the FAFSA in previous years, you will not need to use estimates or make updates after filing taxes. The 2017-2018 FAFSA asks for 2015 tax information, which you likely already have. Moving forward, the FAFSA will continue to ask for tax information from two years prior (for example, when completing the 2018-2019 FAFSA, you’ll be required to provide 2016 tax figures).
  • Submit your FAFSA as soon as possible. As the FAFSA is currently available for the 2017-2018 academic year, there’s no need to wait until January 1! Remember, there are three important deadlines to keep in mind when completing your FAFSA:
    • Northeastern University’s priority filing deadline date
    • Your home state’s deadline (to check your state’s deadline, click here)
    • Federal deadline

If you have questions about Prior-Prior Year (PPY) and the recent changes in the financial aid application process, don’t hesitate to contact us or comment below!

To stay up to date on important news and announcements, receive reminders about upcoming deadlines, and connect with our office, follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

A Student’s Guide to Student Employment

Working while going to school has a number of benefits for students and allows you to continue the learning process outside of the classroom. By engaging in student employment during your studies at Northeastern you’ll have the opportunity to gain valuable work experience to include on your résumé, earn money to assist with educational and personal expenses, and develop a network of contacts including supervisors, co-workers, and fellow students!

It’s important to note that there are two types of student employment – Federal Work-Study and general student employment. So what is the difference between the two? Federal Work-Study is a need-based federally subsidized program that provides part-time employment on or near campus. Students who are eligible to participate in Federal Work-Study will have the award included in their Offer of Financial Assistance (which you may view through your myNEU portal). The per-term Work-Study award amount reflects the maximum you may earn for that time.

If you have not received Federal Work-Study you still have the opportunity to seek general student employment, both on and off-campus. Local off-campus employment opportunities may include tutoring, babysitting, retail, etc. Please be mindful that local off-campus positions are not screened by the university.

Students who wish to find a position can visit the job search database on the Student Employment website. To access the database, log into your myNEU student portal and click the “Student Employment” link (under the “Self-Service” tab).

Student Employment myNEU Screenshot_Edit

Once you are on the Student Employment site, choose the “Find a Job” link to initiate the job search process. You may apply for up to 20 jobs at a time.

You will be able to apply for fall semester positions beginning August 15 – one week from today! In the meantime, we wanted to provide you with some helpful tips:

  • Be sure your résumé is up to date before you begin the search process.
  • Start gathering required student employment documents; All students who wish to work on campus must complete the Employment Eligibility Verification Form (I-9). Section 1 of the I-9 can be completed online through the Student Employment link on your myNEU portal. Once this is submitted, personal identification documentation is required for processing (most students present either a U.S. passport, or a Photo ID with a Social Security card or a photo ID with a birth certificate. Information for international students is available here.) Be sure to see a Student Employment representative or visit their office located in 271 Huntington Ave (Suite 276) to submit your document(s)!
  • Once you’ve secured a position, work with your supervisor to earn up to your allotted Federal Work-Study amount. You may monitor your Federal Work-Study balance each week through the Student Employment site to be sure you’re on track.
  • Remember – earnings from Federal Work-Study and general student employment are not applied directly to tuition bills. Students are paid through direct deposit.

Do you have additional questions regarding the student employment process, required documents, or the Student Employment site? Get in touch with the Student Employment Office! Be sure to also mark your calendar for the annual Student Employment Job Fair on September 7 from 11:00a.m. to 1:00p.m. in the Curry Student Center indoor quad – don’t miss this great opportunity to meet with employers!

5 Tips for Managing Your Student Loans

Loan Borrowing

Now that it’s officially spring – though it may not have felt like it the past few weeks on the Boston campus – many students are starting to think about wrapping up their semester. If you’re graduating this May, you likely have a number of things on your mind, from finishing up your last semester of classes, applying to graduate school or accepting your dream job. For those who borrowed student loans, you might also be starting to think about what the next few months have in store – when repayment begins, how to make payments, and available repayment options. Successfully managing your loans depends on a variety of factors, including the type of loan you have, when you borrowed the funds, the interest rate, and amounts. But, the tips below can help any student loan borrower start the process off on the right foot.

1. Keep Track of Your Borrowing. Whether you’ve borrowed Federal Direct Stafford Loans, such as the Subsidized or Unsubsidized Loan, or private student loans, it’s important to keep track of how much you borrowed and when. For those who received funding through the Federal Direct Stafford Loan program, the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) is a great resource to help you monitor your borrowing history and obtain important information about your loans, including:

  • The type of loan
  • The amount you borrowed
  • When you borrowed the funds
  • Who the servicer is and their contact information

In addition to tracking your borrowing history through the Federal Stafford Loan program, NSLDS also provides details on the Federal Perkins loan, the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan as well as any Federal Direct Parent PLUS loans that were taken out for your education.

Keeping track of any private loans you borrowed may require a bit more research, as there isn’t one central location which houses all of this information (unless you used the same lender throughout your education). No matter which loan program(s) you borrowed through, it’s important to keep all of your loan applications, disclosures, billing statements, and other related documents in one location.

2. Know the Terms of your Loans. Each loan program is different. From when the interest begins to accrue to the available repayment options and when repayment begins, the terms of a loan can vary by lender and loan program. If you have questions regarding the specifics of a loan you borrowed, don’t hesitate to contact the lender (for any private loans) or your loan servicer (which is the company that handles the billing and other services on your federal student loans).

3. Find a Repayment Plan that Works for You. For those who have borrowed Federal Stafford Loans during their education, you will automatically be signed up for the Standard 10-Year Repayment Plan. However, there are other options available such as the Income-Based Repayment Plan and Revised Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan (REPAYE). To learn more, check out some of our previous blog posts or visit For information on available repayment options surrounding private student loans, be sure to contact your lender directly.

When considering available repayment plans or consolidation, there are a few things to keep in mind. First and foremost, be sure to research all available options. As a general rule of thumb, if you’re lowering your monthly payment but extending the length of repayment, you may end up paying more in the long run as a result of accrued interest. Additionally, if you’re considering refinancing some of your Federal Direct Stafford loans with a non-federal program, you may lose some of the flexibility offered by available federal repayment options. It’s best to speak to your loan servicer or lender to be sure you are finding a solution you are comfortable with.

4. Use Estimated Loan Repayment Calculators. Although you may not have entered the repayment period quite yet, using loan repayment calculators can help you better prepare for the coming months. There are a number of estimated repayment calculators available for students and families. Some might be on your lender’s website while others can be found simply through online search engines, such as Google. These calculators are also a great tool to help you compare repayment plans to find the one that best meets your needs.

5. Know Your Available Resources. If you ever have questions or need assistance with your student loans during the repayment period, don’t hesitate to contact the lender or your assigned loan servicer. They are available to discuss repayment plans, the payment and billing process, loan consolidation options and complete other tasks related to your student loans. If at any time your circumstances change during repayment, reach out to your loan servicer or lender as soon as possible to discuss available options and potential solutions.

We understand that managing your student loans may seem overwhelming at times, but there are a number of resources available to assist you in successfully navigating the process. If you’re a graduating senior and borrowed through the Federal Direct Stafford or Graduate PLUS loan programs, you’re required to complete online exit counseling at prior to leaving the university. This session will provide you with helpful information as you prepare to repay your loans. As always, if you have any questions or need assistance don’t hesitate to reach out to your financial aid counselor!

Want to learn more about financial aid, receive updates and reminders about deadlines and engage with our office? Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

You’ve Completed the FAFSA. Now What?

We’ve talked quite a bit about the financial aid application process, from required forms to helpful tips and more. As many students and families are in the midst of applying for financial aid, it’s important to keep in mind that even after you complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and CSS PROFILE if you’re a first-year undergraduate applicant, you may not be done quite yet. Although these forms are central to the financial aid application process, there may be some additional steps required to complete your aid application. Perhaps you completed the FAFSA using estimates for your 2015 tax year information. Or, you’ve been selected for verification and need to submit additional documents. Let’s take a closer look.

After submitting your FAFSA, you’ll receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) which summarizes the information you provided on your financial aid application and provides a brief overview of your estimated federal aid eligibility. It’s important to review your SAR carefully to ensure accurate data was provided. Typically, your SAR is available within three days of completing the FAFSA (if it was completed online) or three weeks (if it was completed in a paper format). You can view your SAR by logging in to with your Federal Student Aid ID (the same one you used to electronically sign your FAFSA).

If you notice that a mistake was made on your FAFSA or you need to make an update, don’t panic. There are some items that can (and should) be corrected or updated. Changes to your FAFSA can be made one of two ways – either online at or via your Student Aid Report. If possible, we recommend making any necessary corrections electronically as the information will be transmitted to schools quicker (typically within 3 – 5 business days). To learn more about what items can be updated or corrected on the FAFSA and how to make these changes, visit

One of the updates you’ll likely want to make to your FAFSA involves your tax information. Since the priority filing deadline to submit the FAFSA is well before the tax filing deadline, you likely completed your FAFSA using tax estimates. If your 2015 taxes have been filed since completing the FAFSA, you’ll want to update your aid application with the actual figures. To do so, we recommend taking advantage of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. This tool essentially pulls the tax figures from your completed return onto the FAFSA, simplifying the process for you and ensuring accurate information is reported. If you filed your taxes electronically, tax data should be available through this tool within 2-3 weeks. For those who filed a paper return, this timeframe is approximately 8-11 weeks. There are some cases when a filer may not be eligible to utilize the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. For example, if you filed an amended tax return (Form 1040X), a Puerto Rican or a foreign tax return, or if you, or your parents, are married but filed taxes as “Married Filing Separately”, the IRS Data Retrieval Tool will not be available. In these cases, you will need to manually enter the figures from your completed tax return. For more information about the IRS Data Retrieval tool, visit

IRS Data Retrieval

In addition to reviewing your SAR for any necessary updates or corrections, it’s important to also keep an eye out for any communication from your schools. In some cases, you may be asked to provide additional documentation to verify the information provided on your financial aid application. In the event you are required to submit additional materials, you’ll be notified directly by our office. You can also use your myNEU student portal to verify whether any financial aid documents are outstanding, access commonly requested forms and view important messages. If additional documents are requested, be sure to submit them to our office as soon as possible as they may be required before a financial aid award can be prepared or if you already received an award, your offer will remain tentative until the requested documents are submitted and reviewed.

myNEU screen shot 1617_border

It’s important to ensure your financial aid application materials are complete and reflect accurate information. Keeping the above steps in mind will help you to successfully navigate the process and not leave any items unchecked. If you have questions about the financial aid application process, next steps or missing documents, don’t hesitate to contact your financial aid counselor.

To stay up to date on SFS news, deadlines and important announcements, be sure to connect with us on Facebook and Twitter!

Exciting News from SFS!

Imagine you’re on co-op across the country and there is a credit reflected in your student account from your financial aid. You would like to use it to help pay for your rent expenses that are quickly coming due. However, to have the check mailed to you could take between 10-14 business days. Or, perhaps you’re spending the semester abroad and want to use the credit in your student account to assist with travel costs. To access the funds, you would need to have the check mailed home so that a family member may deposit it to your personal bank account. Rather than having your refund check mailed, we’re excited to announce that there is an easier and faster way to access your refund. In addition to payroll, direct deposit is now available for student account refunds and all other reimbursements from the university!

In the event your account reflects a credit, meaning the total of awarded financial aid, supplemental loans or direct payments exceed the billed charges on your account, you may be eligible to receive the excess in the form of a refund. To initiate the process, you must submit a Refund Request Form, which is available through your myNEU student portal. In the past, students had the option to have their check held for pick-up in our office or mailed home. However, with the new direct deposit process, funds can be deposited directly into your U.S. checking or savings account.

In addition to being free and completely secure, direct deposit has a number of benefits for students, including:

  • Quicker access to funds
  • No waiting in line to pick up a refund check or to deposit your funds at the bank or ATM
  • No need to worry about losing your check

Ready to enroll in direct deposit? It’s simple. Just login to your myNEU student portal and complete the Direct Deposit Form, located under the “Self-Service” tab. You’ll need to have your U.S. bank routing and account numbers on hand.

Direct Deposit myNEU

After enrolling, initial set up and activation of direct deposit will take 3 business days. Please keep in mind that during this window, you will not be able to submit any new refund requests. For student payroll transactions, it will take up to 5 business days for your direct deposit to become active.

If you’re already enrolled in direct deposit through student payroll, then you’re one step ahead. As a current student employee at Northeastern University with a valid Direct Deposit Form on file, you do not need to complete a new Direct Deposit Form. Any future refund requests that you submit and are eligible to receive will automatically be deposited to the bank account on file with the university.

For additional information regarding the process, be sure to visit our FAQ.

We encourage students to take advantage of this new and exciting service. Stay ahead of the pack and enroll in direct deposit today!

To stay up to date on SFS news, receive updates and reminders about deadlines and engage with our office, follow us on Facebook and Twitter!






5 Tips for Navigating the Financial Aid Application Process

The financial aid application season is officially upon us. With the 2016-2017 CSS PROFILE now available and application deadlines just around the corner, we want to share some helpful tips with our readers.

Before we jump into these, let’s first discuss the financial aid application requirements. At Northeastern, incoming freshmen and transfer students who are interested in applying for financial aid must complete two forms. The first of which is the College Board’s CSS Financial Aid PROFILE. The CSS PROFILE collects financial information from both the student and parent(s) and is used to determine a student’s eligibility for need-based institutional dollars. For those who are applying Early Decision or Early Action, be sure to submit your CSS PROFILE before the deadline date to receive a tentative financial aid award along with your admissions decision. When submitting your CSS PROFILE, include Northeastern as a recipient by using our school code, 3667. There is an associated fee of $25 to send your completed PROFILE to the first school and $16 for each subsequent school. Some students may be eligible for a fee waiver, as determined by College Board.

In addition to completing the CSS PROFILE, students must also complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This form, which can be completed at no cost, is at the center of the financial aid world. The FAFSA allows students the opportunity to be considered for financial assistance from both federal and state sources. Similar to the CSS PROFILE, you must include our school code to ensure we receive your information. For the FAFSA, this code is 002199.

If this is the first time you’re hearing of these forms, don’t panic. There is still plenty of time to apply. We suggest keeping these tips in mind to help you navigate the process.

1. Be mindful of all deadlines. Our priority filing deadlines are always posted on our website. They vary by student population, so make sure to review the appropriate information. Below are the priority filing deadlines for incoming freshman and transfer applicants,


Blog Post_Deadlines


2. Submit your financial aid application materials as soon as possible. Don’t wait until you have received your admissions decision or completed your taxes to apply for financial aid.

3. Use our Net Price Calculator for an estimated financial aid award and out of pocket cost based on your

4. When completing the FAFSA, take advantage of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, if you’re eligible. This tool populates the information from your completed tax return directly onto the FAFSA, simplifying the process for you.

5. Be consistent when completing all required forms and application materials.

We understand that the financial aid application process can be complex. If you have questions or need assistance, let us know!

To learn more about financial aid, receive updates and reminders about deadlines and engage with our office, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter!





A Simplified FAFSA

For many, January 1 signifies the start of a new year, creating resolutions and spending time with family and friends finishing up the holiday leftovers. For those who currently attend college, or will be that fall, this date likely stands out for a different reason. On January 1, students and families can officially begin completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which all colleges and universities require as part of the financial aid application process.

Currently, the FAFSA is completed using prior year tax figures. For example, a student who will be completing the FAFSA for the 2016-2017 academic year, will be asked to provide tax information for the 2015 tax year. For some families, this can be challenging, as the information being requested pertains to tax forms not due until April 2016. As a result, many families use prior year returns and most recent W2’s to estimate the information and are instructed to return to the FAFSA to update it once they have completed their returns. This process, however, is about to change.

Earlier this month, President Barack Obama announced a new initiative to simplify the way in which students apply for financial aid. Beginning with the 2017-2018 academic year, applicants will enter information from two years prior onto the FAFSA. The use of prior-prior year tax figures, commonly known as PPY in the financial aid world, is part of President Obama’s plan to make applying for and accessing financial aid easier for students. Asking families to report information from an already completed tax year will reduce the need to estimate their tax figures. A larger number of applicants will also be able to take advantage of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, which populates their tax information from the IRS directly onto the FAFSA, easing the overall process.

In addition to using figures from an earlier tax year, the FAFSA will also become available three months prior each year, in October, rather than January. This allows families to begin the financial aid application process sooner and potentially have additional time to review their financial aid awards, submit additional materials and consider all available options.

Here is a quick breakdown,


If you want to learn more about how this initiative benefits students, check out this video from the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA),

Remember, this is effective beginning with the 2017-2018 FAFSA. When completing your 2016-2017 FAFSA, which becomes available January 1, 2016, be sure to use 2015 tax figures!

To know more about financial aid, receive updates and reminders about deadlines and engage with our office, follow us on Facebook and Twitter!