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IRS Data Retrieval Tool UPDATE

IMPORTANT UPDATE: The IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) on and will be unavailable until extra security protections can be added. While they are working to resolve these issues as quickly as possible, students, families and borrowers should plan for the tool to be offline until the start of the next FAFSA season. In the interim, you can complete the FAFSA or apply for income-driven repayment by manually providing your tax information.

Please visit the following link for more information.




FASFA Changes for 2017 -18

On Sept. 14, 2015, President Obama announced significant changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) process that will impact millions of students. Starting with the 2017­–18 application cycle, the following changes will be put in place: 
Students will be able to submit a FAFSA® earlier.  Students will be able to file a 2017–18 FAFSA as early as Oct. 1, 2016, rather than beginning on Jan. 1, 2017. The earlier submission date will be a permanent change, enabling students to complete and submit a FAFSA as early as October 1 every year. (There is NO CHANGE to the 2016–17 schedule. The FAFSA became available January 1 as in previous years.) 
Students will use earlier income information. Beginning with the 2017–18 FAFSA, students will be required to report income information from an earlier tax year. For example, on the 2017–18 FAFSA, students (and parents, as appropriate) will report their 2015 income information, rather than their 2016 income information.   
The following table provides a summary of key dates as we transition to using the early FAFSA submission timeframe and earlier tax information. 


If you’d like more details about the upcoming changes, you may read the fact sheet called College Students and Parents: What You Need to Know About the 2017­–18 FAFSA<> ®.

Learn more about the FAFSA process <> .

How to create an FSA ID

Reminder - FAFSA Time is Just Around the Corner!

You can begin your FAFSA online application as early as October 1st via FAFSA On The Web.  Although it is better to do your taxes early, it is OK to use estimates of your income, so long as they aren’t very far off from the actual values.  You will have an opportunity to correct any errors later.  If you wait too long, you might miss the deadline for state aid.

Below is a simple tutorial put together by USCBfinaid:

FAFSA Video Link

FSA Student Loan Ombudsman Contact Information

Via online assistance

Via Telephone: 877.557.2575

Via Fax: 606.396.4821

Via Mail: FSA Ombudsman Group, P.O. Box 1843, Monticello, KY 42633


FSA ID Replaces PIN

As of May 10, 2015, Federal Student Aid (FSA) is requiring that students, parents, and borrowers create and FSA ID, which is made up of a username and password, to access certain U.S. Department of Education (ED) websites. The FSA ID has replaced the PIN that was previously used to confirm an individual's identity when accessing financial aid information and electronically signing FSA documents, such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®). Further details are provided at the FSA ID page of the FSA website. Step by step instructions can be found here and a video showing the process can be viewed here.

Loan Limit Changes for New Borrowers

Please click here to view changes in subsidized loan limits for new borrowers.

Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification Form

Click here for the Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification Form.

Federal Pell Grant Program—Duration of Eligibility

Once you have received a Pell Grant for 12 semesters, or the equivalent, you are no longer eligible for additional Pell Grants.

  • You are eligible to receive a Pell Grant for up to 12 semesters or the equivalent. If you have exceeded the 12-semester maximum, you lose eligibility for additional Pell Grants beginning in the 2012–13 school year. Equivalency is calculated by adding together the percentage of your Pell eligibility that you received each year to determine whether the total amount exceeds 600%.

  • For example, if your maximum Pell Grant award amount for the 2014–15 school year was $5,550, but you receive only $2,775 because you were enrolled for only one semester, you would have used 50% of your maximum award for that year. If in the following school year, you were enrolled only three-quarter time, you would have used 75% of your maximum award for that year. Together, you would have received 125% out of the total 600% lifetime limit.

  • Learn more about the Pell Grant limit.

Direct Student Loan Changes

Direct Subsidized Loans are not eligible for an interest subsidy during the six-month grace period.

  • Subsidized loans are loans for which the borrower is not responsible for the interest while the student is enrolled in college on at least a half-time basis, when the loan is in the six-month grace period after the student is no longer enrolled at least half-time, or if the loan is in a deferment status. This provision eliminates the interest subsidy provided during the six-month grace period for subsidized loans for which the first disbursement is made on or after July 1, 2012, and before July 1, 2014. If you receive a subsidized loan during this timeframe, you are responsible for the interest that accrues while your loan is in the grace period. You do not have to make payments during the grace period (unless you choose to), but the interest will be capitalized (added to the principal amount of your loan) when the grace period ends. This provision does not eliminate the interest subsidy while the borrower is in school or during eligible periods of deferment.

Graduate and professional students are no longer eligible to receive subsidized loans.

  • Effective for loans made for payment periods that begin on or after July 1, 2012, graduate and professional students are no longer eligible to receive subsidized loans. However, if you are a graduate or professional student, you may still qualify for up to $20,500 in unsubsidized loans each year.

The U.S. Department of Education can no longer offer borrowers repayment incentives.

  • Effective for loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education is prohibited from offering any repayment incentives to Direct Loan borrowers, except interest rate reductions to borrowers who agree to have payments automatically electronically debited from their bank account.

If you have any questions about how these changes could impact you, please contact the financial aid administrator at your school or call 800.4.FED.AID (800.433.3243).

Federal Tax Transcript Requirement‐Verification

When selected for verification, students will now be required to submit a federal tax return transcript instead of the previously required signed copies of federal tax returns. The information below is a guide to help you understand when a tax transcript is required and how to obtain it.

A tax transcript is required:

  • When the applicant (or parent) did not use the IRS Data Retrieval Process when filing the FAFSA or through the FOTW correction process.

  • When information included on the FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Process was subsequently changed.

  • When a married independent applicant and spouse filed separate tax returns.

  • When the parents of a dependent student filed separate tax returns.

While encouraged, IRS Tax Return Transcripts submitted to the institution for verification need not be signed by the tax filer.

To request a federal tax return transcript:


  • Available on the IRS website at

  • In the Online Services section of the home page, click on “Order a Tax Return Transcript”

  • Click “Order a Transcript”

  • Click “Continue”

  • In the Type of Transcript field, select “Retun Transcript”, and in the Tax Year field, example select “current year”

  • If successfully validated, tax filers will receive a paper IRS Tax Return Transcript at the address included in their online request within 5‐10 days from the request date.

  • IRS Tax Return Transcripts requested online cannot be sent directly to a third party (such as the institution) by the IRS.


  • Available by calling the IRS at 800.908.9946

  • Tax filers must follow prompts to enter their SSN and the numbers in their street address, as they appear on the latest tax return that they filed. However, if any address change form has been completed through USPS, the IRS may have their updated address on file.

  • Select “Option 2” to request an IRS Tax Return Transcript, then enter tax year example “2013”

  • If successfully validated, tax filers will receive a paper IRS Tax Return Transcript at the address that was used in their telephone request within 5‐10 days from the date of request.

  • IRS Tax Return Transcripts requested by telephone cannot be sent directly to a third party (such as the institution) by the IRS.

Veterans Information

VanderCook has a new veterans page!  Click the following link for more information:


VanderCook College of Music

3140 South Federal Street
Chicago, IL 60616-3731
(312) 225-6288

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