Financial Aid FAQs
For need-based financial aid it is recommended that you complete the FAFSA as soon as possible after October 1st prior to the school year for which you seek financial assistance–you must reapply for financial aid each year. Finally, it is important to promptly submit all documentation requested by the financial aid office. Your financial aid will not be available to pay for tuition and charges until your file is complete and all forms are processed.
For scholarships, you are encouraged to meet the deadlines announced with each scholarship source.
You will receive confirmation that your FAFSA data has been processed in the form of a Student Aid Report (SAR). If you listed an email address, it will be sent to your email. The schools listed on your student aid report (SAR) will determine your eligibility for financial aid and notify you in writing of your financial aid eligibility. The school also notifies the student if any other information is required to complete the financial aid process.
NC State’s Federal school code is 005313.
To be considered an independent student for financial aid consideration, you must be able to answer “yes” to one of the seven questions in Step Three on the FAFSA. If you cannot answer “yes” to one of these questions, you are considered a dependent student and must include parental information on the form. However, if you feel you have extenuating circumstances and should be considered an independent student, you must file an appeal with the financial aid office. At NC State, the following situations are NOT usually considered to be valid reasons for independent student status:
- You do not reside with your parents, or you support yourself
- Your parents refuse to pay for your college education
- Your parents are not financially able to pay for your education
- You were married after you applied for financial aid
- You do not want your parents’ help and have decided to pay for your own college education.
Contact the financial aid office and request a Special Circumstances form. All requests for special consideration or adjustments to the financial aid package must be accompanied by appropriate documentation. You will receive a written request if additional information is needed to process the Special Circumstances Application.
Call the financial aid office to verify that we have received your information or call the Federal Processor at 1-800-433-3243 to find out if your SAR has been processed. Be sure to have your SAR available when you call, you will need to give the representative the four-digit Data Release Number (DRN) assigned to your SAR. If you filled your FAFSA electronically over the internet you can also check the status of your application online using your PIN number.
Verification is the process of checking the information reported on your FAFSA for accuracy. If your application is selected, the financial aid office is required to collect certain financial documents (e.g., IRS Tax Transcripts) from you and your parents or spouse, if applicable. Information from these documents is then compared to your FAFSA information and changes made when necessary. Financial aid applicants are selected for verification by the federal processor. The financial aid office may also select applicants for verification to correct any potential conflicts in information.
Yes, you may complete FAFSA using estimated income. However, if you report estimated financial information on your FAFSA, you may be selected for verification.
Who is my parent according to the FAFSA® form?
If you need to report parent information, here are some guidelines to help you:
If your legal parents (your biological and/or adoptive parents, or parents as determined by the state [e.g., a parent listed on your birth certificate]) are married to each other, answer the questions about both of them, regardless of whether your parents are of the same or opposite sex.
If your legal parents are not married to each other and live together, answer the questions about both of them, regardless of whether your parents are of the same or opposite sex.
If your legal parent is widowed or was never married, answer the questions about that parent.
What if my parents are divorced or separated?
In this case, how you fill out the FAFSA form depends on whether your parents live together or not.
Keep the following in mind as you read this section:
For FAFSA purposes, your married parents are separated if they are considered legally separated by a state, or if they are legally married but have chosen to live separate lives, including living in separate households, as though they were not married.
When two married persons live as a married couple but are separated by physical distance (or have separate households), they are considered married for FAFSA purposes.
Divorced or Separated Parents Who Do Not Live Together
If your parents are divorced or separated and don’t live together, answer the questions about the parent with whom you lived more during the past 12 months.
If you lived the same amount of time with each divorced or separated parent, give answers about the parent who provided more financial support during the past 12 months or during the most recent 12 months that you actually received support from a parent.
Divorced or Separated Parents Who Live Together
If your divorced parents live together, you’ll indicate their marital status as “Unmarried and both legal parents living together,” and you will answer questions about both of them on the FAFSA form.
If your separated parents live together, you’ll indicate their marital status as “Married or remarried” (NOT “Divorced or separated”), and you will answer questions about both of them on the FAFSA form.
What if I have a stepparent?
If you have a stepparent who is married to the legal parent whose information you’re reporting, you must provide information about that stepparent as well.
EXCEPTION: The FAFSA form asks about your parents’ education level. For these two questions, your parents are considered to be your birth parents or adoptive parents—your stepparent is not your parent in these questions.
What if my parents are in a same-sex marriage?
Same-sex couples must report their marital status as married if they were legally married in a state or other jurisdiction (foreign country), without regard to where they live or where the student will be going to school.
What to Do If Your Parents’ (or Your) Marital Status Has Changed Since Taxes Were Filed
Here are some tips for this type of situation using the example of the 2022–23 FAFSA form:
The FAFSA form asks for marital status “as of today” (the day it’s filled out). So, if the student or parent is married now but wasn’t in 2020 (and therefore didn’t file taxes as married), the spouse’s 2020 income will need to be added to the FAFSA form.
Similarly, if the student or parent filed 2020 taxes as married but is no longer married when filling out the FAFSA form, the spouse’s income will need to be subtracted.
And if the student or parent was married when filing 2020 taxes, then got divorced and is now married to someone else, there’s a bit more math to do: Subtract the ex’s income, then add the new spouse’s income.
The FAFSA help text covers all these situations in more detail as you’re filling out the application.