Financial Aid Application Information

Fill Out the FAFSA

Your first step is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), regardless of your family’s financial status.   You may file the FAFSA beginning October 1, with a priority deadline of March 1. Your FAFSA information determines your eligibility for a broad range of financial aid. Even if you do not have financial need according to your FAFSA results, everyone qualifies for some form of financial aid.

Be sure your completed FAFSA includes the University of Rhode Island Federal School Code 003414.

Tax Returns – IRS Data Retrieval Option for FAFSA

Beginning in October, students and parents who have completed their prior prior year IRS tax return may be able to use FAFSA on the Web to electronically view their tax information. We strongly recommend that parents and students select this option during the initial filing or when subsequent corrections are made to a FAFSA application. This option will streamline and expedite the processing of your financial aid application.

In order to successfully use the IRS Data Retrieval option, you must have a(n):

  • Federal tax return filed with the IRS,
  • Valid Social Security number
  • Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID – replaces Federal PIN, and
  • Unchanged marital status since December 31,of the prior year

Federal Student Aid (FSA ID – replaces Federal PIN): For parents or students without an FSA ID, you will be prompted to apply for one during the FAFSA application process:  The FSA ID will also help you (student or parent) electronically sign the FAFSA.

Parents of undergraduate students will not have their federal tax returns completed by the priority application deadline of March 1 may use “estimated income” information on the initial FAFSA.  These families will be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval process once their tax returns are completed. If on the FAFSA you listed your tax filing status as “Will File” because you had not yet filed a tax return, please remember to (1) use the FAFSA Corrections process at and change this status to “Already Completed” (2) update all relevant income fields to your FAFSA (3) select the IRS Data Retrieval option once you have actually submitted a federal tax return to the IRS and (4) resubmit your FAFSA. Remember-using accurate FAFSA information will result in a more accurate Financial Aid Award!

According to the IRS:

  • Electronically filed tax return information will be available online from the IRS site in 2-3 weeks after the return has been filed
  • Data from paper tax returns will be available in 8-11 weeks

Unfortunately, the Data Retrieval Process cannot be used in the following circumstances and the applicant will have to submit a Tax Return Transcript (How to order a Tax Transcript) if selected for verification:

  • When paper FAFSA is completed
  • Filed “Married Filing Separately” return
  • Filed “Amended” return
  • Filed “Foreign” return
  • Marital status changed after December 31
  • Applicant has made changes to IRS Data Retrieval information on FAFSA

Priority Deadlines

If you submit your FAFSA by the priority deadline of March 1, you increase the likelihood that you will receive grants and/or scholarships that do not have to be repaid. This type of aid is limited. Once funds allocated for the year have been exhausted, no more awards can be made, even though you may be eligible. You may apply for other sources of financial aid, such as the Federal Pell Grant and direct subsidized and unsubsidized loans, throughout the academic year.

Renewal of Awards

Financial aid is awarded annually, and you must reapply each year. The amount you receive each year can vary according to your financial need, the number of needy students, and the availability of funds. The recommended filing date is each January/ February.

*Awards Are Subject to Change.
Offers of aid are extended on the assumption that the programs will be continued and that sufficient funds will be appropriated by the U.S. Congress. If, for some reason, one or both of these conditions are not met, it might become necessary to withdraw or alter the aid offer. If this should become necessary, you will be notified.

**You will be required to repay any amount you are over awarded
An over award occurs when your total resources exceed your financial need. You should understand that the University reserves the right to adjust, both in type and amount, any financial aid award for which it is responsible.

Expected Family Contribution

Most financial aid at the University of Rhode Island is awarded to students on the basis of demonstrated financial need. To determine financial need, the University employs the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which calculates the expected family contribution FAFSA. Note that we expect your family, insofar as it is able, to bear primary responsibility for financing your college education, and that you, the student, are expected to earn a portion of your resources for college expenses.

Expected Family Contribution Estimator

Total Expense Budget – Expected Family Contribution (EFC) = Your Financial Need

For need-based aid, no student is allowed to receive financial assistance in excess of financial need.

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