office of Student Financial Assistance
2012-2013 Financial Aid Changes
Reduced Pell Grant Eligibility Duration
The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012 (Public Law 112-74) amended the Higher Education Act by reducing the duration of time a student may receive full-time Federal Pell Grant. The amendment reduces the maximum number of semesters an eligible student may receive Federal Pell Grant from 18 semesters (or its equivalent) to 12 semesters (or its equivalent). The provision applies to all Federal Pell Grant eligible students effective with the 2012-2013 award year, regardless of when a student received their first Federal Pell Grant disbursement. The Department of Education is responsible for notifying students and institutions when an eligible student has met or is approaching their lifetime maximum.
Loss of Subsidized Loan Eligibility for Graduate Students
The Budget Control Act of 2011 (Public Law 112-25) made changes to the William D. Ford Direct Loan Program. Effective for loans made for periods of enrollment beginning on or after July 1, 2012, graduate and professional students are no longer eligible to receive Federal Direct Subsidized Loans. The annual loan limit for graduate and professional students remains unchanged at $20,500, but will now be limited to Direct Unsubsidized Loans. These changes do not affect undergraduate students.
Elimination of Interest Subsidy during Grace Period
The Budget Control Act of 2011 (Public Law 112-25) temporarily eliminated interest subsidies on Direct Subsidized Loans during the six month grace period provided to students enrolled less than half time. This will only apply to Direct Subsidized Loans for which disbursement is made on or after July 1, 2012 and before July 1, 2014.
IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT)
The 2012 – 2013 FAFSA now offers you the option to import your federal tax information directly from the IRS via the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT). Your data should be available within 1 – 2 weeks of electronically filing your taxes or within 6 – 8 weeks of filing a paper tax return. If you are selected for verification you may use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) to import your tax information from the IRS to your FAFSA in lieu of submitting tax forms to Student Financial Assistance. Simply log in to your FAFSA and submit an update. We highly recommend using this tool if you are eligible for several reasons:
- It's the easiest and fastest way to provide tax data
- It's the best way to ensure your FAFSA has accurate tax information
- You won't need to provide a copy of your or your parents' (if dependent) tax transcripts if selected for verification
Changes to the Verification Process
Due to the availability of the FAFSA - IRS Data Retrieval Tool and changes to the Federal Student Aid verification requirements, students selected for verification and required to provide income and tax documentation will not be permitted to provide signed copies of federal tax returns. Only official tax transcripts provided by the IRS will be accepted . This change becomes effective for the 2012-2013 aid year.