Welcome to the Federal Financial Aid checklist. To get started, read through the first things first information below. If you have any questions as you go throughout the Financial Aid process, click here for a list of Financial Aid FAQ's.

If you are logged in, you can click the white circle on the right side of each tab to check the completed item off your list.

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First Things First – My Financial Center, Personal Information & Account Permissions

  1. Get familiar with My Financial Center: My Financial Center should become your best friend, especially during the financial aid process. All communication concerning action on your part is posted in My Financial Center either as a task or a message in YMessage. The Important Alert section keeps you aware of upcoming deadlines. Check My Financial Center frequently throughout your time at BYU for information regarding charges on your account, payments, financial aid, scholarships, and more.

  2. Update your Personal Information: Make sure all your information is updated, including mailing address and email so you are sure to receive all notifications to correct addresses.

  3. Account Permissions (Guest Access): FERPA is a privacy law enforced by the federal government to ensure that BYU is protecting the privacy of each student. We encourage you to manage your own financial aid and student account; however, if you would like a third party (like a parent or a spouse) to have access to your student account and financial aid information, you will need to grant them guest access. Without guest access in place, BYU employees will not speak to a third party about your financial aid or student account.

1. File your Federal Tax Return

File your federal tax return (if required) to begin your application for financial aid. For the 2015-2016 FAFSA, you need your 2014 tax return information. For the 2016-2017 FAFSA, you need your 2015 tax return information. If you have not filed your taxes yet, you can complete the FAFSA using estimates. However, you will be required to updatet he FAFSA once your taxes are filed for 2015.

If you’re married you also need tax return information from your spouse.

If you’re considered dependent on the FAFSA, you also need your parent’s tax return information.

2. Create an FSA ID

In order to fill out your FAFSA, you will need to create an FSA ID (username and password). Create an FSA ID by going to fafsa.ed.gov and clicking the "FSA ID" icon.

3. Complete the FAFSA

Next, fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at fafsa.ed.gov, and send the results to BYU.

  • If you’re considered dependent on the FAFSA you will need your parent’s tax return information.
  • If you anticipate marriage between now and the end of the coming school year, click here for information to consider before submitting your FAFSA.
  • If you are eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (it will prompt you during the tax information section of the FAFSA), we strongly advise you to use it. The tool pulls your tax information directly from the IRS, which ensures accuracy and makes you less likely to be selected for verification (see checklist item #5 for more information about verification).

It generally takes 2-3 days for BYU to receive your FAFSA after you submit it. Click the Do It link on the 'View Financial Aid Status' task below for updates on the status of your financial aid.

4. Check Messages and Complete Tasks

Once BYU receives your FAFSA, you will be assigned tasks to complete through My Financial Center. These items have to be completed in order to resume the financial aid process, so take care of them as soon as you can.

Click the task listed in My Financial Center for a detailed explanation and instructions about what to do.

Check back often for additional messages and/or tasks so your financial aid process can continue smoothly.

5. Verification

Before receiving financial aid, you may be selected for a process called verification. Verification is used to prove the accuracy of FAFSA data.

If you are selected for verification, the following required tasks are assigned in My Financial Center:

  1. Student/Spouse/Parent Tax Return Transcript: Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on your FAFSA, or request a free tax return transcript by mail by going to irs.gov. Scan and attach the tax return transcript to a secure email at ymessage.byu.edu, or turn in a copy (of all pages) at OneStop Student Services (D-155 ASB). We recommend you always keep the original for your records. For step-by-step instructions for obtaining a tax return transcript, click here.

  2. Complete the independent or dependent verification form: If considered dependent on the FAFSA, you and your parent are required to sign the online dependent verification form. In order for your parent to electronically sign the verification form, they are required to have a BYU Net ID. Parents: click here to create a Net ID. A helpful tutorial about how to complete the form is below.

  3. Other: You may be assigned other tasks to complete regarding verification, so check your task list on My Financial Center frequently for additional verification requirements.


Dependent Verification Form Tutorial:

6. Accept/Decline Your Awards

Within one to two weeks after completing all task items (including verification if selected), financial aid is awarded based on the FAFSA results. Once awarded, a message is sent to YMessage indicating you need to review your award.

Money is not actually applied to your account or refunded to you until a later date (see checklist item #8).

Review your awards and choose to accept or decline your loans and input the amount you wish to accept (Pell Grants are automatically accepted for you).

  • NOTE: the amount you accept is for the academic year and will be divided in half so you receive one disbursement in fall and the other in winter. For example, if you are awarded $5,000 and choose to accept the full amount, you will receive $2,500 fall and $2,500 winter.

The first time you choose to accept loans you are required to complete online loan entrance counseling and sign an online master promissory note. These items show up in your task list in My Financial Center after you accept the loan (see checklist item #7).

  • If you receive a Pell Grant, review the Pell breakdown chart associated with your award. As your enrollment status changes (full-time, ¾ time or part-time student), your Pell award may also change.

7. First Time Loan Borrower: Additional Required Tasks

If accepting federal loans for the first time, you are required to complete the following:

  1. Entrance counseling: Follow the link in your task list on My Financial Center to complete entrance counseling online. Entrance Counseling makes sure you understand what it means to take out a loan, when repayment begins, and how to pay it back. You only have to complete Entrance Counseling the first time you take out a loan.
  2. Master Promissory Note (MPN): Follow the link in your task list on My Financial Center to sign the master promissory note online. The MPN is a signed contract stating that you will pay your loans back when the repayment period begins. You only have to sign an MPN the first time you take out a loan; the terms of the MPN apply to all subsequent loans.

8. Direct Deposit

Direct deposit is the fastest way for you to receive excess financial aid money. It allows BYU to put the excess money directly into the bank account you specify. If direct deposit is set up, you are likely to receive your excess financial aid money 1-3 business days after the refund process begins.

On the other hand, if you don’t set up direct deposit it could take up to 10 days to receive the check in the mail. Click the Do It link on the 'Direct Deposit' task below to set up your direct deposit. 

Tip: If you have a job on campus the direct deposit you set up to receive your paycheck is different from the system used to refund your excess financial aid. You will need to set up an additional direct deposit account through My Financial Center.

9. Disbursement (Money is Applied to your Student Account)

Once you are awarded, have completed all required tasks, and meet all eligibility requirements, your federal aid is applied to your student account. Federal financial aid funds go directly to your student account and will ONLY pay for the following:

  1. Tuition and program fees. Then, if there is money left over it pays:
  2. Housing and meal plan charges (if applicable). Then, if there is money left over it will:
  3. Be refunded to you (see checklist item #10)

Federal law doesn’t allow BYU to use federal financial aid money for any charges on your account other than tuition and fees, housing and meal plans.

10. Refund (Getting your excess Financial Aid Money)

The refund process begins on the 3rd day of classes.

If direct deposit is set up, you are likely to receive your excess financial aid money 1-3 days after the refund process begins.

If you didn’t set up direct deposit, your money will be mailed in the form of a check to whatever address is listed in your Personal Information on myBYU (allow 10 business days for the check to arrive).

If it has been longer than 10 business days and you haven’t seen your refund check, send OneStop a message or call at 801-422-4104.

Note: Spring & Summer Financial Aid

Federal financial aid is available for spring/summer only if you have remaining eligibility from your annual Scheduled Pell Award or annual Direct Loan limits. There are some special considerations to be aware of with financial aid during spring, summer, and spring-summer classes. Click here to learn more about what to be aware of.

Check your My Financial Center or call OneStop Student Services (801-422-4104) if you need assistance.

Questions?