To Do List Notifications

A view of misty hills outside of campus

Using IRS Data Retrieval on the FAFSA

IRS Data Retrieval on the FAFSA allows tax-filers to import data from their tax return directly into the FAFSA form. Filing your tax return early and electronically are the best ways to ensure IRS Data Retrieval is available to you in time to meet the Due Date for income verification To Do List items.

IRS Data Retrieval is not available during the January immediately following the end of the tax year, but early FAFSA filers can return to FAFSA on the Web at www.fafsa.ed.gov in February to use it. If you completed the FAFSA before you filed your federal tax return, you can go back into FAFSA on the Web and use IRS Data Retrieval after filing with the IRS.

To use IRS Data Retrieval after your FAFSA has been submitted, log into www.fafsa.ed.gov and follow the steps to make a correction.

If you file your federal tax return electronically, your IRS tax data should be retrievable about two weeks later. If you mail a paper tax return to the IRS, it is likely to take eight weeks before your IRS tax data is retrievable.

Some tax-filers cannot use IRS Data Retrieval. If the following applies to you or your parents, see the section below Instructions for Submitting a Tax Return Transcript.

Tax-Filers Who Cannot Use IRS Data Retrieval

  • Married couples who filed separate federal tax returns
  • Joint tax-filers who are separated, divorced, or widowed at the time the FAFSA is filed
  • Filers of Puerto Rican or foreign tax returns

Instructions for Submitting a Tax Return Transcript

Tax-filers who cannot use IRS Data Retrieval on the FAFSA must request a Tax Return Transcript from the IRS if the student's To Do List includes student or parent income verification.

Tax Return Transcripts must be requested by the tax-filer directly from the IRS at www.irs.gov by clicking on "Get Transcript of Your Tax Records" or by calling 1-800-908-9946. The Tax Return Transcript is the type of transcript required for income verification. In some cases, tax-filers will also be required to provide the account transcript. DO NOT request the Tax Account Transcript unless the student’s To Do List specifically asks for that type of transcript.

If you file your federal tax return electronically, your Tax Return Transcript will be available from the IRS earlier than if you mail a paper tax return to them. Expect it to take at least eight weeks from the time you mail your tax return to the IRS for the Tax Return Transcript to be available.

Failure to Submit To Do List items has DIRE Consequences

Be sure to submit all To Do List items by the due date. If you cannot meet the due date, contact the Financial Aid Office by email at finaid@sonoma.edu or by phone at (707) 664-2389. We will extend your due date and advise you of the specific consequences of the delay. Viewing the due date is explained in the section below When To Do List Items are Requested. Also, more information is provided in the Potential Consequences of Failure to Submit To Do List Items section of this page

Benefits of Prompt Submission of To Do List Items

There are two primary benefits given to students who apply for financial aid and promptly submit their To Do List items, which are deferment of registration charges and first-of-semester on campus housing payments, and early availability of refunds of excess financial aid.

Financial Aid Deferments

If you have a financial aid award offer in place that is sufficient to pay your mandatory registration charges and first-of-semester housing payments prior to the payment deadlines, you do not have to make those payments out-of-pocket. In this case, your mandatory registration charges and housing payments are deferred until your financial aid funds disburse to your student account at the start of the semester. More information on financial aid deferments can be found in the Paying Mandatory Registration Charges and On Campus Housing Charges section of the Your Financial Aid Award Offer page of the Help Book.

Refunds of Excess Financial Aid

When you meet the due dates for submitting your To Do List items, you have the best chance of receiving a check for any excess financial aid funds early, right when the semester begins. More information can be found in the Using Financial Aid Funds to Pay for Books and Other Expenses section of the Your Financial Aid Award Offer page of the Help Book.

When To Do List Items are Requested

Admitted applicants and continuing students will receive an email notification when To Do List items are requested. You MUST view your To Do List through MySSU by clicking the "details" link in your "To Do List" near the top of the right-hand column. For new admits who have access through Self Service, click on “Campus Personal Information” and then "To Do List". You will need your Seawolf username and password to access MySSU through the SSU Online Services login page. New Admits: Detailed instructions on accessing MySSU are available at the Using MySSU web page of our Help Book.

Remember to keep copies of all forms and originals of all documents you give to our office. Everything you submit to our office becomes the property of SSU. We cannot make copies for you.

To Do List items may change after further review of your application information or submitted items. Watch for additional requests and respond promptly to them. Your financial aid file will not be complete and funds cannot disburse until all To Do List items are received and processed.

When You Have Zero To Do List Items

If you were assigned To Do List items and submitted them to us, those items disappear from your To Do List when we have logged them into our system. After items are logged in, priority for review of those items is determined by two basic considerations. First priority is given to items related to basic financial aid eligibility requirements, which are reviewed within ten business days of receipt. Second priority is given to newly admitted students who appear to be eligible for grants, because they will not receive an award offer until their To Do List items have been reviewed by their Financial Aid Representative. Third priority is given to newly admitted students whose award offers will consist of only student/parent loans, and to continuing students. Loan-only award offers will be generated even if your To Do List items have not yet been reviewed. Please note: If your only grant eligibility is for the Cal Grant program, you may receive an award offer prior to review of your To Do List items. Continuing students will not receive award offers for the upcoming academic year until after Spring semester grades have been posted in June.

To Do List items may change after further review of your application information or submitted items. Watch for additional requests and respond promptly to them. Your financial aid file will not be complete and funds cannot disburse until all To Do List items are received and processed.

Turnaround Time for Review of Submitted To Do List Items

Items related to basic financial aid eligibility requirements are reviewed within ten business days of receipt. Basic eligibility issues are explained on the Eligibility page of the Help Book.

Items related to satisfactory academic progress petitions are also reviewed within ten business days of receipt.

Turnaround time for other To Do List items varies based on our processing cycle. The most common reason we assign To Do List items is for the purpose of verifying the accuracy and completeness of the information you reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). For a full explanation of the verification process, see the What Does It Mean to be Selected for "Verification?" section of this page.

Verification-related To Do List items are reviewed as a complete set, which means you must have submitted all of the To Do List items before the set is forwarded on to your Financial Aid Representative. Timelines for review of verification items are posted on the Financial Aid Office home page, Things 2 Know @ FAO, beginning in March for the upcoming academic year.

To Do List items may change after further review of your application information or submitted items. Watch for additional requests and respond promptly to them. Your financial aid file will not be complete and funds cannot disburse until all To Do List items are received and processed.

Potential Consequences of Failure to Submit To Do List Items

Disenrollment: Loss of Classes for Non-payment of Mandatory Registration Charges

If you do not have an award offer in place that is sufficient to cover your mandatory registration charges at the time of the payment deadline, you are subject to disenrollment from those classes. You may have to pay your mandatory registration charges from other sources in order to keep the classes.

No Award Offer

If you do not submit your To Do List items, you will not receive an award offer if you appear to be eligible for grants. If you registered for classes, you may have to pay your mandatory registration charges from other sources in order to prevent disenrollment at the time of the payment deadline. Please note: If your only grant eligibility is for the Cal Grant program, you may receive an award offer prior to review of your To Do List items.

Closure of Grant and Work-Study Programs

Funding for programs such as Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), Educational Opportunity Program Grant (EOPG), and Federal Work-Study is limited. We typically have more potentially-eligible students for those programs than we can support with the limited funding. The longer it takes you to complete your financial aid file, the more likely it is that those programs will be closed when your award offer is constructed.

Cancellation of Award Offer

Sometimes an award offer which includes grants is generated because you had no To Do List items at the time, then conditions change and To Do List items are added later. Award offers that include grants are subject to CANCELLATION if To Do List items are not submitted by the due date. If you registered for classes but there is no award offer in place at the time of the payment deadline, you may have to pay your mandatory registration charges from other sources in order to keep the classes.

Prior to July, award offers that consist only of student and/or parent loans will be generated even if To Do List items are outstanding. These loan-only award offers will be CANCELLED once Fall classes are underway if the To Do List items have not been submitted. Tentative Cal Grant awards may be included on loan-only award offers and are also subject to cancellation. After July, even loan-only award offers will not be generated unless To Do List items have been submitted and reviewed.

No Refund of Excess Financial Aid

If you do not submit your To Do List items, we cannot disburse any federal or state financial aid for which you may have potential eligibility. If you expect a refund of excess financial aid for books, living expenses, etc., those funds cannot be made available to you until all To Do List items are received and processed.

What Does It Mean to be "Selected for Verification?"

The FAFSA processor selects some financial aid applicants for a process called "Verification." If you are selected for verification, this means you must submit certain kinds of documentation to our office. Most often, the documentation verifies your previous year's income and your household size. Please refer to your To Do List in MySSU for your specific income documentation requirements.

Note: If you or your parents retrieved your tax information from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) when completing or correcting the FAFSA and did not change the information afterwards, this usually fulfills the requirement to provide income documentation.

Required forms can be found at the To Do List Forms section of our website under To Do List Forms. Dependent students must also submit their parent's previous year income documentation. If you or your parents filed an extension with the IRS, you must submit to our office a copy of the automatic extension application form or a copy of the IRS approval for an extension beyond the automatic extension period. We will compare the information on your income documentation and other forms to the information you reported on your FAFSA, and make corrections if necessary. These corrections could result in a change to your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which could result in changes to your award. If you have previously been notified of your award offer, we will send a modified award offer notification to you by email or letter explaining the changes.