Frequently Asked Questions 
Below are answers to some frequently asked questions by Elms students and their families.  However, much more information can be found online through the Federal Student Aid YouTube Channel and

Of course, if you can’t find the answer to your question using any of these resources or you’re not entirely clear on something we encourage you to contact the Financial Aid Office directly by either e-mailing or calling (413) 265-2249.

Applying for Financial Aid

To apply, visit As a reminder, you should never have to pay to complete your FAFSA. For first time users, you will need to establish an FSA ID and Password to access your application and sign it electronically. For dependent students, your parents will also be required to establish a FSA ID and Password.

No. FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid – you should never pay to file a FAFSA.

Financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis. Therefore, students should apply for financial aid as soon as possible. The FAFSA for the upcoming school year is available as early as October 1st.  First-year and transfer students should file their FAFSA no later than March 1st, and returning students should file no later than March 15th.

Yes. Students must reapply every year to be considered for financial aid.

No, you do not have to wait for admission notification from Elms College before applying. You should apply as early as possible. However, you must be admitted and enrolled in order to receive financial aid.

The federal school code is 002140.

Elms College has two filing priority dates:

  • If you are an incoming first year or transfer student you should complete the FAFSA by March 1st.
  • If you are a returning student you should complete your FAFSA by March 15th.

Also, Massachusetts has a deadline of May 1st in order to be eligible for Massachusetts state aid. Students should apply as soon as possible to ensure their application is received and reviewed in a timely manner. Students can find other state deadlines online at

Eligibility for Financial Aid

In order to determine your eligibility for financial aid, Elms College must receive your FAFSA. Based upon the information provided, the Financial Aid Office will notify you of your financial aid eligibility.

You should still complete the FAFSA even if you think you will not qualify for financial aid. In order to be considered, you must first fill out the FAFSA. Additionally, you must have a high school diploma, a GED (or an equivalent), or completed secondary school in a home-school setting. You also must be enrolled in an eligible program of study and be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen. You must be within Satisfactory Academic Progress, show financial need for anything other than unsubsidized loans, and cannot be in default on any federal loans. If you’re male, you must be registered with the selective service. More information on federal aid eligibility can be found online at

If a student has a prior bachelor’s degree, they are not eligible for the Pell grant. The student may still be eligible for federal student loans.

No, you do not have to be enrolled full-time to receive certain forms of financial aid. You must be enrolled in at least six credits to be eligible for federal student loans. If you are eligible for federal financial aid, the amount of aid you receive will be determined by the number of credits in which you’re enrolled.

In order to be considered for need-based financial aid you must be able to file a FAFSA.  Certain students may have an eligible non-citizen status if they are US Permanent Residents.  Other eligible non-citizen status can be reviewed online at

If your family’s financial circumstances have changed significantly since last tax year (which is the year reported on the FAFSA to determine a student’s eligibility) then you should contact the Financial Aid Office explain your family’s changes in circumstances and the next-steps to request reconsideration of eligibility.


Verification is a process to confirm that the information you and your parents provided on your FAFSA is accurate. The Department of Education selects FAFSAs for verification. Others may be selected by schools to clarify information.  If selected, a student cannot receive the financial aid that has been awarded until verification is completed.  If selected, any award information disclosed to the student about their eligibility is considered tentative until verification is completed.

The Financial Aid Office will request certain documentation from you to verify that the information you provided on your FAFSA is correct.  A key aspect of completing verification is confirming that the income tax information provided on the FAFSA matches the income tax information on record with IRS.  To do this, a family must either collect and submit an IRS Tax Return Transcript or submit their income tax information on the FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.

A tax return transcript is a line-by-line accounting of your tax return as it was originally filed with the IRS. Any schedules or additional forms filed will also be in the tax return transcript. This can only be obtained through the IRS and is used as verification that your tax information on your FAFSA matches what is on file with the IRS.  Access it online at:

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) is an online tool used to transfer a student’s or parent’s income tax information from the IRS’s records directly onto the FAFSA in order to confirm the tax information’s authenticity.  In most cases, if the IRS DRT is used to collect income tax information on the FAFSA then a tax return transcript will not be required.  To use it go to to file your initial FAFSA or to correct it.  Under the Financial Information tab a student or parent must indicate that they have Already Filed their taxes.  If the student or parent can answer no to the three subsequent questions about their filing status then the application will indicate that they may be eligible to use the tool and provide prompts for doing so.

There is verification worksheet that must be completed and signed by student and parent (if the student is a dependent).  Also, if any received SNAP or TANF benefits during the prior tax year then documentation of that person’s eligibility is also required.  Other documents may be required depending on the student’s application.  The Financial Aid Office will notify the student what is required to complete their application for verification.

Your Financial Aid Award

Yes!  For more information on the scholarships and grants offered at the college please visit our Scholarships and Grants web pages.

Information on federal and private student loan options can be found on our Loans webpage.

Students need to reapply for financial aid every academic year by filing a new FAFSA.  A student’s financial aid package could change from year to year depending on their eligibility for need-based funding.  The college aims to provide students with a similar level of need-based funding should their family’s financial circumstances remain similar from year to year.

If you receive an outside scholarship please notify the Financial Aid Office by providing us a copy of your outside scholarship award letter.  The outside scholarship will be incorporated into your financial aid package.  In many cases the outside scholarship is simply added to the aid already award to the student.  However, in some cases the amount of outside scholarship received will affect the student’s eligibility for need-based aid eligibility and certain need based funds may be reduced.

Need is determined through the FAFSA.  The FAFSA can be thought of as an intricate calculator that takes into consideration a student’s household size, number of students in college, geographic location, a family’s income and assets to determine a number called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC).  The EFC is NOT the amount that will be billed to a family for the academic year.  The EFC is simply a number used to determine a student’s need-based aid eligibility.  The EFC is then subtracted from the student’s Costs of Attendance (COA) to determine need.  Students are then provided as much need based aid according to their eligibility.  More information on this can be found online at

To review loan and other financing options (like a payment plan) please visit our Loans web page.