Getting Started with Need Access. Student Guide and Application Instructions. An Access Group Service

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1 Getting Started with Need Access Student Guide and Application Instructions An Access Group Service

2 Designed to Help You Get the Financial Aid You Need

3 Do it 1x only! Your school has selected Need Access as a convenient tool to collect information and assess your financial need so they can determine your eligibility for institutional financial aid such as grants and scholarships. Need Access is a secure, online financial aid application developed and offered by Access Group. Need Access allows you to complete just one application and pay one flat fee while submitting your information to as many participating schools as you like. In turn, the data collected by Need Access is used by schools to determine the most accurate financial picture of a student when awarding school-based financial aid. We recommend that you complete the Need Access application at the same time you re filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Some of the same information is required, so it makes sense to do them together. Just be sure to check the financial aid application deadline and requirements with the school(s) you select. Data the Schools Need to Award Aid The questions on your Need Access application will be dependent upon the schools you select. Different schools want to know different things. Yet, because the application is dynamic, it will create a single master application with all of the questions that you need to complete. That s why you only need to fill it out one time. 1

4 Get Started! Need Access has been designed for your convenience. All users, including returning users, start by going to NeedAccess.Org where you register and create your personal secure account. (For more information on returning users, see the Returning Users section on page 5). The registration process involves creating a user ID, password and selecting security questions. You will need your Social Security number to complete registration. Students without a Social Security number will be assigned an Applicant ID. After registering, the system will walk you through the steps to complete your application. Selecting Schools Check the list of participating schools and select those that you want to receive your information. Each school has defined specific data requirements, but you ll only have one application to complete and pay one flat fee. Hint: Remember your password! You ll need it to access your application and make changes or to renew it next year. 2

5 So, if you think you might apply to a school that s on the list, go ahead and include them. This way you can take care of everything all at one time. Providing Financial Data Prior to starting the Need Access application, be sure to review the application worksheets to give you an idea of the type of financial data you ll need to provide. Most schools require your parents financial information even if you claim independent status. Submitting the Application Need Access has a My Applications status page to indicate your progress. Once you ve finished, you will be directed to PayPal to pay any application fee. You can pay by either your PayPal account or major credit card. 3

6 Here s What Happens Next Once your payment is received, we ll process your data within minutes and transmit the information to the school(s) you ve selected. Another hint: After you submit, if you want to add more schools, log in and go to the School Selection link available on the My Applications page. Add the new school or schools, complete any new items those schools may require, and click Submit Application to resubmit. No additional payment is If this is your first required. If you discover time applying to errors or need to update any Need Access, your data, contact the financial aid fee is $28. office(s) to see if you need to If you re a update the application online returning Need or directly with them. Access applicant, Financial aid administrators your processing at your selected school(s) will fee is just $15. assess the data and determine your eligibility for schoolbased aid. You can check with the financial aid office if you have questions about the school s process or results. 4

7 If You Are Returning to Need Access If you completed last year s application, your application this year will be pre-populated with most of the information you provided. With pre-populated data, your work will be easier; all you ll need to do is: Review the information provided and update as needed. Enter new information for your income and taxes, your estimated summer and academic year earnings, prospective or current spouse information and, if applicable, any special circumstances you need to report. After you ve finished updating the application, click Submit Application. Just follow the instructions for paying the appropriate processing fee through PayPal. 5

8 Where Your Parents Come In Most schools require your parents financial data even though you claim independent status. If this is true of the schools on your list, Need Access has separate login credentials for your parents to establish their own account. This will ensure data privacy for both you and your parents. Married Parents: Both parents should enter their information in the Parent Form. Separated or Divorced Parents: Both sets of parents should enter their information in one of the following forms: Parent Form: The main supporting parent (and stepparent, if applicable) should complete the Parent Form, and the other parent (and stepparent, if applicable) should complete the Non-Custodial Parent Form. Your main supporting parent is the parent with whom you lived the majority of the time in the last 12 months. If you did not live with one parent more than with the other in the last 12 months, your main supporting parent is the parent who provided the most financial support during that time. If neither parent provided greater support during the last 12 months, it is the parent who provided the greater support during the most recent year you were supported by a parent. Non-Custodial Parent Form: The parent with whom you did not live the majority of the time in the last 12 months should complete the Non-Custodial Parent Form, along with his/her spouse, if applicable. 6

9 Before You Sit Down... Gather this financial data before sitting down at your computer. INCOME Estimated or completed federal, state and/or local income tax returns. Records of untaxed income, such as welfare, Social Security, AFDC, or veterans benefits. Assets Current bank statements, mortgage, and other real estate holdings. Business and farm records. Stocks, bonds, trust funds, IRA accounts, Keogh accounts, and other assets. Expenses Medical and dental bills that were paid in the previous year. Outstanding debts, including student loans, auto loans, and any credit card debt. Other Records Previously received financial aid. Financial aid received by you and members of your household for the previous academic year. If you filed a non-u.s. tax form, you will be asked similar questions about your income and assets without reference to the IRS forms. 7

10 Data Privacy and Security When you complete the Need Access Application online, your information is protected and confidential. You can create multiple passwords for each party completing the application. This way, each user can enter data independently and maintain confidentiality. Have questions? We re here for you. Check the Frequently Asked Questions at NeedAccess.Org your questions to Or call us at Customer Contact Center specialists are available to take your call Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. 8:00 p.m. ET. 8

11

12 The Company Behind Need Access For more than 25 years, Access Group has made higher education available to students as a nonprofit lender, financial literacy educator and loan servicer. We are proud to have successfully guided thousands of students through the financial aid process. We have a unique understanding of the needs of both schools and students. Need Access has been a valuable tool in that regard. Today, Need Access continues to be the preferred institutional need analysis service for many of the top graduate and professional schools. Access Group, providing financial support and solutions to help aspiring professionals achieve success Access Group, Inc. All rights reserved. BK633f(12/11)

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