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For Parents & Families

You and your son or daughter are making a big decision. We're here to help. 

About a Mercyhurst Education

There's a thousand things that make a Mercyhurst education different than the rest -- we've gathered some of the highlights for you to review:

  • Why Mercyhurst? - From close student-faculty relationships to our vibrant, sprawling 75-acre campus, learn what sets us apart from the rest.
  • Why a private education? - Students are more likely to graduate, graduate earlier, and receive a well-rounded, liberal arts education that employers value. Plus, research shows that first-generation and minority students are more likely to succeed at a private college or university. Learn more about the value of a private education.
  • Affordability - We're one of the most affordable private institutions in the region. We work hard to keep tuition low and provide millions of dollars in financial aid to our students. The average freshman four-year financial aid package exceeds $70,000. 

We also strive to make the admissions process clear and convenient. You and your son or daughter will work closely with your admissions counselor throughout the entire process. Your counselor will not only review your student's application and make an admission recommendation to the Committee on Admissions, he or she will also put together a financial aid package specific to your student's credentials, skills, interests, and characteristics.

Resources for Current Parents

We encourage current parents to consult the Family Guide for an in-depth look at Mercyhurst's academic, student, wellness, and technology services. Our campus life team has also incorporated a series of "Keys to Success" into the guide, providing you with useful talking points for ensuring your student is making the most of his or her education. 

Mercyhurst University Family Guide

 

Information for Parents and Their Students Concerning FAFSA Verification

What is the FAFSA verification?
The U.S. Department of Education requires approximately thirty percentage of all FAFSA applications be selected for review in a process called "Verification". If your FAFSA was selected for verification, Mercyhurst University is required by the Department of Education to verify certain data that you provided on your FAFSA application. The Office of Student Financial Services contacts selected students and their parent(s) via a letter mailed to the home address, and also an e-mail to the student's Laker account. The letter that is sent to the student's home address contains an official verification worksheet and instruction page. The verification worksheet and all required income documents should be returned to the Student Financial Service Office within 30 days. This process takes several weeks to complete after Student Financial Services receives the documentation, so prompt attention to this request is essential for the timely processing of your financial aid.  Note: Federal aid will not be awarded or disbursed until verification is complete.

Options to Obtain Income Information Required for Verification

The fastest and most secure way to verify your income if you filed a U.S. federal income tax form is by using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT). Click IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) for detailed instructions.

Exceptions: The Federal IRS Data Retrieval cannot be used for the 2016-2017 FAFSA application if:

  •     A Federal Tax Return for 2015 has not been filed.
  •     The Federal Tax filing status is married filing separately.
  •     An Amended Tax Return was filed for 2015.
  •     A Puerto Rican or other Foreign Tax Return has been filed.
  •     The tax filer was a victim of identity theft.

Alternate ways to provide the required documentation for verification of 2015 income are listed below:

  • U.S. tax filers not using the IRS DRT within the FAFSA will need to contact the IRS to obtain a 2015 tax return transcript (not an account transcript).
  • For parents or students who filed 2015 federal income tax as "Married but Filing Separate Returns", a tax return transcript is required for each party.
  • For divorced/separated parents or students who filed "Married- Filing Joint Return" provide a copy of the 2015 tax return transcript and all W-2 forms.
  • Parents and/or students who had income but were not required to file taxes should provide a copy of all 2015 W-2 and 1099 forms.
  • Individuals who filed a 2015 tax extension form must provide each of the items listed below:
    • a signed copy of the 2015 federal tax extension form (IRS Form 4868)
    • copies of all 2015 W-2 forms for each wage earner and/or
    • signed self-employment earnings statements (with an estimated Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)
  • Individuals who amended their 2015 federal income taxes should submit:
    • a 2015 tax return transcript obtained from the IRS
    • a signed copy of the 1040X amended tax form
  • Parents who filed Puerto Rican or foreign income tax forms must submit a copy of the foreign tax form that was filed in that country.
  • Victims of identity theft who cannot get a copy of their 2015 tax return transcript can:
    • Contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit (IPSU) toll free at 1-800-908-4490. After the IPSU authenticates the tax filer's identity, request an alternate paper tax return transcript known as the TRDBV (Transcript Data Base View). This will be accepted as verifiable documentation.

 

IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT):  

 

The IRS DRT is the fastest, easiest and most secure method of meeting verification requirements. To verify tax data, the U.S. Department of Education and the University encourage students and parents to use the IRS DRT to import data from their tax return directly to the FAFSA, either at the initial FAFSA filing or through the FAFSA corrections process. For the retrieved data to be acceptable documentation of tax data, it is necessary that neither the student nor the parents change the data after it is transferred from the IRS.

To use the Data Retrieval Tool while making a correction to an already processed FAFSA, complete the following steps:

  • Go to fafsa.ed.gov
  • Log in using student’s FSA ID
  • Click “Make FAFSA Corrections”
  • Select the "Financial Information" tab from the top of the page.

Instructions for the parent to request the parent IRS information:

  1. Select “Already Completed” from the dropdown in the tax filed field. (If you have not filed your taxes yet then you will not be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) at this time.)
  2. Indicate your filing status. (Married individuals must file as “Married-Filed Joint Return” in order to be eligible to use the IRS DRT).
  3. Answer “Yes” or “No” to the next series of questions. If you answer “Yes” to any of these questions, you will not be able to utilize the IRS DRT.
  4. If eligible, select which parent is providing information on the FAFSA.
  5. Enter the FSA ID for the parent providing the information.
  6. Click "Link to IRS". You will receive a message that you are leaving FAFSA on the Web. Click OK.
  7. Fill in any blank fields and submit. Once the IRS validates your identification, your tax information will display.
  8. Select the “Transfer My Information into the FAFSA” option, then click on “Transfer Now”. You should receive the response “You have successfully transferred your 2015 tax information”.
  9. YOU ARE NOT DONE! If your student filed taxes, go to the next set of instructions for the student to request the IRS information. Otherwise, proceed to “Sign and Submit Your FAFSA Corrections”.

Instructions for the student to request the student IRS information:

  1. Go to "Student Financial Information" page.
  2. Repeat the process above; only use the student's FSA ID instead of the parent's.
  3. Once the student's tax information has been transferred into the FAFSA, proceed to the sign and submit section.

Sign and Submit Your FAFSA Corrections

  1. Once you have transferred all tax information from the IRS to your FAFSA, DO NOT CHANGE ANY OF THE TRANSFERRED ELEMENTS. We can only accept information that is unchanged as accurate documentation of your current tax data.
  2. Complete the Sign and Submit section by entering each required FSA ID, then click “Submit My FAFSA Now”. A confirmation page will be produced with a confirmation number and Expected Family Contribution (EFC) number.