The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for Next Year Is Now Available

Picture of October 1st on a Calendar

The new 2018-2019 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is now available.  Starting with the current years application, the FAFSA process has begun beginning on October 1st of each year.  Also, the IRS Data Retrieval Tool has been restored for student use during the filing process to help you import tax information directly from the Internal Revenue Service.

Useful links to help you with the process:

FAFSA Video From Federal Student Aid:

  For more post on the FAFSA.

Infographic: Anatomy of a Highly Successful Non-Traditional Student

 Anatomy of a Highly Successful Non-Traditional Student infographic

Anatomy of a Highly Successful Non-Traditional Student Infographic

Timing may never seem perfect when it comes to enrolling in school, but by adapting habits of successful students, you can achieve your goals. The Anatomy of a Highly Successful Non-Traditional Student Infographic shows how important it is to prioritize things, multitask, seek support, be disciplined and sleep regularly.

1. Prioritize

  • Now is better than later. Procrastination is poison to prioritizing.
  • Make a game plan and stick to it.
  • Be flexible. Work ahead and avoid spreading yourself too thin.

2. Multitask

  • Use calendars and create lists to maximize time and plan ahead (ex. bring school work to appointments so you can catch up on reading while you wait).‘
  • Enjoy the feeling of accomplishment when you cross an item off your to-do list.
  • Employers value employees who handle multiple priorities successfully.

3. Seek Support

  • Recognize when you feel overwhelmed and talk to family, friends, professors, advisors, coworkers.
  • Relieve stress at the gym.

4. Be Disciplined

  • You are your own disciplinarian.
  • Maturity is key; remember your priorities and keep the right mindset.
  • Be on-time and hold yourself accountable.

5. Schedule Sleep

  • When balancing work, life and school, it is important to make sleep a priority.
  • Everyone gets more done in forty well-rested hours than sixty bleary-eyed ones.

Surprise: Camaraderie is present in online settings. Many non-traditional students interact with peers regularly to discuss classes, do group work and share tips.”


Forwarding Your Volmail

The video below demonstrates how to forward your JALC Volmail account to another email address.  The process is simple, and you can redirect or stop forwarding at any time.  After you enter your email address to forward mail, you will need to go to that email address and click on the verification email that has been sent to it to verify you have access to that email account.  The is a safety precaution by Microsoft to prevent people setting up emails to spam other email addresses.

Understanding Your Professor

Inside Higher Ed logo

Each year Beloit College publishes a new list of things to keep in mind when dealing with incoming freshmen.  The list provides some inside to the experiences of these new students.  This year’s list for the Class of 2021 is here.  The list was designed to help faculty learn to adapt their teaching to the perspectives of their new students.  In other words, do not use examples from a time before these students lived unless you want to explain them.

In that spirit, here is a list created by Robert Scherrer at Inside Higher Ed about the typical 50-something professor.  So, if you you would like some insight into your professor, take a look at what his/her college years were like as described in his list.  It might give you some perspective into their way of thinking.

After reading the list, let us know what you think.

Here are the top 10 items:

  1. There was only one computer on campus. It was called “the computer.”
  2. The computer administrators knew everyone’s password.
  3. The computer crashed sporadically for no apparent reason. When it went down, everyone was out of luck.
  4. There was only one phone company. It was called “the phone company.”
  5. The phone company charged exorbitant rates for long-distance calls, so students saved money by calling home after 11 p.m. or on weekends.
  6. Roommates shared a single phone provided with their room. It was connected by a cable to an outlet in the wall. The phone couldn’t talk.
  7. The phone came with a phone book that listed telephone numbers, although most students memorized the numbers of their friends and relatives.
  8. A student who was not in their room was impossible to reach on the phone.
  9. Those who couldn’t afford to phone home could write letters, a precursor to email. These were hand delivered and took two to four days to arrive.
  10. Booking a flight home required the services of an oracle called a travel agent, who alone had access to the inscrutable airline flight schedules.

The rest of the list is here.

The FAFSA IRS Retrieval Tool to Return for Fall FAFSA Start

fafsa logo

James Runcie, the Chief Operating Officer for the US Department of Education’s Office of Financial Aid, provided written testimony to Congress yesterday about the return of the IRS Retrieval Tool.  He said the “encryption solution” for the software security vulnerability in the tool will be in place for the start of the 2017-2018 FAFSA cycle on October 1st, 2017.  So it will not be available for the remainder of this cycle, which will require the estimated 8 percent yet to file to manually enter that information.

The Chronicle of Higher Education has done a series of articles on the outage.  The most recent one is here:

Past articles include:


FAFSA / IRS Integration Tool Taken Down for “Criminal Activity”

wall street journal logo

The Wall Street Journal is reporting today that the IRS retrieval tool at the FAFSA website was taken down because of criminal activity.  for more information see my previous post on this subject here.  According to previous reports the tool should be back up in a few weeks.

The full story is here:

The Department of Education Shuts Down a Key Tool Used to Complete the FAFSA

fafsa logo

The United States Department of Education has shutdown the IRS Retrieval Tool, a key tool used when filling out the FAFSA.  The FAFSA website has this announcement:

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool is unavailable at this time. We regret any inconvenience.

To fill out a FAFSA, you can manually input your tax information. Remember, if you’re filling out the 2017–18 FAFSA form, your 2015 tax information is required (not 2016).

Politico reported that the IRS and the Education Department confirmed that the tool was shut off because of concerns that the data being used by identity thieves.  According to Politico the IRS and the Education Department joint statement said the action was “a precautionary step following concerns that information from the tool could potentially be misused by identity thieves.”  The tool could be “unavailable for several weeks.”

The absence of the tool means that students will have to enter the IRS data themselves.  Until now, the tool has been available for seven years.