(February 18, 2015) The spring semester is underway, and it will soon be time for our current students to reapply for financial aid of the 2015-16 school year. We are excited to announce the adoption of IDOC, an electronic documentation service provided by the College Board. This new tool will allow the Financial Aid Office at Pitzer to eliminate much of the paper from tax returns and verification worksheets, making the financial aid application process easier for our students.
IDOC is a service that works with the CSS PROFILE application. Once our returning students submit the PROFILE application, an email with IDOC instructions will be emailed to the student, and for dependent students, to the parent email address entered on the PROFILE application. The email will direct students to login to the IDOC site, where they can view the required documents, print a cover sheet to submit with their tax documents, and most importantly, will be the place where students can upload all of their application materials. Students may elect to mail a packet of tax documents to IDOC, but the file upload process is a new enhancement that we believe will make the application process simpler for students and their families.
The IDOC website is a safe a secure site that will allow students to upload, at one time, all of their financial aid materials: 2014 Federal Tax Returns, schedules, W-2 forms, Nonfiling statements and Verification worksheets. The confidentiality of your personal financial information is very important to us, and to the College Board. To ensure the highest level of data integrity, privacy and security, the College Board has implemented systems that include multiple firewalls with unique security zones, data encryption, intrusion detection systems, data and system backups and data integrity checks. We recognize that families are entrusting us with their sensitive financial information to determine the level of financial aid eligibility for their child here at Pitzer, and the implementation of IDOC will enable our families to know that their documents are being uploaded and stored safely and securely.
In addition, we anticipate the processing time will be much shorter with the implementation of IDOC. Once IDOC receives student tax documents, we receive an electronic file that will automatically update the student financial aid portal so our students will know what documents have been received and when. Financial aid counseling staff will then be able to begin reviewing applications and processing financial aid awards. This year we are committed to proving financial aid awards by June 30, 2015 to all students who file on time.
Last year we rolled out the latest enhancement of the financial aid student portal, allowing students to view their financial aid award online, 24/7 and print out a copy of their financial aid award. We will continue to use the portal in this fashion, and again we will send notifications to the student’s Pitzer email address when the 2015-16 financial aid award is ready to view.
The other change we are working on has been to convert the Scholarship Information Sheet into an online application that students will complete at the time of their financial aid application. This will enable us to have a completely online financial aid application for students, with the addition of the IDOC upload process.
The Financial Aid Office will be mailing current students and parents additional information about the adoption of IDOC in February. In addition, we have posted many frequently asked questions about all stages of the IDOC process that you may find useful. If you have any questions about the IDOC process, or anything related to financial aid, be sure to let us know.