How to check your financial aid file

If a student is selected for "verification" they will need to submit any unsatisfied requirements requested before aid becomes official and can credit to a student's bill. Unsatisfied requirements can be viewed on the student’s WebOPUS account.

  1. Sign into WebOPUS
  2. Click on My Student Profile
  3. On the left side of your profile page, click My Financial Aid (If Applicable)
  4. Make sure the Award Year in the upper right-hand corner is correct
  5. If you have unsatisfied requirements they will be listed at the top of the Student Requirements list.  Click on the drop-down arrow on the right side of the requirement to get more detail.
  6. Some requirements have links for either the directions to complete the requirement or the form that is needed.  Hover over the name of the requirement to see if it is a link.

How to accept your financial aid


  1. Sign into WebOPUS
  2. Click on My Student Profile
  3. On the left side of your profile page, click My Financial Aid (If Applicable)
  4. Make sure the Award Year in the upper right-hand corner is correct
  5. Click on Award Offer at the top of the page
  6. You can accept, modify or decline each individual award based on your needs. You may notice that certain types of aid are automatically accepted on your behalf. After you chose which awards you would like to accept, modify or decline, click on the blue Submit button at the bottom of the page.
  7. Read the terms and conditions and click the Accept button if you accept.

How to borrow federal student loans as a first time borrower

If you are a first time student borrower at Fort Lewis College complete the following steps:

  1. Complete a FAFSA application at
  2. Once you have a valid processed FAFSA, log into your WebOPUS account and accept the loan(s) you want.
  3. Go to and hover over Complete Aid Process.
  4. Click on Complete Entrance Counseling and choose your student status (undergraduate or graduate). Click "Log in to Start" (You will need your FAFSA FSA ID and password) AND
  5. Then complete a Master Promissory Note for Subsidized/Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans.
  6. The Financial Aid Office will receive electronic notice once your counseling and master promissory note requirements are met. Your loan funds will be applied to your student account.

How a parent borrows a Parent Plus Loan


If you wish to borrow a Federal Direct Parent PLUS loan, complete the required steps:  

  1. Make sure your student completes the FAFSA application at Once the Financial Office has the valid FAFSA application, and it has been processed by the Financial Aid Office, you can complete the next steps.
  2. Complete your Parent Plus loan application and your master promissory note at (The Direct Parent PLUS loan is a credit-based loan so a credit check will be completed.)
  3. The parent logs into by using their (the parent) FSA ID username and password to complete the Direct Parent Plus loan application. Specify to whom any excess funds (refund) should be sent to (parent or student) AND specify loan amount or select ‘maximum’ loan amount.
    1. Click on ‘’Parent’
    2. Click on ‘Apply for a Direct PLUS Loan’ then ‘Direct PLUS Loan Application for Parents’ - then "START’’
    3. Once your application is complete click on "Master Promissory Note" for Parent Plus Loan and complete it. The master promissory only needs to be completed if this is your first parent loan. If this is not your first Direct Parent Plus Loan you only need to complete the Parent Plus Loan application each year that you borrow. 
  4. If your loan is denied and you need an endorser on the PLUS loan, or you have successfully challenged an adverse credit decision, you will also need to complete PLUS Counseling at

How to sign a FERPA release


The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, also known as the Buckley Amendment, helps protect the privacy of student records. The Act provides for the right to inspect and review educational records, to seek to amend those records, and to limit disclosure or information from the records. The Act applies to all institutions that are the recipients of federal funding under any program administered by the Secretary of Education.  The FERPA policy and additional information can be viewed on the Registrar’s Office webpage.

If a student would like the Financial Aid Office to discuss their financial aid file with anyone else, they must sign a FERPA release indicating who their information can be shared with. The on-line FERPA release can be completed by:

Clicking on the A-Z directory on the top of the Fort Lewis College website under 'Quick Links'  – click on the letter “F” – then click on FERPA (Online Consent Form).

How to create an FSA ID

Your FSA ID confirms your identity when you access your financial aid information and allows you to electronically sign Federal Student Aid documents.  If you do not already have an FSA ID, you will need to establish one before you can submit a FAFSA application, make corrections to an existing FAFSA, or log-on to to complete loan entrance or loan exit counseling.

To create your FSA ID:  

  1. Go to and click on ‘Create Account’

Follow the steps to create your username and password

How to order a tax return transcript


The most common verification request is the IRS Tax RETURN Transcript. If the Financial Aid Office has asked for a student and/or a parent IRS tax return transcript we can only accept Federal Tax Return information received directly from the Internal Revenue Service or hand signed copies of individual taxpayer tax returns or copies from a paid tax preparer if an individual preparer's name is provided as well as their PTIN number.  A tax return with only the preparer's business name and firm's EIN number is not acceptable unless the tax filer (student or parent) has also hand signed the return.

There are three ways in which a student and/or parent can request a Federal Income Tax Return Transcript from the IRS, on-line, by mail, or over the phone.  If they qualify, they can also use the IRS Data Retrieval tool in the students’ FAFSA.

How does the IRS Data Retrieval Tool in FAFSA work?

Students and parents who have filed their current year taxes will be given the option to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool when completing the Financial Information portion of the FAFSA application. This option is available approximately 2-3 weeks after electronically filing Federal Income Tax returns and 8-11 weeks after mailing Federal Income Tax returns.

Please note, there are two separate financial information sections on the FAFSA for dependent students. Students will use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool for the Student Financial Information section and parents of dependent students will use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool for the Parent Financial Information section.

  • Upon selecting the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, users will be directed to the IRS website.
  • Users will then need to authenticate their identity before any personal information is displayed or transferred onto the FAFSA application.
  • After viewing tax data, you will then have the option to "Transfer" the tax information directly to the FAFSA application.

Who can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?

Applicants who are completing an initial FAFSA, completing a renewal FAFSA or making corrections to their initial FAFSA and meet all of the following criteria:

  • Must have valid Social Security Number(s).
  • Must have filed a the applicable Federal Income Tax Return for they required 
  • Must have an unchanged marital status as of December 31, of the previous year. Or, did not file separately from their spouse.
  • Must not have amended their tax return.
  • Must not have filed a foreign tax return.
  • Must have a valid FSA ID (username and password)

Who can NOT or should NOT use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?

Students or parents who:

  • Have filed an amended tax return for the current tax year.
  • Are married filing separately for the current tax year.
  • Filed a foreign tax return for the current tax year.
  • Anyone who provided all zeros for Social Security Numbers on tax returns.

What happens if I am selected for verification and do not use or cannot use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?

If you did not or cannot use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to transfer Federal Tax Return information to your FAFSA, you will need to obtain an official Federal Income Tax Return Transcript from the IRS and submit it to our office. If you are a dependent student, we will also need a copy of your parent(s) Federal Income Tax Transcript.

Tax filers can request Federal Tax Return Transcript information free of charge by:

  1. Online request at  “Order a Return Transcript
  2. Telephone request by calling 1-800-908-9946
  3. Paper request form using IRS Form 4506-T (form on IRS website)

What happens if I haven't filed my taxes yet?

Even if you have not completed your Federal Tax Returns for the applicable tax year, you should complete your FAFSA using tax estimates. Once current year Federal Income Tax Returns are filed, you can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to update the FAFSA by logging back onto your FAFSA using your FSA ID number assigned to you during FAFSA completion. Students will use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool for the Student Financial Information section and parents of dependent students will use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool for the Parent Financial Information section. If you are not eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, you will need to submit and official IRS Tax Return Transcript to our office.

What happens if I was a victim of IRS identity Theft and cannot obtain a current Tax Return Transcript?

  • Beginning with the 2013 tax year, tax filers who because of IRS identity theft are denied an IRS Tax Return Transcript will be referred to the Identity Protection Specialized Unit (IPSU) at toll-free number at 800-908-4490. Filers who believe they are victims of identity theft do not need to be referred to the IPSU; they may call the number directly or go to the ID theft website on IRS.GOV. Tax filers can request that the IRS mail to them an alternate paper tax return transcript called a TRDBV (Transcript Database View). It will look different from the regular IRS Tax Return Transcript

How to check your overall loan balance

On the National Student Loan Database System you can find your total student loan debt, get contact information on your federal loan servicer, and complete exit counseling. To sign in:

  1. Go to the NSLDS web site.
  2. Click on Financial Aid Review
  3. Read the Privacy Statement and click Accept
  4. Log in to NSLDS using your FSA ID (username and password)

How to apply for summer aid

Fort Lewis College does not have designated aid for summer, which means that summer financial aid is usually limited to only Federal Direct Loans, and in some cases a Federal Pell Grant. To apply for financial aid for a summer term, a student must:  

  • Complete a Summer Aid Request Form by the deadline;
  • Be enrolled in at least 6 credit hours during the summer to be considered for Federal Direct Loans;
  • Have a valid FAFSA application on file;
  • Not be on academic disqualification;
  • Not be on financial aid suspension;
  • Not have borrowed their annual loan limits;
  • Not have reached their lifetime Pell Grant or Federal loan limits.

A student’s financial aid eligibility amount is based on the number of credit hours they enroll in each summer session (module). Any changes made to their summer enrollment can cause their eligibility to change. Changes to summer enrollment after aid has disbursed can result in the student having to repay some aid they received. Students MUST consult with the Financial Aid Office before making any adjustments to their summer schedule to avoid having to pay back any of their summer aid.

Application Process:

  1. Student completes a Summer Aid Request Form and returns it to the Financial Aid Office before the Summer Semester begins.
  2. Student should watch their Fort Lewis College email for notification regarding their eligibility.
  3. Student accepts financial aid through their WebOPUS account.

Please contact the Financial Aid Office with any additional questions you may have. Summer aid request forms are usually available beginning in March.