I’m happy to welcome back to the blog Blaine Blontz, Admitster’s knowledgeable Financial Aid Consultant! Blaine is the founder of Financial Aid Coach, one of the country’s leading financial aid consulting firms, and has helped countless families to navigate the complex and oftentimes confusing financial aid process. If you have any financial aid questions, you can reach him at e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org
So you’ve submitted the CSS Profile, which certainly wouldn’t be mistaken for a short application, and you feel some sense of accomplishment. You’ve finished the financial aid process!
But wait, on the confirmation page you see that there could be other documents requested from schools. And there are these four letters that CSS Profile schools keep mentioning:
So what is IDOC? Well, it’s short for Institutional Documentation Service, and it’s the official online system that the College Board uses to collect families’ federal tax returns and other documents on behalf of participating colleges and programs. If you applied to several CSS Profile schools, chances are good that you will need to submit some documents via IDOC.
To log in, simply follow this link. Don’t worry, you DO NOT need all three pieces of information to log in. While most families won’t know their IDOC ID, that’s OK. You can simply use the student’s social security number and date of birth to log in. You’ll then be taken to a screen that lists the tax forms that are required and the schools that are requiring them. While you have the option to mail these forms to the College Board to submit directly, it’s recommended that you scan and upload the forms instead.
Here are the common forms requested by schools via IDOC. These examples are for those applying for the 2016-17 school year:
- Parent 2015 tax return
- Parent 2015 W-2
- Parent 2015 1099s
- Student 2015 tax return
- Student 2015 W-2
- Student 2015 1099s
- Non-Custodial Parent 2015 tax return (if applicable)
Some schools will also request other forms. You’ll also need to complete steps even if you don’t have the forms listed. For example, if the student wasn’t required to file taxes, they will still need to complete, sign and upload a non-filer form provided through IDOC.
One thing to note is the request that all files scanned and uploaded be less than 9 MB in size. Some of these documents are going to be fairly long in terms of pages, and thus they will take up significant file size. One trick to this is to use a tool like Small PDF to compress the files to a more manageable size in order to allow for upload.
So, there you have it. That’s what schools mean when they refer to IDOC. Feel free to let me know if you have any questions related to this or other financial aid matters!