Understandably, many families have questions on how to best submit the documentation that many schools require as part of the financial aid process. Our goal is to make the process of submitting documents as easy as possible so we’ve put together some tips to help you in the process.
As a first step, we suggest you view the documents required by the schools you are applying to. They can be found in the Family Portal, under the "My Documents" tab. Please keep the following in mind as you go through the process:
Your list of required documents is immediately visible upon completing your PFS.
If you know the school(s) you are applying to requires documents but they are not listed on the "My Documents" page, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. This indicates SSS needs to alert the school(s) where you’re applying so they can enter their document requirements into the system.
You have the option to either upload required documents or mail them to SSS but uploading is faster.
Your documents will be marked as received much quicker if you upload them through the Family Portal.
There’s a difference between you uploading your documents and your school receiving them.
If you upload documents online, they will be available on the My Documents page within 5 minutes of your upload. You may need to refresh the My Documents page or log back into the application in order to see the upload. It’s important to note, however, a distinction between uploading your documents and fulfilling your requirements. SSS is required to review the docs, verify their authenticity, and label them for our use. This process typically takes up to 3 business days.
Only upload your documents once.
Please be careful not to upload your documents more than once. Good news! If you are submitting a 1040 “bundle” (like Turbo Tax and other tax preparation services provide) and it includes images of your W-2(s) along with your supporting tax schedules, you do not have to upload your W-2 document(s) separately. Our system will find the W-2s with all your other tax documents and process them accordingly. If you are concerned that your upload was not successful, refresh the My Documents page or log back into the application to verify whether or not your document label appears in the correct Required Documents section.
The time it takes to verify your documentation will not make your submission late.
While there is a time lag between when you upload your documents and when the system recognizes them as “received,” the good news is that will not adversely affect your application’s timeliness. All documents will be stamped with the date they were received for processing – whether mailed or uploaded. As an example if you upload your documents the day before your application deadline, they will be time stamped on that day. The system will not show them as “received” for up to another 72 hours, but that does not mean that they will be considered late. It’s the date you upload them, not the date the system recognizes them, that will determine if your application was completed on time.
Turn off your pop-up blocker.
Our document upload wizard uses pop-up functionality. Families should always turn their Pop-Up Blocker off when working in our system.
After you have completed and submitted your PFS, you have the option to submit required documents to SSS by mail. Just log into the Family Portal and click on the “My Documents” tab in the upper right corner. Click the “Print Cover Sheet” link on that page to print our customized cover sheet. Make sure to mail your documents at least 10 days before your school deadlines time. You will find our regular and overnight mail addresses on the cover sheet as well.
The Upload Document feature is secure and easy for families to use. After paying for and submitting your application, you will see a tab in the Family Portal called “My Documents.” In this section, you will be able to see what documents have been received and processed by SSS and those still outstanding.
From the “My Documents” tab in the SSS Family Portal;
- Select the purple “Upload” button to the right of the document type name.
- In the “Add Document” window, verify you are about to upload the correct document type name by clicking “Next”.
- Use the “Browse” button to select the file you want to upload from your local machine. Click “Save”.
- Upon successfully uploading, in the status column an icon with a clock will appear until you refresh or logout and back in indicating the document upload is pending.
- As soon as the green checkmark icon appears, the document will be available for your school to view. Some documents go through a verification process that can take up to two business days complete. However, the document will be available to the schools listed on your application.
The system accepts just about every file type (i.e. PDF, JPG, TIF, GIF, Microsoft Word (doc),etc.) although it's important to note that the system can only accept files under 10MB in size.
Before uploading, families should cross out any Social Security Numbers or bank account numbers on their documents unless it’s the IRS Form 4506 which requires a Social Security Number to process. Also be sure to remove any passwords from document you upload. We cannot process password-protected documents.
Decreasing File Size Tips
It’s important to note that the system can only accept documents under 10.0 megabytes in size. Here are some tips for ensuring that your documents do not exceed the 10.0MB limit:
To avoid exceeding the document file size limit, follow these two simple but important steps:
- Scan your documents in black and white. Even if your document includes color, it is not necessary to scan your documents in color. Color scans will ultimately result in much larger file sizes than functionally equivalent black and white scans.
- Scan your documents using 200 dpi (dots per inch). Anything lower may result in poor quality of the document image.