Sending your child off to college is hard enough as it is. At OSU's Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, we are here to help guide you through the Financial Aid process and answer any questions you might have. Below are some items that may assist you in completing your part of your dependent student's aid application. Other items will provide you with general financial aid information to help you better understand eligibility criteria, cost of attendance, aid types available and important dates and timelines to keep in mind throughout the year.
A few things to keep in mind when trying to understand Financial Aid:
- The EFC (Expected Family Contribution) that you get by completing the FAFSA application is simply used to determine eligibility for need-based financial aid. It is the amount that the Department of Education has estimated that you and your student can contribute to their education. It is not an amount that you are expected to pay to the university. In addition, at a minimum, if a student meets the federal eligibility requirements they will be eligible to receive Unsubsidized Loans, and while loans may not be ideal they are in fact a viable option and come with many protections that consumer loan products do not. Also, parents of dependent students will be offered PLUS loans to help meet the cost of attendance as well.
- Cost of Attendance is a budget number that financial aid has to estimate what it will cost a student to attend OSU for the year. The only items included in the cost of attendance that the student is actually billed for by OSU are tuition and fees and room and board (if applicable). This is done on a term-by term basis, which means the cost of attendance can be divided in thirds to get a quarterly estimate of costs. Financial Aid does not handle the billing of student accounts, only the application of financial aid. The Business Office will be applying applicable charges to the student account.
- While we enjoy the opportunity to assist you, due to federal privacy laws we cannot discuss your student's file or account without written consent from the student.
- Be proactive and talk to your student about budgeting and planning. They are ultimately responsible for managing their financial aid experience!
Some things to remember
File the FAFSA Early: Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by applying as soon as possible after Jan. 1 using previous year tax data (for example the 2014-2015 application will use 2013 tax information). Parents and students may estimate their income information as accurately as possible in order to complete the form and submit their FAFSA by the OSU priority deadline. Income and tax information can be updated later if needed. Please keep in mind that changes in reported information can impact a student's financial aid package. Improvements to the FAFSA application process now allow for the completion of tax information questions from the IRS directly from your return! Follow the prompts while completing the application to authorize this information exchange. Always remember that there is no fee to apply for federal aid. The priority FAFSA application deadline for OSU is February 28th. This date is used to determine eligibility for some need based aid programs as well as State and Institutional funds, however you may still submit your application after this date. Applications received after the priority deadline will still be eligible for federal aid such as Pell Grant and Direct Loans.
Apply for a PIN: A PIN is a 4-digit number that is used in combination with your social security number, name and date of birth to identify you. It allows you and your student to electronically sign the FAFSA application. You and your student each apply for your own personal PIN. More information can be found at the Federal Student Aid PIN Web site. Parents can also use the same PIN to electronically sign the PLUS loan promissory note.
Student Eligibility: OSU uses the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine a student’s financial need and eligibility for various aid programs. A student’s financial aid award is designed to meet as much of his/her financial need and eligibility as possible, and is determined by the student’s need level and availability of funds. OSU offers merit-based scholarships, need and non-need based financial aid.
Student and Parent Contributions: According to the federal government, a dependent student and his/her family are expected to contribute toward the cost of the student’s education. The FAFSA takes into account a family’s financial picture, with allowances for federal and state taxes, college costs for siblings, asset protection, medical expenses, and other factors, and determines how much the student and the family can be expected to reasonably contribute toward their education. However, even if a student has no financial need as determined by the FAFSA, they are still eligible for some form of financial aid.
Special Circumstances: The FAFSA application uses tax data from the previous year, which may not always be an accurate reflection of your current situation especially in these difficult economic times. The Department of Education allows for an institution to use professional judgment to change certain elements of the FAFSA application if adequate documentation can be provided. If you or your family has experienced a loss of employment, change in marital status, or other extraordinary circumstance since you completed the FAFSA, you may appeal to have your situation reviewed by our office. If approved, your aid eligibility and financial need may be recalculated, based on the new information. You must file your FAFSA in the standard way and then submit your additional documentation for your special conditions appeal. Please contact our office for more information on this process.
Student Confidentiality: According to the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)OSU cannot release a student’s financial records to anyone without the student’s written consent, regardless of the student’s age, who is paying the student’s bills, or has power of attorney status over the student. If a student wants someone else to have access his/her OSU financial aid records, they need to complete the Consent for Release of Confidential Information Form, which is good for one academic year.
Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (FDPLUS)- The FDPLUS is a federal loan borrowed by the parent on behalf of a dependent student to assist with educational expenses. Students are awarded the maximum amount they are personally eligible to receive, after which PLUS loans are automatically offered to the parents of dependent students to meet the cost of attendance. As with all loans, you are not required to take it. Parents are required to complete a FAFSA application to be eligible for a Direct PLUS Loan, and the parent must complete a Direct PLUS Loan Application and Master Promissory Note (MPN) on the Federal Loan website. The PLUS is a non-need based loan currently at 6.41% interest rate, but rates are subject to change yearly based on variable rate changes. Interest is charged on the loan from the date the first disbursement is made until the loan is paid in full. Payment can be deferred while the student is attending school at least half-time, but interest will continue to accrue.
*Important note about Parent PLUS loan applications: The PLUS loan application will not be available for 2014-2015 until May 2014. If you attempt to apply prior to that date you will be told that OSU does not participate in the program. Rest assured, OSU DOES participate in the Federal Direct Parent PLUS loan program. Applications for parent PLUS loan requires a credit check each time the parent applies for the loan and is only valid for 90 days. Applying too early may cause delays with processing and disbursements. Students can review their file status by logging into MyOSU.