At OSU's Office of Financial Aid, we are here to help guide you through the aid process and answer any questions you might have. Below is some basic information to help parents better understand federal aid eligibility and important timelines to keep in mind throughout the year.
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 October 1st using previous year tax data from 2 years prior (for example, the 2019-20 application will use 2017 tax information). Improvements to the FAFSA application process now allow for direct data download from your IRS 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 an FSA ID: The FSA ID is a username and password that is used to securely access Department of Education websites. You and your student each create your own FSA ID to complete and sign the FAFSA. It is also used to access other Department of Education websites, such as www.studentloans.gov, where you would complete your Master Promissory Note and Entrance Counseling. Parents can also use their FSA ID to electronically sign the PLUS Loan Promissory Note. More information can be found at the FSA ID website.
Student Confidentiality is Protected: 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 to their OSU financial aid records, they need to complete the Consent for Release of Confidential Information Form, which is valid until revoked. This form must be either submitted in person by the student with a photo ID or scanned and emailed as an attachment from the student's OSU student email.
Federal Aid Basics
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 their 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 aid has both yearly and aggregate limits. See our Undergraduate Aid Limits page for further details.
Student and Parent Contributions: For a dependent student, the FAFSA takes into account the entire 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 may still be eligible to receive a federal unsubsidized student loan offer and a parent may still apply for the Parent Plus loan.
Special Circumstances: The FAFSA application uses tax data from prior years, 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 federal aid eligibility may be recalculated based on the new information. After you have filed the FAFSA and received your initial aid offer, you may contact the Office of Financial Aid to find out if the special conditions appeal process would be beneficial. To get an estimate of how your federal aid might be impacted by changes in income before submitting an appeal, you may use the federal FAFSA4CASTER tool.
Parent Plus Loan: The Parent PLUS 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 with a fixed interest rate. 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.
*For applicants who have been determined to have an adverse credit history, but qualify for a Direct Parent by documenting extenuating circumstances or obtaining an endorser must complete the PLUS Counseling and a new Master Promissory Note.
**The PLUS loan application will not be available for 2019-2020 until May 2019. 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 180 days. Applying too early may cause delays with processing and disbursements.
***Although the Parent PLUS Loans do not have yearly or aggregate maximums, they are only available to the credit approved parents of students who are undergraduate and considered dependent for FAFSA purposes. If a student is turning 24 or will otherwise be considered independent for a given aid year, the Parent PLUS Loan option would not be available. Please review the FSA website for further information on dependency status.