To comply with regulations and policies, the Office of Financial Aid is required to monitor students' financial aid awards for "overawards" and correct them.

What is an overaward?

An overaward occurs when a student's financial aid package exceeds their Financial Need and/or overall Cost of Attendance (COA). They can occur when a student's total financial aid or individual award amounts exceed their limits. Aid received from another school can lead to overawards for students as well. 

Why do I have an overaward?

Overawards are most commonly caused by a student receiving aid that the Office of Financial Aid was not aware of when initially offering aid. Other common causes include:

  • Your COA changed because your residency, enrollment level, campus, major, or degree changed
  • Your Student Aid Index (SAI) increased after being selected for verification
  • Your FAFSA was corrected and data changed

The Office of Financial Aid is required to correct overawards by reducing or canceling certain types of aid.

How are overawards corrected?

The Office of Financial Aid will attempt to resolve the overaward in the most favorable way for the student. In some circumstances, this may result in a reduction of future term aid rather than current term aid to avoid creating an unexpected balance owed. 

However, there are times when the resolution results in the student owing OSU money. Typically, this occurs if the previously disbursed funds have to be reversed from the student's account. 

This is why we ask students to notify us as soon as possible when they know they will receive additional aid. Please do this by reporting the external funding as a resource in the Financial Aid Self-Service Portal, near the bottom of the Award Offer tab.

Occurs when a student's total financial assistance exceeds their COA. Financial assistance is defined as any educational cash or cash-equivalent benefits awarded due to student status, such as but not limited to:

  • Grants and Scholarships
  • Student Loans (Federal Direct, PLUS, private)
  • Employer reimbursement (e.g., Guild)
  • Need-based employment (i.e., work-study)
  • AmeriCorps or other post-service benefits
  • Most other types of aid or educational benefits


Example of COA Overaward

Estimated COA: $33,000 

Student receives $12,500 in loans, $7,000 in Pell Grant, $8,000 in scholarships, $7,500 in other grants = $35,000 total aid offer 

$33,000 - $35,000 = $-2,000 COA Overaward 

Occurs when a student's total need-based aid is greater than their financial need as determined by the FAFSA. Aid that counts toward need includes but is not limited to: 

  • Grants and Scholarships
  • Federal Direct Subsidized Loans
  • Federal Work-Study 
  • Other types of aid that do not need to be paid back (e.g., employer reimbursement, Mealbux, etc.) 


Example of a Need Overaward

Student has a COA of $30,000 and an SAI of $20,000. This gives them a Financial Need of $10,000

Student receives a $5,500 Direct Subsidized Loan and a $7,500 scholarship = $13,000 

$10,000 - $13,000= $-3,000 Need Overaward