What is the FAFSA?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is used by two and four-year colleges and universities throughout the U.S. to determine eligibility for Federal, State and campus-based financial aid, which includes grants, scholarships, work study programs, and all Federal student and parent loan programs.

Students at all income levels must file the FAFSA to attend a two or four year college and are strongly encouraged to file every year by their college or university’s published deadlines to maximize their overall financial aid package. 

Filling out the FAFSA is your first step in getting financial aid. It is the application required by all schools in awarding federal student aid to those who qualify. The FAFSA form helps you get access to receive Federal Student Loans, Federal Work Study, State Grants and Scholarships, State Loans as well as Grants & Scholarships from other organizations.

How Do I File the FAFSA?

The FAFSA must be completed online at www.fafsa.gov

You may also fill out the FAFSA on a mobile device by downloading the myStudentAid app. According to the Department of Education, you’ll still need to use the FAFSA website for certain functions. You can’t file a correction through the app if you make a mistake or need to amend your form after submitting it. We recommend using a computer if possible to fill out the FAFSA. 

When Should I File the 2020-2021 FAFSA?

The 2020-2021 FAFSA is available beginning October 1, 2020, and should be submitted as soon as possible after that date, but no later than your college or university’s published deadline. The deadline for the 2020-21 FAFSA is June 30, 2021, however the sooner you submit, the better the chance you have to secure first-come, first served aid such as Pell Grants and work-study opportunities  that will help limit how much you will need to borrow using loans.

Dependency Status: Whose Information Must I Enter on the FAFSA?

Per Federal law, the student must fill out their FAFSA annually with both their own, and their parental income and asset information unless they can legitimately answer “Yes” to one or more of the following questions. Simply living on their own, and claiming themselves for tax purposes does NOT mean the student is independent for financial aid purposes.

• Were you born before January 1, 1997?
• Will you be working toward a master’s or doctorate degree (such as M.A., M.B.A., M.D., J.D., Ph.D., etc.)?
• Are you married or separated but not divorced?
• Do you have children who receive more than half of their support from you?
• Do you have legal dependents (other than children or a spouse) who live with you and receive more than half of their support from you?
• At any time since you turned age 13, were both of your parents deceased, were you in foster care, legal guardianship or were you a ward or dependent of the court?
• Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. armed forces for purposes other than training?
• Are you a veteran of the U.S. armed forces?

What Information/Documents Will I Need to Complete the 2020-2021 FAFSA?

• FSA IDs – Both the student and one parent each need to create their own unique Federal Student Aid (FSA) username and password at www.fsaid.ed.gov at least three days prior to completing the FAFSA.
• 2019 Student and Parent Federal Tax Returns (if they were filed)
• 2019 Student and Parent W2s (unless self-employed)
• A listing of any other types of untaxed income or benefits received in 2019
• Documentation from you and/or your parent's case worker with the total amount of TANF received for 2019
• Supplemental Social Security Disability received in 2019
• The total amount of child support paid and/or received in 2019
• The total amount of Federal Work Study received in 2019 (for current college students)
• Bank statements
• Investment records
• Student and parental Social Security numbers

Where Can I Get Assistance With Completing the FAFSA?

Guidance Counselors are available to answer questions, however we encourage you to attend a FAFSA Completion Workshop with area experts. As a community service, The Ohio State University at Marion offers FAFSA completion workshops during the fall and early winter. These workshops are available to you regardless of what college your child plans to attend. Please note that pre-registration is required…please see details below. 

Financial Aid Quick Guide-

Financial Aid video with OSU Marion

Financial Aid Q's & A's

FAFSA Help Ohio FAFSA Help Ohio