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Financial Aid FAQ

How do I apply for aid?

Completing the FAFSA is the first step in the financial aid process. It will take seven days to process your form and send you a Student Aid Report (SAR) once all required signatures are received. Your SAR will summarize the data you report on your application. Check this information carefully to make sure it is accurate. Keep a copy of your SAR and note your Data Release Number (DRN) in the bottom left hand corner of the first page; you will need your DRN if you decide to apply to additional schools. If your FAFSA information is complete, an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) will be printed in the upper-right hand corner. Your EFC will be based on the financial information you provide on the FAFSA, and your school will use it to award your financial aid.

For additional help filling out the FAFSA, you can go to Completing the FAFSA on the FAFSA Web Site .

 

How do I answer the tax questions if I (or my parents) don't file a tax return?

If you will not file a tax return, you should answer Will Not File to question 32 (Have you completed a tax return?). You will then be taken to question 38 (Income earned from work), where you should enter any monies earned from a job that is listed as taxed on a W2 form. Then answer only those income questions that apply to you from that point on.

If your parents will not file a tax return, respond to question 70 (Have your parents filed a tax return?) the same way.

How do I answer the tax questions if I am (or my parents are) separated, divorced, or widowed?

If you or your parents are separated, divorced, or widowed, you may have filed a joint tax return for the last calendar year. However, for the tax questions on the FAFSA, even if you filed a joint return, you should separate your tax information from your spouse's as if you filed a single return.

If you are providing information about a parent, answer his/her tax questions in the same manner.

I have already submitted an application for the upcoming or current school year. May I submit another application using FAFSA on the Web?

No.

If you have already submitted an application (your school already submitted an electronic application for you, you submitted a paper application, or you filed for aid using FAFSA on the Web), do not submit another application.

If you have further questions, please refer to the Customer Service page for contact and assistance information by selecting this link or select the "Check status of a submitted FAFSA or Print a Signature Page" option from the FAFSA on the Web home page at www.fafsa.ed.gov under the "FAFSA Follow-up" section.

I have received a paper Renewal FAFSA in the mail. May I file an original FAFSA instead of a Renewal FAFSA?

Yes.

You can file an original FAFSA instead of your Renewal FAFSA. However, since an original FAFSA will probably take much longer to fill out than a Renewal FAFSA, we strongly encourage you to file a Renewal FAFSA.

You are not required to complete a renewal application. The Renewal FAFSA is not mandatory.

Remember, to do a renewal form on the Web, you must have a PIN number. However, possession of a PIN does not necessarily mean you have qualified for an electronic Renewal Form.

I submitted two applications for the same year. What will happen?

We use only the first application we receive. All other subsequent applications are deleted from our system.

If you made an error on your application, wait for your Student Aid Report (SAR) to arrive in the mail. Make any necessary corrections on this form and mail it back to us.

You may also check with your financial aid office to determine if they can do electronic corrections for you.

What if I have someone else fill out my FAFSA for me?

If you have someone else fill out your FAFSA for you (unless it was one of your parents or your spouse), you should make sure they list themselves as a "preparer" at the end of your FAFSA. They will have to provide their Social Security Number or Employer Identification Number to verify that the information they reported was correct to the best of their knowledge.

Remember, the FAFSA is a completely FREE application. If you need help filling it out, there are many free tools available to help you. You don't need to pay anyone to help you fill out your FAFSA.

The best place to look for help before you start filling out your FAFSA is at your school's financial aid office. If you have already started filling out your application and you need help with a specific question, click on the "Need Help with this Page?" link located at the bottom of every FAFSA page.

What is the PIN?


The PIN serves as your identifier to let you access your personal information in various U.S. Department of Education systems. It's like the Personal Identification Number that you get from your bank that enables you to access your account. Because your PIN serves as your electronic signature, you should not give it to anyone.


Do I need a PIN?

You need a PIN in order to perform any of the following tasks:

  • Electronically sign the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on the Web, Renewal FAFSAs on the Web, or FAFSA Corrections on the Web.
  • View the status of a submitted FAFSA application on FAFSA on the Web's Status Check.
  • View the results of a processed FAFSA application on FAFSA on the Web's Student Access.
  • Access your Federal Student Aid information on the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) Web site.
  • Access Direct Loan Entrance and Exit Counseling.
  • Make address corrections to a Direct Loan account, calculate a repayment schedule, and get interactive counseling on deferment or forbearance for any Direct Loans on the Direct Loan Servicing Web site.
  • Track the processing status of your online Consolidation Loan application throughout the entire consolidation process from application receipt to booking with Direct Loan Servicing.
  • Make updates to the e-mail or mailing address where

 

Who is eligible to receive a PIN?

Anyone who has a valid Social Security Number and is a U.S. Citizen or eligible Non-Citizen may apply for a PIN.

How do I request my PIN and how long does it take to receive?

If you are a new user and do not have a PIN, but would like to apply for one, select "Apply For A PIN" from the menu list on the left side of the PIN Home Page.

If you don't know your PIN and would like a duplicate copy, select "Request a Duplicate PIN" from the menu bar on the PIN Home Page.

If you have lost your PIN, select "Request a Duplicate PIN" from the menu on the PIN Home Page. If you think your PIN has been compromised, select "Change My PIN" from the menu on the PIN Home Page.

If you would like to have your PIN sent to a different address, or you would like to update your first name, you can select "Change My Address" on the PIN Home Page. The PIN e-mail or mailing address is the address where we send your PIN.

It will take approximately 1-3 business days after you request your PIN for you to receive an e-mail notification with instructions on how to retrieve it electronically, or 7-10 days to receive it in the mail via the U.S. Postal Service.

Professional Judgments

The office of Student Financial Services is authorized to use professional judgment, on a case-by-case basis for students with “special circumstances” that affect a family’s ability to pay for a college education that is not reflected in the information provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The FAFSA is designed to determine a family’s ability to pay for higher education by calculating the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) amount. The EFC is a measure of how much the student and his or her family can be expected to contribute to the cost of the student’s education for the year. The information provided on the FAFSA is used to calculate the EFC.

Professional judgment is used to take into consideration factors which have not been reflected on the FAFSA. The professional judgment may either increase or decrease data elements used to calculate a student’s EFC. Expenses may also be added to a student’s budgeted cost of attendance depending on the situation.

Professional judgment cannot be exercised for the following:

  • to circumvent the law or regulations
  • to waive general student eligibility requirements
  • to change a student’s status from independent to dependent
  • to adjust the EFC directly
  • to alter the need analysis formula or change table values
  • to create a new category in the cost of attendance

If you have questions about how to apply for a professional judgment, contact the office of Student Financial Services at (405) 641-3204.

Dependency Overrides

The office of student financial services may do dependency overrides on a case-by-case basis for students with unusual circumstances, provided the student can supply documentation supporting the override request.

Please note that none of the conditions listed below, singly or in combination, qualify as unusual circumstances meriting a dependency override:

  1. Parents refuse to contribute to the student’s education.
  2. Parents are unwilling to provide information on the FAFSA or for verification.
  3. Parents do not claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes.
  4. Student demonstrates total self-sufficiency.

Unusual circumstances do include (and may cause any of the above conditions) abandonment by parents, an abusive family environment that threatens the student’s health or safety, or the student being unable to locate his parents. In such cases a dependency override might be warranted.

Documentation is critical to the dependency override process. The documentation must support, and include the reason for, the decision and should in almost all cases originate from a third party with knowledge of the unusual circumstances of the student.

A third party that knows the student’s situation—such as a teacher, counselor, medical authority, member of the clergy, prison administrator, government agency, or court—should establish the unusual circumstances. Evidence can be a signed letter or an official document, such as a court order.

For more information concerning dependency overrides, contact the office so Student Financial Services at (405) 692-3204.

Notice to Borrowers

For Students and Parents of students who enter into a Title IV, HEA Student loan: The institution will submit all loan information to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). All Title IV, HEA Student loan information will be accessible by authorized agencies, lenders, and institutions.

Please review Your Rights and Responsibilities