STEP 1: File the FAFSA.
The FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is the first step to be considered for any type of federal or state aid and most institutional aid (including some scholarships). The FAFSA is available on October 1 each year and The Ohio State University has a priority date. You can still submit your FAFSA after that date, but be aware that filing earlier will provide you maximum aid consideration.
Read about how we determine aid eligibility.
- Your FSA ID username and password. Students, parents and borrowers are required to create an FSA ID, made up of a username and password, to access certain U.S. Department of Education websites. Your FSA ID is used to confirm your identity when accessing financial aid information and electronically signing federal student aid documents. Learn how to create an FSA ID.
- Your tax information. Dependent students will also need their parents' tax information.
- If you have filed taxes, use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool option to transfer IRS data directly into your FAFSA. The tool will ask you to log in by providing your name and other information exactly as you provided it on your tax return.
- If you (or your parents) are married and filed taxes separately, or you filed an amended or foreign return, you cannot use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool
- If the IRS Data Retrieval Tool is not available, you must provide an official copy of your IRS Tax Return Transcript.
STEP 2: Review your Student Aid Report (SAR).
After you submit your FAFSA, the U.S. Department of Education will send you a Student Aid Report (SAR), which is a summary of the FAFSA data you submitted and includes your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Ohio State uses the SAR to calculate the aid it can offer you.
Make sure your SAR is correct and complete.
If you have a unique situation, please contact Buckeye Link at 614-292-0300 or email@example.com.
STEP 3: Submit the Special Scholarships Application.
The university offers hundreds of special-eligibility scholarships with a wide variety of eligibility criteria. Even if you haven't heard a decision from Ohio State, you may submit the Special Scholarships Application by the priority date.
Scholarships have differing eligibility criteria, so it is important that you complete the application thoroughly so you are considered for all scholarships for which you may be eligible.
STEP 4: Watch for your financial aid offer from Ohio State.
Financial aid awards for continuing students are available to view online mid-summer (earlier if enrolled for summer term). Check your university email account for your aid notification email and follow the instructions to review your package. Keep your contact information current via buckeyelink.osu.edu.
If there have been significant changes in your family's financial situation since the tax year used on the FAFSA, Ohio State may be able to re-evaluate your Expected Family Contribution. Download the Expected Family Contribution Appeal for more information. Note that appeals require the signature of a staff member from Buckeye Link, 281 W. Lane Ave.
STEP 5: Have you been selected for verification?
Verification is a process in which Ohio State confirms the accuracy of information provided on the FAFSA. Verification is a federally mandated program to ensure accuracy in the administration of federal financial aid.
If you are selected for verification, Ohio State will notify you via your university email address.
Submit the requested items promptly (within 45 days) or risk losing consideration for some financial aid programs.
If you are required to provide your taxes, you can update your FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (see step 2 above for more information). If you are unable to use the Data Retrieval Tool, you must provide a signed copy of your IRS Tax Return Form 1040 and all schedules, or an official IRS Tax Return Transcript. For more information on requesting an IRS Tax Return Transcript visit irs.gov/Individuals/Get-Transcript-FAQs.
How verification works
Requested items needed for verification will be listed in the To Do List task of buckeyelink.osu.edu.
All of your federal and need-based aid will be on hold until verification is complete.
Once verification is complete, your To Do List will be updated.
Ohio State may adjust your financial aid package based on the results that were determined through the verification process.