FAQs

What is FAFSAhelpOH.org?
This website is maintained by the Ohio Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (OASFAA). OASFAA’s mission is “to ensure access to higher education through the promotion of financial aid awareness.” As the FAFSA is the primary application that institutions of higher education use to determine students’ eligibility for federal, state, and institutional financial aid programs, this website aims to help students and families get access to the resources they need to be able to complete the FAFSA.


When is the FAFSA available?
Starting with the 2017-2018 academic year, the FAFSA will be available on October 1.


How do I know which FAFSA to file?
If you are going to be enrolled as a college freshman or higher grade level starting in the Fall of 2017, you should complete the 2017-2018 FAFSA, which will be available at www.fafsa.gov starting on October 1, 2016.


What happened to College Goal Sunday?
Because the FAFSA availability date has changed from January 1 to October 1, the College Goal Sunday event, held annually on the Sunday after the Super Bowl, is no longer an effective time of the year to hold the event.


Why is the FAFSA asking me for 2015 tax information? I thought we were supposed to provide the prior year’s financial info?
Starting with the 2017-2018 FAFSA, not only will students be able to file for aid a full three months earlier than previously allowed (October 1 rather than January 1), applicants will use “prior-prior year” (PPY) tax information. The federal government made this change so that students can complete the FAFSA using tax information that has (more than likely) already been filed with the IRS, rather than using estimated information. Additionally, some FAFSAs are selected for a verification process, which requires tax information to complete, and some schools require the verification process to be completed before a financial aid award letter is mailed. When students can use actual tax information from tax returns that have already been filed with the IRS, they can submit documents for the verification process faster, which can result in receiving a financial aid award sooner.


I don’t understand PPY or “early FAFSA.”
Check out these videos from the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA). They may help!


Can I still get in-person help to complete the FAFSA?
We hope so! Please view our In-Person Help page to view locations that are offered near you. Be sure to be mindful of the registration requirements for the event that you wish to attend.


There aren’t any in-person events near me, but I still need help.
Please view the resources available under Student/Family Resources. There are videos that you can follow as well as PDF guides that may be helpful. If you still need assistance, please contact the financial aid office at the institution you are interested in attending, or one that is close to your home.


Should I complete a FAFSA if I am not sure whether or not I am going to college?
Many students are not sure if they will be attending right after high school or have been out of high school for some time. By filling out the FAFSA there is no obligation to attend, however, by completing the FAFSA form deadlines will not be missed if the student decides to apply to college later in the year.


Who will be on-hand to help me complete my FAFSA?
In-Person Events will have experts in the financial aid field – from financial aid administrators at local colleges and universities to other folks like counselors and mentors with FAFSA experience.


I’m a high school student. Whose information should I report on the FAFSA?
If you live with both of your biological parents, then you’ll need to have all of their information available. If your biological parents are divorced, you will need to include information for the parent that provides more than 50% of the support. Note: this may not be the parent who is able to claim you on your taxes. If you live with your mother year-round, but your dad claims you on his taxes because they are divorced, your mother’s information should be provided on your FAFSA. If she’s remarried, her husband’s information should be included as well.

Use this guide from the US Department of Education’s website - Who is my parent when I fill out the FAFSA?

Finaid.org is another helpful resource. This page is especially helpful – Divorce and Financial Aid


What should I bring to an in-person event?
Bring the following records for you and your parents (unless you are an independent student as defined by federal criteria), or your spouse (if you are married) so you can more easily complete the FAFSA:

  • Social Security Number (can be found on your Social Security card)
  • Driver's license (if any)
  • 2015 Federal Income Tax Returns (if you haven't completed returns for 2015, bring 2014 federal tax returns, W-2 forms, and records of other money earned during the year):
    • IRS Pin Number
    • IRS Form 1040,
    • 1040A,
    • 1040EZ,
    • 1040Telefile,
    • foreign tax return, or
    • tax return for Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia.
  • Records of untaxed income for 2015:
    • Social Security
    • Temporary Assistance to Needy Families
    • Welfare
    • Veterans' benefits
  • Current bank statements
  • Current business and investment mortgage information, business and farm records, stock, bond, and other investment records
  • Documentation that you are a U.S. permanent resident or other eligible noncitizen

How do I sign the FAFSA?
Students and parents of dependent students need to electronically sign the FAFSA in order for it to be processed by the U.S. Department of Education. In order to electronically sign the student’s FAFSA, you will need to create an FSA ID. The FSA ID – username and password – confirms your identity when you access your financial aid information, as well as serving as the electronic signature for the FAFSA and other Federal Student Aid documents. You can create your FSA ID at any time. To expedite your FAFSA-filing experience at Ohio College Goal Sunday, create your FSA ID prior to arriving at the event. You can create your FSA ID here. Click here for step-by-step instructions. (The FSA ID replaces the Federal Student Aid PIN, which some parents may already have from prior Federal Student Aid experiences. The PIN was retired in May 2015 and has been replaced by the new FSA ID. If you have a Federal Student Aid PIN, locate it before applying for your FSA ID to help the process.)