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Completing the FAFSA - Parents

Each year, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA serves as the application for all federal, state, and institutional financial aid at Ohio University. Ohio University does not have an institutional application for aid, but currently enrolled students must apply separately for scholarships on our web site during the winter quarter.

The FAFSA becomes available January 1. Apply as soon after January 1 as possible each year; do not wait to be admitted before applying for aid. We recommend you file the FAFSA no later than February 15 to ensure the results reach us by the first priority deadline.

Ohio University’s first priority deadline for processed FAFSA results is March 15.

The U.S. Department of Education has simplified the FAFSA process into three sections:

  1. Before Beginning a FAFSA
  2. Filling out a FAFSA
  3. FAFSA follow-up

Processing Time

Processing time for the FAFSA online takes two to four weeks. Processing time for the paper form can take up to six weeks.

Completing the FAFSA online is strongly encouraged. However, if you prefer to file a paper FAFSA, you can obtain a copy by calling the U.S. Department of Education at 800-4FED-AID (800-433-3243).

Important Dates


January 1:

FAFSA becomes available. Complete as soon as possible after this date.

February 15:

Recommended FAFSA completion date (allow 4 weeks to process).

March 15:

Ohio University’s first-priority deadline.

Ohio University has a first-priority deadline of March 15 to be considered for the most possible aid. This is the date by which we need the processed results of your FAFSA.

Early April:

Incoming freshmen awards are available.

Mid April:

If selected for verification, submit all requested documents by April 15.

Mid-May:

Upperclass and graduate student awards are available.

Ohio University School Codes

When completing the FAFSA, you will need to list a Federal School Code. If your student attends the main Athens campus, the school code is 003100. If your student attends a regional campus, you will need to list the regional campus code:

  • 003100 - Athens campus
  • 003101 - Eastern campus
  • 003102 - Chillicothe campus
  • 003103 - Southern campus
  • 003104 - Lancaster campus
  • 003108 - Zanesville campus

Common FAFSA Questions

Definition of Parent: When filing the FAFSA, the parent is defined as the biological or adoptive parent(s) of the student. A legal guardian, grandparent, or foster parent is not considered a parent unless they have legally adopted the student. If the student’s parents are divorced or separated, the data on the FAFSA should be for the parent the student lived with more during the past 12 months. If that parent is remarried, the data must include the stepparent’s information.

Parental Income: If you are the parent/stepparent of a dependent student (as defined above), the FAFSA requires your tax/income/asset information as well as your student’s.

Tax Returns: If you have not yet filed your taxes, you can use estimated income information rather than a completed tax return. Once you file your tax return, you should compare the tax data to the estimated data on the FAFSA. If corrections are necessary, please send your completed tax forms to the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships. Student and/or parent signatures are required on all tax forms.

Change of Income: After you file the FAFSA, your family’s income may change based on unemployment, retirement, divorce, or death. Additionally, your nontaxable income may change due to the termination of social security benefits or child support. Changes in income merit additional review by the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships and may mean possible changes in a student’s financial aid eligibility.

To learn more about change of income processes, please click here.

Status of Application for Aid: After you file the FAFSA, you can check the status of your application here

Verification: Some students will have their FAFSAs selected for a process called verification. This means that the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships must determine the accuracy of the data reported on your student’s FAFSA.

Most schools are required to verify 30% of their student population. However, Ohio University participates in the Quality Assurance Program and, therefore, we are permitted to select our own groups of students to verify.

If your student’s FAFSA is selected for verification by the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships at Ohio University, we will notify your student and explain exactly what documents and information we need from your student and your family in order to complete verification. All requested verification documents should be in our office by April 15.

Because of Ohio University’s participation in the Quality Assurance Program, we do not want families to send us documents for verification unless we specifically request them--even if your Student Aid Report (received after you file the FAFSA) indicates your student was selected for verification by the federal processor.

Sometimes we award a student financial aid before verification is completed. If so, your student’s award is tentative pending the completion and outcome of verification.