Financial Aid Overview
Do you need help with your FAFSA form? The Federal Financial Aid Application is the most important form you can complete to help pay for college. Our free, comprehensive guide will help you maximize your financial aid and qualify you for scholarships, grants, and student loans.
If you have any questions about the FAFSA or your financial aid eligibility please feel free to contact:
BGSU's Student Financial Aid Office
Monday-Friday 8 A.M. - 5 P.M.
Welcome to BGSU Student Financial Aid
Understanding your Financial Aid Award Letter
Taking care of your e-Bill
For more information on paying your bill, visit the Office of the Bursar.
I've already completed the FAFSA. What other options are there for helping to pay for college besides federal student aid?
First, be sure to search out and apply for any available scholarships. Start your scholarship search by using the Searchable Scholarship Guide.
After completing the FAFSA and applying for scholarships, you may find that you are still in need of more resources. We recommend contacting Student Financial Aid to discuss whether other options are available, or contacting the office of the Bursar to discuss installment payment options. If you are unable to pay the difference out of pocket and are a dependent student, consider the federal parent PLUS loan.
Where can I look for scholarships?
BGSU offers a variety of scholarships for students enrolled at the Main and Firelands campuses. More than $20 million in scholarships were offered to incoming students last year. Scholarship awards are based on different criteria, including merit, demonstrated financial need, field of study, or participation in a specific program, organization, or activity. Scholarships range from $300 to full fees and do not have to be repaid. Some scholarships are renewable, meaning you may be able to receive some awards for more than one year. Use the BGSU Searchable Scholarship Guide to search the listing of all scholarships offered by BGSU as well as selected outside organizations. Additional scholarships, external to BGSU, are available from various resources. Links to outside scholarship sources are also available on the SFA website. Also, be sure to check with your local library, church, employer, civic organizations, and guidance counselor for more scholarship opportunities.
What is a PLUS Loan and how do I apply?
PLUS stands for Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students The Federal Direct PLUS Loan is a low-interest loan parents can obtain to help pay the cost of education for their dependent student. If your award notification from BGSU includes a federal PLUS Loan, the amount offered represents the maximum available that a parent could choose to borrow. Many families find they can meet their actual educational expenses by borrowing the PLUS Loan at a reduced amount. Repayment on the PLUS Loan begins 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed, or parents have the option of beginning payment 6 months after their dependent student graduates, or is no longer enrolled on at least a half-time basis. Information about how a parent can apply for a PLUS loan can be found at the Student Financial Aid homepage: sfa.bgsu.edu. The process involves completing a PLUS Loan request at www.studentloans.gov. A federal PIN # is required. This is the same PIN # a parent would use to file the FAFSA. The process involves authorizing a credit check through the U.S. Dept of Education.
There are three options if the credit check is not approved:
- The dependent student could gain eligibility for additional Direct Unsubsidized Loan funds by contacting the Student Financial Aid office.
- The parent borrower could choose to apply for the PLUS Loan using a cosigner/endorser, or
- The parent borrower could appeal the credit decision.
The endorser and appeal processes can be found at www.studentloans.gov.
When should I apply for financial aid?
Students apply for financial aid during their senior year in high school, and most will reapply each year after that for as long as they plan to continue on in college. The FAFSA is available every year beginning January 1st. We encourage students to apply as soon after January 1 as possible in order to be considered for all federal aid programs, as some may have limited funds. The FAFSA is going to ask questions about earnings for the previous year and questions from federal income tax returns. In order to file early, you can estimate your earnings on the FAFSA, even if you or your have not yet filed your federal income tax return. If you give estimated tax information on your FAFSA in order to file early, you may need to make corrections to your FAFSA once your taxes are filed. Prior to January there are two resources that you can use to plan ahead if you would like an estimate of your financial aid eligibility. FAFSA4caster is an optional web application for families that want a preview of their potential federal aid eligibility. It can be found on the FAFSA website, www.fafsa.gov. There is also a Financial Aid Estimator on the Student Financial Aid homepage that will give you both an estimate of your financial aid eligibility and also includes estimates of BGSU scholarships. Both of these options are helpful for potential students who are still exploring their college options.
What is the EFC?
The term EFC stands for: Expected Family Contribution. Your Expected Family Contribution is the number that's used to determine your eligibility for federal student aid. The EFC is not the amount of money that your family must provide to pay for college. Rather, you should think of the EFC as an index figure measuring the financial strength of the family. The EFC is calculated through a federal formula from the answers you provide on your FAFSA. Colleges use the EFC to determine whether you qualify for need-based financial aid, such as grants or Direct Subsidized Loans.
What is the FAFSA?
FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Students complete the FAFSA so that their eligibility for federal aid programs like grants, federal work-study, and student loans can be determined. Complete the FAFSA online at www.fafsa.gov. The FAFSA website will walk you through all the questions you need to answer. Best of all, there is no charge to complete the FAFSA. To complete your application, you will need a PIN number. The PIN number is used to electronically sign your FAFSA. You can obtain your pin at www.pin.ed.gov. Most students complete a FAFSA annually, in preparation for the upcoming school year. The FAFSA is available every year beginning January 1st and we encourage students to apply as soon after January 1 as possible in order to be considered all federal aid programs, especially those that may have limited funds. Once you complete the FAFSA, the federal processor will send your application information to BGSU, and you will then be notified about the types and amounts of said available to you.
What is the difference between a dependent and an independent student?
Dependent students are required to include parent information on the FAFSA. You are an Independent student if you answer yes to any of the following questions: Will you be 24 or older before the start of next year? At the beginning of the school year, will you be working on a master's or doctorate program? As of today, are you married or separated? Do you have children who receive more than half of their support from you? Do you have dependents, other than your children or spouse, who live with you and who receive more than half of their support from you? Are both of your parents deceased, or were you a ward or dependent of the court until age 18? Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces? Are you currently serving on active duty in the Armed Forces other than for training? Are you an emancipated minor as determined by a court? Are you in a legal guardianship as determined by a court? Did your high school or school district homeless liaison determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless? Did a director of an emergency shelter program determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless? Did the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program deter¬mine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless? If you answered Yes to any of these questions, then you will be considered "Independent" and will not be required to submit parent information on the FAFSA. Please note -- you may be called upon to verify a "yes" answer if anything other than age will qualify you as Independent. If you are not able to answer yes to any of those questions but have a personal situation that makes obtaining parent information difficult, contact the Student Financial Aid office.
What is Federal Work-Study?
Federal Work-Study is a program that provides jobs for students who demonstrate financial need. Students awarded Federal Work-Study earn those funds by working at a part-time job, usually on campus. Unlike other forms of financial aid, Federal Work-Study funds are not credited against a Bursar bill. They are paid directly to the student in the form of a bi-weekly paycheck. To be considered for a Federal Work-Study you must complete a FAFSA and demonstrate financial need. Be sure to complete your FAFSA as soon after January 1 each year, as Federal Work-Study funds are limited. At BGSU, students are not assigned a Work-Study position. If you have been awarded Federal Work-Study as part of your financial aid offer and would like to earn those funds, apply for any available Federal Work-Study job posted in WorkNet. WorkNet can be accessed through your MyBGSU portal. For more questions about Federal Work-Study, contact Student Financial Aid office.
What if my financial situation has changed?
Even if you expect your family income will change for the coming year, the first step is to complete your FAFSA. After completing the FAFSA, make the Student Financial Aid office aware of your change in financial or family circumstances by completing the Special Consideration Application found on the "forms" section of the Student Financial Aid homepage. Based upon documentation you provide, it may be possible to use modified income figures when determining your aid eligibility. For more information, refer to the Special Consideration Application on the Student Financial Aid homepage.