Student Financial Aid
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What are the office hours for BGSU Student Financial Aid?
Answer: The office is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM. Counselors are available until 4:30 PM daily and may be seen without an appointment.
Question: How and when should I apply for aid?
Answer: To apply for need-based financial aid, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA) online at www.FAFSA.ed.gov. Students can begin completing the FASFA as soon after January 1 as possible and are encouraged to have it submitted by February 15 due to limited funding for some need-based programs. Students must apply for financial aid on an annual basis.
You may estimate your income as accurately as possible if you have not yet filled a federal income tax return. After the tax return is filed, you may go back online to the FASFA website and make any necessary corrections
Students are encouraged to access the Searchable Scholarship Guide on the SFA website for a listing of potential scholarships through the college offices and departments. Deadlines vary for each award. We suggest to begin searching for scholarships in early January for the following academic year. Entering freshmen students wishing to be considered for University Freshman Academic Scholarships must submit your credentials to BGSU (Choose BGSU) by January 15 prior to your planned enrollment.
See also: The Financial Aid Process
Question: Can I apply for aid if I haven't completed my federal income tax return?
Answer: Yes, you may complete the FAFSA using estimated income. After Federal income taxes are filed, you may go back online to the FAFSA website and make any necessary corrections.
Question: What if I don't have a copy of my (or my parent's) federal income tax returns?
Answer: Contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 or visit their website and request an "RTFTP". This is a summary of the tax information filed. For copies of W-2s, contact the employers.
Question: How can I confirm that if my FAFSA has been processed?
Answer: You may check on the status of your FAFSA by using one of the following methods: 1) Review your my.bgsu.edu account and click on "Financial Aid Status" to verify that BGSU has received your information, 2) Call the Federal Processor automated phone line at 1-800-433-3243, or 3) "Check the Status of Submitted FAFSA" on the Federal Student Aid web site at www.fafsa.ed.gov.
See also: The Financial Aid Process
Question: I have completed and submitted the FAFSA, what happens next?
Answer: You will receive confirmation by e-mail within 3-5 business days that your FAFSA has been processed. Review the Student Aid Report (SAR) for accuracy. The colleges/universities listed on the Student Aid Report (SAR) will use this information to determine your eligibility for financial aid and notify you with an Award Letter. The colleges/universities also notify the student if any other information is required to complete the financial aid process.
Question: What is verification?
Answer: Verification is the process of reviewing the information reported on the FAFSA for accuracy. If your application is selected, SFA is required to collect certain financial documents (e.g., federal income tax returns) from you and your parents or spouse, if applicable. Information from these documents are compared to your FAFSA information and corrections are made when necessary. SFA may select applicants for verification to correct any conflicting information. Verification forms are available from the SFA office or you may download them from Downloadable Forms on the website.
Question: How do I sign the electronic Federal Direct Stafford Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN)?
Answer: The Master Promissory Note (MPN) must be signed by all first-time borrowers of Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans. If you plan to borrow these loans, go to your my.bsgu.edu account, click on "Financial Aid Status", "Accept/Decline Awards", and click on the appropriate aid year. Place a check mark in the Accept box by the subsidized and/or unsubsidized loans. Sign the MPN online (using Federal PIN) at www.studentloans.gov.
When the Federal Loan Origination Center (LOC) confirms that a valid MPN is on file, no additional master promissory notes need to be signed. The promissory note is valid for ten years.
Question: What should I do if I have not received an Award Letter from BGSU?
Answer: Call SFA to verify that your FAFSA information was received. You should also review your SAR to confirm you have BGSU listed on the FAFSA. If BGSU is not listed, go to www.fasfa.ed.gov to make a correction and include BGSU so the FAFSA will be forwarded electronically. BGSU's Federal school code is 003018.
Question: What is the definition of Academic Level?
Answer: For the purposes of financial aid packaging, SFA complies with University policy for determining your Academic Level. Review the chart below:
Credit Hours Completed
0 - 29
30 - 59
60 - 89
90 - Beyond
Beyond Bachelor's Degree
12 or more credit hours = full time
8 or more credit hours = full time
9 - 11 credit hours = three quarter time
6 - 7 credit hours = three quarter time
6 - 8 credit hours = half time
4 - 5 credit hours = half time
1 - 5 credit hours = less than half time
1 - 3 credit hours = less than half time
See the Understanding Your Financial Aid Award Brochure (pdf) for specific information on the enrollment status required for each financial aid program.
If you plan to transfer to BGSU from another institution and have already completed the FAFSA, make sure you have BGSU listed as one of the colleges and universities to receive the results. If BGSU was not listed, follow the instructions on the Student Aid Report (SAR). BGSU's federal school code is 003018.
If you were awarded a subsidized or unsubsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loan or Federal PLUS Loan, contact the servicer to cancel the remaining disbursements and obtain a deferment form.
If you were awarded a Federal Perkins Loan, notify the financial aid office at your current institution and obtain a deferment form. A loan exit interview is required.
Question: I am a BGSU student and plan to take classes at another university as a transient, concurrent or guest student. How can I utilize my financial aid?
Answer: Complete a Consortium Agreement (pdf) at least one semester prior to enrollment at the visited institution. This is a downloadable form on the SFA website.
Question: Is financial aid available for summer sessions?
Answer: Yes. To receive financial aid for the summer, you must first file the FAFSA for that school year (summer starts our financial aid year) and also complete a Summer Session Financial Aid Application. This form is available from SFA or you may download it from Financial Aid Forms. Additional information about summer aid is contained in the Important Notice Concerning Summer Financial Aid.
Question: What is Federal Work-Study and how do I find a job?
Answer: Employment through the Federal Work Study (FWS) Program is based on financial need as determined from data reported on the FAFSA. If you are eligible for the FWS program, the maximum amount you may earn will appear on the Award Notification sent to you by SFA. To receive FWS funds, you must obtain a FWS job and be enrolled at least half time (undergraduate is 6 credit hours and graduate is 4 credit hours). Your FWS funds will be provided to you via a paycheck for the hours you actually work. Earnings are NOT applied to your Bursar billing account. FWS job opportunities can be viewed online through the Student Employment Services WorkNet link. Students interview and are hired by prospective employers. Income earned through the FWS program can be excluded from total earnings on the subsequent year's FAFSA.
Question: What happens if I do not find a Federal Work-Study job?
Answer: Receipt of Federal Work-Study (FWS) funds is dependent on receiving a job that pays with FWS money. If you do not find an FWS job, notify SFA to see if the FWS funds may be awarded to you through another aid source (usually loans). SFA will re-award your FWS to another student if it is unused.
All students may apply for a "regular" paid position whether they have been offered FWS funds or not by visiting the Student Employment Services WorkNet link.
Question: What other financing options are available besides federal, state, and BGSU financial aid programs?
Answer: Families who do not qualify for a full financial aid package or who seek alternate ways to meet expenses may wish to consider the following options:
BGSU's installment payment plan can spread costs over nine payments per year. Contact Bursar's Office for additional information.
Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) are available for parents of undergraduate dependent students.
Alternative/Private Loans can help bridge the gap between college costs and traditional funding sources. Private loans are made in the student's name, usually with a cosigner. BGSU recommends the Fast Choice private loan comparison tool.
There are many part-time employment opportunities on campus for students who do not qualify for the Federal Work-Study Program. Contact the Student Employment Services for additional information.
Bursar Terms and Transactions
Question: What is the definition of Deferments and Disbursements?
Answer: Deferments are the estimated or anticipated payments of a student's financial aid awards prior to the actual disbursement of those payments. Deferments appear on the student's Bursar account and assist in determining the remaining portion of the student's Bursar account to be paid by sources other than financial aid.
Disbursements are the actual payments of the specific financial aid awards to a student's Bursar account. Disbursement of the aid will occur no earlier than 10 days prior to the beginning of the semester for which it is to be used. A student's financial aid will not disburse until the application is complete and all requirements for each aid type are met.
Question: What is the definition of awards that do not disburse to my Bursar account through Student Financial Aid?
Answer: Most types of financial aid automatically disburse to your Bursar account through Student Financial Aid.The following types of financial aid do not disburse through the financial aid system and are applied directly to your Bursar Account upon receipt of payment from the donor or agency.We want to remind you that the funds received from external agencies and donors must be reported to Student Financial Aid and may result in an adjustment to your financial aid package.
Alternative Loans. Payments are forwarded to the Office of the Bursar from the loan provider(s) upon receipt of a completed application and an approved credit check. Contact your loan provider for additional disbursement information.
BGSU Graduate, Employee or Dependent Fee Waivers. Graduate students and BGSU employees and their dependents must complete the appropriate paperwork with their hiring department before waivers are applied to their Bursar account.
BGSU Departmental Scholarships. Some departmental scholarships require payment authorization from the BGSU Foundation/Development Office before the scholarship funds are disbursed to your Bursar account. Questions regarding payments should be directed to the awarding department.
External (to BGSU) Scholarships/Awards and Employee Reimbursements. BGSU receives notification of hundreds of external scholarships and employee reimbursement opportunities throughout the year with various disbursement requirements. Contact the donor or your employer for disbursement information.
Federal Work Study. To have Federal Work Study funds applied to your Bursar account, you must first obtain a work study job through Student Employment Services. Once you have obtained a job and begin working you will receive a paycheck for your services.The paycheck may be directly deposited to a checking or savings account ( for more details contact the Payroll Office at 419-372-2201 ) or obtain a direct deposit request form from the Bursar's Office. Arrangements for applying your paycheck directly to your Bursar account should be made with the Office of the Bursar.
Question: What do I do if I or my parents will experience a change in income or benefits for the coming school year?
Answer: Click here for a Special Consideration Application and tell us about your situation. All requests for special consideration or adjustments to the student's aid package must be accompanied by appropriate documentation. You will receive a written request if additional information is needed to process the Special Consideration Application.
Question: What is the definition of Dependency Status?
Answer: To be considered an independent student for financial aid consideration, you must be able to answer "yes" to at least one of the thirteen questions in Section Two of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). If you cannot answer "yes" to at least one of these questions, you are considered a dependent student and must include parental information on the FAFSA form. However, if you feel you have extenuating circumstances and should be considered an independent student, click here to apply. At BGSU, the following situations are not usually considered to be valid reasons for independent student status:
- You do not reside with your parents
- Your parents refuse to pay for your college education
- Your parents are not financially able to pay for your education
- You were married after you applied for financial aid
- You do not want your parents' help and have decided to pay for your own college education.
Question: How do I apply for Ohio residency?
Answer: Questions about residency should be directed to the Office of Registration and Records.