Frequently Asked Questions

Application Process

To apply for need-based financial aid, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at Students can begin completing the FAFSA as soon after October 1 as possible and are encouraged to have it submitted by January 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 FAFSA 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 November for the next 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. 

003018 (You must enter this code if you are requesting financial aid consideration for BGSU's Main or Firelands campus).

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.

Visit the IRS ( website and request a Tax Return Transcript.  For copies of W-2s, contact the employers or request an IRS Wage and Income Transcript.

You may check on the status of your FAFSA by using one of the following methods: 1) Review your 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

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.

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 tax transcripts) 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.

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 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 FSA ID) at

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. 

Check out a step-by-step video here.

Incoming freshman, beginning in the Fall semester, can expect to receive their financial aid award letters by late-February. They will receive a mailed award letter sent to their permanent address.

While Continuing and Transfer students can expect to receive their award letters by mid-April and will be notified by email.

Once award letters are available, all students can view them by logging into their MyBGSU Student Center.

Review your SAR to confirm you have BGSU listed on the FAFSA. If BGSU is not listed, go to to make a correction and include BGSU so the FAFSA will be forwarded electronically. BGSU's Federal school code is 003018. You can also call SFA to verify that your FAFSA information was received. 

Enrollment/Academic Status

For the purposes of financial aid packaging, SFA complies with University policy for determining your Academic Level. Review the chart below:

Credit Hours Completed

Academic Level

0 - 29


30 - 59


60 - 89


90 - Beyond


Beyond Bachelor's Degree


Federal and state financial aid is based on the following enrollment:

Undergraduate Students

Graduate Students

12 or more credit hours = full time

8 or more credit hours = full time

9 - 11 credit hours = three quarter time

5 - 7 credit hours = three quarter time

6 - 8 credit hours = half time

4 credit hours = half time

1 - 5 credit hours = less than half time

1 - 3 credit hours = less than half time

In order to be eligible for Federal Student Loans, a student must be enrolled at least half-time status (6-8 credits for Undergraduates and 4 credits for Graduate students).

At least 10 weeks prior to enrolling at BGSU, transfer students should complete the following:

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.

To use financial aid at BGSU and another instituion, you will need to complete the Consortium Agreement. There are terms and conditions that students need to review to make sure they are eligible to do a consortium. The form can be found on the Financial Aid forms page.

To encourage the completion of degree/certificate programs within a reasonable time frame and to comply with federal requirements, financial aid recipients must maintain satisfactory academic progress as a condition for receiving financial aid. Satisfactory academic progress requires financial aid recipients to do the following:

  1. Meet minimum cumulative grade point averages listed below;
  2. Satisfactorily complete at least 67% of cumulative credit hours attempted and
  3. Complete the degree/certificate program within the maximum attempted hours listed below.

Financial aid recipients who do not meet these conditions will lose their financial aid eligibility. Therefore, withdrawing may affect the status of your satisfactory academic progress.

Refund Example

The following example illustrates how the federal refund policy would affect a student who withdraws from classes at BGSU:

Student is attending Fall Semester which is 117 calendar days in length.

Financial Aid: Pell Grant $1,650
Direct Subsidized Loan $3.390
Total Financial Aid Award $5,040
Tuition & Fees $1,621

Financial Aid disbursed to student after Tuition and Fees are paid $3,419

Student withdraws on the 24th day of the semester, which is the fourth week (40% period). Consult Undergraduate Catalog for BGSU Institutional Refund Policy.

Percent of federal financial aid earned:

Completed days 24
Total days /117
Percentage earned 20.5%

Amount of federal financial aid earned:

Percentage earned 20.5%
Aid awarded *$5,040
Aid earned $1,033.20

Amount of federal aid to be returned :

Aid awarded $5,040.00
Aid earned $1,033.20
Unearned aid to be returned $4,006.80

Of the $4,006.80 that needs to be returned to the Dept. of Education:

BGSU returns
(79.5% of institutional charges)
Student returns $2,718.10

BGSU would return $1,288.70 to the Direct Loan Program. The student would return $2,101.30 to the Direct Loan Program, under normal repayment terms. The amount to be returned to grants are reduced by 50% , so the student would return $308.40 (616.80 - 50%) to the Pell Grant Program.

Since BGSU had to return financial aid funds used to cover tuition & fees, the student also will be billed by the BGSU Bursar's Office for $972.60 (60% of charged fees), $1,288.70 (unearned loan funds), and 308.40 (50% of Pell Grant). Totaling $2,569.70.

The policy and worksheet used to determine the amount federal financial aid funds that must be returned are available in the BGSU Bursar’s Office or SFA.

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.

Can I receive financial aid for studying abroad?

Yes, you may receive Title IV financial aid if the enrollment in a program of study abroad is approved for credit by the institution. If you are an eligible student and enroll in a Bowling Green State University sponsored study abroad program, you are able to retain all Title IV federal financial aid (excluding Federal Work Study) and most state and institutional financial aid. Bowling Green State University offers several types of study abroad programs: 1. BGSU-sponsored Study Abroad and National Student Exchange Programs; 2. Ohio International Consortium (OIC); and 3. Third Party Affiliate Provider Programs.

Students going abroad in a non-BGSU sponsored program normally can receive federal financial aid. These programs are accredited by other institutions. Depending on which program the student is participating in will determine if a consortium or contractual agreement is needed. Students are not eligible to use BGSU scholarships for non-BGSU programs.

Is financial aid affected if studying abroad for one semester only?

Based on a new federal requirement, if students are participating in a one-semester study abroad program, their Federal Direct Loans (Subsidized, Unsubsidized and PLUS loans) must be split into two equal disbursements. The first disbursement will occur at the beginning of the semester and the second disbursement will occur at the mid-point of the semester.

How do I apply for financial aid and how am I notified about eligibility?

You must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be considered for federal and state grants, and federal loan programs. This application is completed on-line annually at The federal government forwards an electronic summary of the FAFSA results to Bowling Green State University which Student Financial Aid (SFA) uses to determine financial aid eligibility. Entering freshmen and transfer students receive a paper award letter and continuing students are notified with an email notification directing them to view the award package on MyBGSU.

Can I use a BGSU scholarship when studying abroad?

Students can use BGSU scholarships if awarded by SFA or the Office of Admissions for BGSU-sponsored study abroad or Ohio International Consortium programs based on full-time enrollment. This does not include room, board, or book scholarships, which are specific to the Bowling Green campus. If a student is studying abroad through another Ohio college, U.S. school, Third Party Affiliate Provider program, or by direct enrollment at a foreign institution, you cannot use a BGSU scholarship at the visited institution.

If you were awarded a scholarship through a BGSU college office or academic department, contact their staff to determine if these funds can be used for studying abroad.

Can I receive financial aid if participating in a study abroad program offered by another college or university?

If you are participating in a program offered through another university (a non-BGSU program), you are considered a guest student and must complete a Consortium Agreement. All sections of the agreement must be returned to SFA. You can download the consortium agreement from the Financial Aid Forms page on the SFA website.

Can I receive financial aid if I'm not a BGSU student, but am participating in a study abroad program offered by BGSU?

If you are not a BGSU student, but will be participating in one of our study abroad programs, you are considered a guest student at BGSU. Contact the financial aid office at your "home" institution and initiate a consortium agreement with them, because they will process and determine your aid eligibility.

When should I contact the SFA Office to inquire about using financial aid while studying abroad?

Contact the SFA Office at least one full semester before your planned study abroad program begins.

Can I qualify for additional financial aid since my expenses will be different while studying abroad?

Students studying abroad are assigned a different budget for financial aid purposes to allow for additional expenses (airfare, passport, visa, etc.) related to the program. Please note that budget adjustments do not change the student's eligibility for federal or state grants or federal student loans. Typically, a budget adjustment will only revise the amount a student can borrow from an alternative/private loan from a lending institution/credit union of your choice or a dependent student's PLUS (Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students) Loan.

Can the financial aid office provide documentation confirming financial aid awards if the study abroad program requests this information?

Most students can access their financial aid award amounts on-line at MyBGSU on the Student Service Center. Otherwise, contact the SFA Office and request a letter be sent to the program.

Can I receive my financial aid refund if I'm leaving the country before the BGSU semester begins?

Financial aid (grants, loans and scholarships) cannot be disbursed to the bursar bill prior to ten days before the semester begins at BGSU or ten days prior to the start of the study abroad program (provided the study abroad program begins after the BGSU semester begins). Therefore, a refund may not be available until after you leave the country. You are strongly encouraged to sign up for e-refund so the funds are directly deposited to your bank account.

Can I receive financial aid if studying abroad in the summer?

Yes, you complete a Summer Financial Aid Application online (available in February) for that academic year. The summer application is required so SFA can revise your financial aid eligibility based on your credit hours of enrollment, which country you'll be studying abroad, etc. Please note that the summer term is at the beginning of the aid year. Example: complete a 2018-19 FAFSA and the 2018 Summer Financial Aid Application if requesting to use aid for studying abroad during Summer 2018.


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.

See also: Types of Aid @ BGSU
Student Employment Services

America Reads is an employment opportunity for students eligible for Federal Work-Study. Tutors go to local schools to tutor students one-on-one or in small groups. All majors are welcome to apply.

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.

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 & Transactions

With the exception of Federal Work Study, some departmental scholarships and all outside scholarships, financial aid processed by SFA will automatically be disbursed to your bursar account, provided that your application is complete and you have met the requirements for each aid type.

Prior to the beginning of the fall and spring semesters, any confirmed financial aid will be listed as anticipated aid (estimated payment) against your University charges. You will then be asked either to pay the balance of the charges or make payment arrangements. Information about BGSU's installment payment plan and other payment arrangements will be included with your bursar statement.

If you are offered student loans, Student Financial Aid will notify you if a student loan promissory note is required. The first semester you borrow a Federal Direct Loan at BGSU, you must also complete an entrance counseling session. Both master promissory note and entrance counseling can be completed online at Your 4-digit Federal PIN is required.

Private scholarship checks received by the University will be directly applied to your student bursar account (unless otherwise specified by the scholarship donor). Once SFA is notified of a private scholarship, it will be listed as part of your aid package.

When the semester begins, your anticipated aid will be changed to disbursed aid on your bursar account, provided you are registered for the appropriate number of credit hours and have met individual program requirements. Federal financial aid will first be used to pay your University housing and meals, instructional, general, and non-resident fees, and special course fees. Some forms of aid, especially federal student aid, are restricted as to what portion of your bill they can pay. Allowable charges for federal aid include, for example, the instructional and general fees. Other miscellaneous charges, such as the legal fee or parking fee may not be covered. You could be issued a refund check for excess student aid after allowable charges are covered, but yet still owe a bill to the University for other miscellaneous charges. We encourage you to review your bill regularly, and contact the Office of the Bursar with any questions.

Anticipated aid is the estimated or anticipated payments of a student's financial aid awards prior to the actual disbursement of those payments. Anticipated aid appears on the student's Bursar account and assists 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.

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.

Unique Situations

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.

To be considered an independent student for financial aid consideration, you must be able to answer "yes" to at least one of the 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, apply for consideration using the BGSU Dependency Appeal Form. 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.

Questions about residency should be directed to the Office of Registration and Records.

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.  Virtual appointments are also available at

Updated: 05/01/2023 10:07AM