College aid deadline is near

News Release Date: 
02.10.11

College aid deadline is near
KURT MOORE • The Marion Star • February 10, 2011

MARION - Thanks to an earlier deadline, Ohio State University-bound students and current students have only a few days left to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

The deadline is Feb. 15; in past years Ohio State students had until March 1.

Along with federal and state deadlines, each institution is allowed to set its own priority deadline. Matt Moreau, Ohio State University-Marion's director of admissions and financial aid, said the Ohio State deadline was moved to Feb. 15 because of increasing applications and enrollment across the university.

He said more time was needed to make sure the university has time to process financial aid and scholarship applications, assemble aid packages and notify students.

The FAFSA is available online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. A .pdf version can be downloaded at www.federalstudentaid.eg.gov.

Colleges and universities use the application to determine a student's eligibility for federal Pell Grants, state grants and student loans. The application can also help assess eligibility for local need-based scholarships, grants and work-study awards. Moreau said university and college funds are often limited, which is why it is important to submit the application by the priority deadline.

"It's like a quick and easy way to get money," said Dan Burkhart, director of the college access program I CAN Center of Excellence. "If you don't get it in on time, you may not get any money."

He said the amount of money available continues to decrease.

There is a push nationwide to increase the number of students and families filling out the FAFSA. USA Today reported that about 28 percent of families with college-bound students did not submit a FAFSA in 2010. About half of those said they weren't aware of the form or did not think they would qualify.

Much of the information on the FAFSA is available on tax returns. Moreau said, however, that students do not have to fill out their taxes before completing the application.

"Folks should simply do the best job they can estimating their income and asset numbers in order to meet their school's FAFSA deadline," he said.

Help filling out the FAFSA is available from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday and 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday at the Marion Campus Library Classroom Building. To make an appointment or learn more, call 740-725-6242.

Moreau said about a third of OSU-Marion's students receive some sort of campus scholarship, with the average award being about $1,700. He said more than 80 percent of students use federal student loans each year to help pay their tuition and living expenses while 40 percent receive a federal Pell Grant.

Moreau said the number of Pell-eligible students attending OSU-Marion has increased almost 78 percent since the 2006-07 school year largely because of the economic recession.

Deadlines differ throughout the state. Both Ohio University and Youngstown State University set priority deadlines of Feb. 15.