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Apply for Financial Assistance

We want to make the process of applying for financial aid as easy as possible. Use this as your guide to help you through the process and maximize your chances for receiving financial aid at Oakland University.

General
Information

Apply for Admission

Apply for admission to Oakland University. High school students should apply during the fall of their senior year.  Students are automatically considered for OU's scholarships based on the admission application and deadline criteria. To receive financial aid funds, students must be admitted and enrolled at OU.

Create a FSA ID

To access and sign the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), as well as access federal websites related to financial aid, students must create an FSA ID. Parents of dependent students must also create an FSA ID to sign the FAFSA electronically, as well as to access federal websites related to financial aid.

The FSA ID should be created at least one week prior to completing the FAFSA. Use the FSA ID Worksheet to record related information for your files. Create an FSA ID now.  

Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Applying early ensures the fullest consideration for financial aid, some of which is awarded on a first come, first served basis as funding allows. Read the instructions carefully on any financial aid or scholarship forms you complete. Words like "household," "investments" and "parent" each have specifically defined meanings for financial aid purposes. Failure to answer items accurately will cause delays and may result in not being considered for specific financial aid programs.  Do not wait until income tax forms are completed to submit the FAFSA. You may use estimates of your income and will have the opportunity to correct errors later. 

As soon as possible after October 1, complete a FAFSA for the following academic year.  Tax information should be uploaded to the FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, per the steps below.  Please note, you will not be able to use the data retrieval tool if you filed as married filing separately, filed a Federal 1040X Amended tax return, Puerto Rican or foreign tax return, or if you filed electronically less than three prior to filing the FAFSA, or filed by mail less than eleven weeks prior to filing the FAFSA.

To be eligible for Michigan state aid the FAFSA must be completed by March 1. 

Be sure to include Oakland University Federal School Code (002307) to ensure OU Student Financial Services will receive the FAFSA.

How to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT):
Print directions with screen shots.

  1. Log into the FAFSA using the student's FSA ID and password
  2. Create a savekey for this transaction
  3. Click the Financial Information tab
  4. Both the student and parent's (if applicable) financial information is located in this section.  Follow these instructions to update the tax information:
    a. Select Already completed to answer the first question.
    b. Select the Filing Status
    c. Answer No to the next three questions to indicate you did not file an amended tax return, Puerto Rican or foreign tax return, and it has been more than three weeks (electronically) or eleven weeks (by mail) since you filed your tax return. Click Link to IRS
  5. Click OK to link to the IRS website
  6. Click OK to give your consent
  7. Enter your information exactly as it appeared on your federal tax return and choose to transfer the information to the FAFSA.  Once the information has been transferred, do not change any transferred information.

Register for Selective Service

Male U.S. citizens and male immigrant aliens ages 18 through 25 must be registered with the U.S. Selective Service System to be eligible for federal financial aid. Male individuals can register for Selective Service at any U.S. post office or online at the Selective Service System website.

Financial Aid Awards

Beginning in March, OU Student Financial Services will send an electronic award notification to students' OU email address to notify students they can view the amount and types of financial assistance for which they are eligible on MySAIL.  If there are any changes or updates to the student's financial aid award package, a revised award notification will be sent to the student's OU email address indicating revised awards are ready to view on MySAIL.  If a situation occurs which significantly impacts the household's current financial standing, students should speak with a financial aid Advisor.  Financial aid is initially offered for the regular academic year (fall/winter semesters) but may be available during the summer semester. If you wish to learn more about financial aid for the summer semester, visit the summer assistance page.

FAFSA

Beginning October 1, 2016 students should file their 2017-18 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply for financial aid earlier than ever before. Students are encouraged to apply for financial aid beginning October 1, 2016, or as soon thereafter as possible, to increase their opportunity to receive aid awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

Students who complete their 2017-18 FAFSA in October 2016 can expect to begin receiving their financial aid award notifications in December.

FSA ID

To access and sign the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), as well as access federal websites related to financial aid, students must create an FSA ID. Parents whose information is included on the FAFSA must also create an FSA ID to sign the FAFSA electronically, as well as to access federal websites related to financial aid.

You will need to complete the following when creating your FSA ID:

  • Provide personal email (unique to each user)
  • Provide social security number
  • Provide birthdate
  • Select two challenge questions
  • Create two challenge questions
  • Select an important date (not your own birthdate)

The FSA ID should be created at least one week prior to completing the FAFSA.

Create an FSA ID now.

Data Retrieval Tool

The Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) is a feature of the FAFSA that allows most users to upload their tax information onto the FAFSA. The DRT can easily be used with just a few clicks by students and parents whose information is included on the FAFSA. The information you upload is completely accurate and confirmed by the IRS.

Filing your FAFSA has never been easier. The 2017-18 FAFSA will use your 2015 tax information, already filed with the IRS, and does not need to be updated after you file your 2016 taxes. Learn more about the DRT.

How to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) when completing the FAFSA:

  1. Log into the FAFSA using the student's FSA ID and password
  2. On the financial information tab, you will see a “link to IRS” button if you are eligible to use the DRT. Click the “Link to IRS” button and retrieve your tax return information.
  3. Check the “transfer my tax information into the FAFSA” box and click the “transfer now” button. Once the information has been transferred, do not change any transferred information.

 Please note, you will not be able to use the data retrieval tool if you:

  • Filed as married filing separately; or
  • Filed a Federal 1040X Amended tax return, Puerto Rican or foreign tax return; or
  • Filed electronically less than three weeks prior to filing the FAFSA, or filed by mail less than eleven weeks prior to filing the FAFSA.

If you are unable to use the DRT, you should enter your tax information manually and submit the FAFSA. Once it has been more than three weeks since you electronically filed, or eleven weeks since you filed a paper tax return, you should go back to the FAFSA and update your tax information using the DRT.

FAQ

Below are some frequently asked questions about the changes in the financial aid application process, effective October 1, 2016 for the 2017-18 FAFSA. If your question is not answered below, review information from the Federal Department of Education for college students and parents.

Do I still have to complete a FAFSA every year?
Yes, every student should complete a FAFSA every year beginning October 1, for the next school year they plan to attend.

Why should I apply so early?
Some financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, so the earlier you apply, the bigger and better your financial aid package could be.

How will an earlier FAFSA and the change to the income year benefit me?
Benefits include:
  • Students (and their parents, if applicable) will not need to estimate income information and will not need to update their income information as in the past since the FAFSA now only requires taxes already filed.
  • There will be more time for students to explore and understand financial aid options and apply for private scholarships.
  • Applying early means getting your award notification earlier. Students who file October 1 or shortly thereafter, can expect to begin receiving award notifications in December.
  • Students will be more prepared for the change in the billing cycle scheduled for 2017-18.
  • Receiving an award notification earlier encourages students to complete their financial aid requirements earlier.

How will I complete the FAFSA in October if I don’t file taxes until the following April?
Beginning with the 2017-18 FAFSA, students (and parents, if applicable) will be able to report income and tax information from an earlier tax year. For the 2017-18 FAFSA, applicants will report their 2015 income and tax information. For the 2018-19 FAFSA, applicants will report their 2016 income and tax information.

After I have completed my 2016 taxes, will I need to update my 2017-18 FAFSA?
No. The 2017-18 FAFSA will only use 2015 tax return information.

If I completed verification for 2016-17 school year, do I need to re-submit the documents if I’m selected for 2017-18 FAFSA verification?
Yes. The information reviewed in the verification process could change over the years during which you filed the 2016-17 FAFSA and the 2017-18 FAFSA, so if you are selected for verification, you will need to submit all your financial aid requirements, even if you submitted the same document for a prior year.