Understanding FAFSA With OVCT’s Financial Aid Officer Sarah FergusonPosted on June 29, 2018 by OVCT Frequently Asked Questions · What is the FAFSA? FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It is a form that students fill out to apply for federal grants and loans. The form asks questions about income, family size, and other factors. It is then processed and all of the information that was provided is used to determine which grants and loans a student is eligible for. · How often do you have to fill it out? A new FAFSA must be completed for each academic year of school. At OVCT, one academic year is considered 9 months. In an 18-month program the FAFSA would need completed at the beginning, during the enrollment process and then again, 9 months later when a student would be halfway through their schooling. · When is the deadline each year? A FAFSA can be submitted at any time before a student begins class. We recommend filling it out as soon as possible. Keep in mind that it takes a week or so to process financial aid, so waiting until the day before classes start to complete the FAFSA is not a good idea. The process cannot be rushed. · Why is it necessary? Without completing the FAFSA a student can’t qualify for any federal grants or loans which may make paying for school difficult. A student may still attend OVCT without federal loans or grants but there will be no federal financial aid to help lower the cost. · The difference between being dependent and independent There are MANY factors that go into determining whether a student is considered to be dependent or independent. The first determining factor is age. If the student is under 24, they are likely to be dependent. If a student is dependent, their federal aid will be determined based on both their own income and their parents’ incomes. If a student is independent, their federal aid will be determined based on their own income. Determining if a student is independent or dependent can be tricky and again there are many factors that contribute to it. Feel free to stop into the financial aid office to further discuss your own dependency status!