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How to Apply
Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Students and parents should begin by completing the FAFSA online. There are guidelines and instructions on-line to help you with this application. Columbus State also offers workshops at the Student Assistance Center on the Columbus campus.
Use the IRS Data Retrieval Process when completing the FAFSA online.
Students and parents are encouraged to automatically link to the IRS to transfer tax information to the FAFSA. The Federal Tax Return must be filed at least two weeks (if filing electronically) prior to using the FAFSA IRS Data Retrieval Tool to allow the IRS time to process the return. Paper tax return filing will require a longer wait time.
However, certain tax filers may not be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval and will need to request an IRS Tax Transcript.
Tax filers not eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool:
• Filing status - Married Filing Separately
• Filed Foreign Tax Return
• Recently filed taxes (less than two weeks)
Students and parents that did not use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool when initially completing the FAFSA may log back into the FAFSA and use the Retrieval Tool after completing their FAFSA. However, this should be done prior to any requests for additional documents from the Financial Aid Office.
Submit the FAFSA
- If you filled it out online, you can opt to be notified electronically that the application information was received and processed by the U.S. Department of Education.
- If you fill out the FAFSA manually, send it to the address listed on the FAFSA form.
The federal government will process your application and send a copy of the results to each school you list on the application. To include Columbus State, use this code: 006867. Online applications are usually processed about two weeks sooner than applications sent in by mail.
Look for information from the Financial Aid Office
In order to continue processing your application and determine eligibility for federal student, the Financial Aid Office may request additional documents to verify the accuracy of your application. Requests for additional information or documents will be sent to your CSCC student email. You must complete all forms, provide any requested information and turn it all into the Financial Aid Office. Typically, it will take 2 - 3 business days to record receipt of your documents. Due to the high volume of documents requested and submitted, it can take up to 4 weeks for the submitted information to be reviewed. Please follow the Important Dates so that federal aid funds will be available at the fee payment deadline.
Review Your Financial Aid Award
Once your financial aid application information has been reviewed, the Financial Aid office will prepare an award letter that indicates what federal financial aid you are eligible to receive. You will receive an email to your CSCC student email account to notify you that the award letter has been posted to your Cougarweb account. Awards are based on full-time enrollment (12 credit hours per semester), and awards may be reduced if you drop below full-time.
The award letter will include:
- Grants for which you qualify.
- Loans, which you may accept or decline.
- Eligibility for federal work-study (FWS).
Federal Work-Study (FWS)
Eligible students are awarded "estimated" Federal Work Study awards. This means that you have the opportunity to apply for open student positions, including those that require Federal Work Study. This does not mean that you are guaranteed a position. Each year, a large number of students are shown they are eligible for FWS, but the actual positions and number of students to be hired varies.