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Am I Eligible?

Most students are eligible for federal aid under the following guidelines:

  • High school graduate, possess a GED or meet the Ability to Benefit requirements (see below).Effective July 1, 2012, to be eligible for federal student aid, students enrolling in college for the first time must have a high school diploma or GED. Students completing a home school program must complete a GED or obtain a final, official high school transcript from their school district, verifying completion of all high school requirements and certifying high school graduation.
  • Enrolled in an approved program of study and a U.S. Citizen or Eligible Non-Citizen
  • Males must comply with current Selective Service requirements
  • Not in default on any student loans or owe a refund on any Title IV program

I do not have a high school diploma (Ability to Benefit)

 Students who do not possess a high school diploma or GED, enrolling before July 1, 2012, may qualify by meeting eligibility requirements of an approved "ability to benefit" test (COMPASS).

  • Reading = 62
  • Writing Skills = 32
  • Pre-algebra/Numerical Skills = 25

Starting July 1, 2012, a high school diploma or GED will be required for students enrolling in college for the first time.

Do I include my parents’ income on the FAFSA?

To be considered an independent student for the 2014-2015 school year, you must answer yes to at least one of the following. If you cannot answer yes to one of these questions, you are considered a dependent student and are required to provide your parent(s) information/income on your FAFSA.

  • Born before Jan. 1, 1991
  • Be a veteran
  • Be married
  • Be an orphan or ward of the court (since age 13)
  • Be an emancipated minor as determined by a court in your state of legal residence
  • Have been in legal guardianship as determined by a court in your state of legal residence
  • Have a legal dependent other than a spouse
  • Have dependents who live with you for whom you provide more than half their support
  • Working on a degree beyond a bachelor's degree

NOTE: For 2013-2014, students who have been homeless and/or at risk of being homeless may be eligible to file as an independent student. Please review the information at to determine if you qualify.


My application was selected for Verification. What do I submit?

You, your spouse (if applicable) and/or your parents may be asked to submit documentation for one or more than one of the following data elements on your FAFSA:

  • Adjusted gross income
  • Taxes paid
  • Income earned from work
  • Number of family members in the household
  • Number of family members enrolled in college (excluding parents of a dependent student)
  • Receipt of food stamp/SNAP benefit
  • Child support paid
  • Citizenship status
  • Compliance with Selective Service requirements

And any other inconsistent or conflicting information (could include name, date of birth, Social Security number, etc.)

Per regulations of the U.S. Department of Education, the financial aid office is not able to accept signed copies of federal tax returns from students and parents for FAFSA Verification purposes. All applicants will have two options to provide tax return documentation:

Option 1: (Preferred). Use the IRS Data Retrieval Process when completing the FAFSA online.

Beginning February 5, students and parents will have the option 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.

Additional documentation may still be required to verify data not provided by the FAFSA IRS Data Retrieval Tool such the institutional verification form for such items as household size, number in college, food stamp (SNAP), and untaxed income.

Certain tax filers may not be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval and will need to request an IRS Tax Transcript (see #2 below).

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.

Option 2: Request a Federal Tax Return Transcript from the IRS and turn in the document to the Columbus State Community College Financial Aid Office if requested by our office.

An official tax transcript will be required for students and parents who have been selected for verification if the IRS Data Retrieval Tool was not used when filing the FAFSA. The transcript will be used to verify adjusted gross income and taxes paid.

Options to Request a Tax Transcript:

Online Request:

•Available on the IRS website at

•In the Tools section of the homepage click "Get Transcript of Your Tax Records"

•You can download and print transcripts immediately or request the transcript be mailed to the address on record with the IRS.

To download and print a transcript Click 'Get Transcript ONLINE' 

•Create an account (you must create an account). Enter requested information.  


•Enter your "Confirmation Code

•Click on "Verify Email Confirmation Code."

•Complete all fields then click CONTINUE (IMPORTANT: The IRS system will ask you questions specific to you)

•Complete the above step and create a "Username" and "Password"

•Select "Higher Education/Student Aid

•"Select "Return Transcript" and Year. IMPORTANT: Choose Tax Return Transcript NOT Tax Account Transcript.

  • Choose 2013 if you are requesting financial aid for Autumn 2014, Spring 2015 or Summer 2015.

•Print a copy of the transcript

To have a Tax Return Transcript mailed to you click 'Get Transcript by MAIL'

•Enter requested information

•The IRS Tax Return Transcripts requested in this manner cannot be sent directly to an institution.

•Once the student and/or parent receive the Tax Return Transcript from the IRS, write the student's cougar ID at the top of the form before turning it into the Financial Aid Office.

Telephone Request:

•Available from the IRS by calling 1-800-908-9946

•Tax filers must follow the prompts

  • Choose 2013 if you are requesting financial aid for Autumn 2014, Spring 2015 or Summer 2015.

Mobile Request:

Download the IRS2GO app.

Paper Mail-in  Request:

•Download form 4506 or  form 4506-T from the IRS website at

•Complete the form according to the instructions.

•If you reside in Ohio and or your business is located in Ohio you will mail your form to RAVIS Team, Stop 6705 P-6, Kansas City, MO 64999.

•PLEASE BE AWARE: Although Line 5 of IRS Form 4506-T provides tax filers with the option to have their IRS Tax Return Transcript mailed directly to a third party by the IRS, it is not the recommended method as the institution may have difficulty matching a parent's incoming IRS Tax Return Transcript to the aid applicant, as the two names may be different.

We recommend the parent and/or student have the IRS Tax Return Transcript mailed directly to them and then turn in to the transcript to the Financial Aid Office after writing the student's cougar ID at the top of the parent and student's transcript.

Drug convictions

The U.S. Department of Education requires students to report any drug convictions on Question No. 23 of the FAFSA. It is important you read the instructions carefully on Question No. 23. If you have concerns or questions on how to answer that question, contact the FAFSA Processor at 1-800-4-FEDAID. The financial aid office cannot make changes to this question; you must go through the FAFSA Processor.

Don't forget to put your FAFSA in on time. And visit our Financial Aid website for other important dates and deadlines.