Q1. What is the Data Retrieval Tool (DRT)?   
A1. The DRT is a process which allows you to move tax information to the FAFSA form from your IRS tax file. Doing so provides more accurate data on the FAFSA and reduces the time and documents required to process the financial aid file. Also, see Steps to Transfer Tax Information Into Your FAFSA.

Q2. Will updating my FAFSA after I have already had it processed for the year reduce my financial aid?   
A2. Your work and Tuition Assurance scholarship program funding at C of O will not be reduced by using or updating your FAFSA with the DRT since all full time students will receive work and scholarship benefits to cover the Tuition Assurance.

Q3. What if I am unable to use the DRT to move tax information due to my filing status or other issues with my tax return?   
A3. There are certain instances in which a DRT option will not be available. In such cases, just be certain your tax information is accurate on the FAFSA.

Q4. Who is eligible for student aid?   
A4. The Department of Education uses the information provided on your FAFSA to determine the student’s eligibility for aid from the federal Student Financial Assistance (SFA) programs. Some of the requirements to receive aid are that the student must:

  • Be a citizen or eligible non-citizen of the U.S with a valid Social Security Number,
  • Have a high school diploma or GED certificate,
  • Enroll in an eligible program as a regular student seeking a degree or certificate,
  • Register (or have registered) for Selective Service, if the student is male between the ages of 18-25.

Q5. When should you fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) need analysis form?    
A5. If you are applying for admission to the College, see Admissions information. If you are a current student, the FAFSA results are to be received by the C of O financial aid office by January 15. 

Q6. Do you have to apply for student aid every year?    
A6. Yes.  Your financial situation must be reassessed every year. Financial situations may have changed. Failure to complete the FAFSA will encumber your enrollment at College of the Ozarks.

Q7. What determines the financial aid award?   
A7. The amount of financial aid award depends on whether the student is full-time or part-time and whether they attend school for a full academic year or less. The awards are also based on the Department of Education’s equation for determining financial need.

Q8. What will the Federal Pell grant pay for at C of O?   
A8. The Pell Grant is disbursed each semester and is only paid toward cost of education for current students.

Q9. Who can receive a Federal Pell Grant?    
A9. This grant is available to undergraduate students only. It is disbursed each semester and is only paid toward Tuition Assurance for current students. Grants do not have to be repaid. 

Q10. Who can receive a Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant?    
A10. This grant is available to undergraduate students only, beginning with those who have the highest financial need (typically EFC of 0). It is disbursed each semester and is only paid toward Tuition Assurance for current students. SEOG funds are awarded in amounts between $0 - $4,000 for an academic year.

Q11. I misplaced my Student Aid Report. How can I get another one?   
A11. To request a duplicate SAR, you can simply access your FAFSA file at www.fafsa.gov.

Q12. Are tax returns required when students complete the FAFSA?      
A12. Yes, or use the Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) process when completing the FAFSA. 

Q13. What loans are available for students?   
A13. College of the Ozarks discourages student borrowing, and therefore, does not participate in the federal, state or private loan programs.

Q14. Who is an eligible non-citizen?   
A14. An eligible non-citizen meets one of the conditions below:

  • U.S. permanent resident and you have an Alien Registration Receipt Card (I551),
  • Conditional permanent resident (I-221C),
  • Other than eligible non-citizen with an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service showing any one of the following designations: Refugee, Asylum Granted, Indefinite Parole, Humanitarian Parole, or Cuban-Haitian Entrant. If the student is in the U.S. on only an F1 or F2 student visa, or only a J1 or J2 exchange visitor visa, or a G series visa (pertaining to international organization), you must fill in oval c of the FAFSA. If the student is neither a citizen nor eligible non-citizen, the student is not eligible for federal student aid.

Q15. When am I considered independent?    
A15. Under the Federal definition, an independent student is one who:

  • Is 24 years old,
  • Married,
  • Has legal dependents other than spouse,
  • Is a veteran of the U.S. Armed forces or currently serving on active duty,
  • Is an orphan or ward of the court or in foster care since turning age 13,
  • Is determined by your high school that you were an unaccompanied youth who is homeless,
  • Living in an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development after July 1 and determined that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless,
  • Determined by a court in your state of legal residence, emancipated minor or in legal guardianship,
  • Is a graduate or a professional student.

Q16. What if I don’t have a social security number (SSN) or do not want to report it on the FAFSA?    
A16. You must provide your SSN on the FAFSA. You are unable to apply for aid without a valid SSN.

Q17. My parents are separated or divorced. Which parent fills out the FAFSA?    
A17. The parent you lived with most during the last 12 months. If you didn’t live with either parent, or if you lived with each parent for an equal number of days, use the parent who provided most of the support to you in the most recent calendar year. If your parent has remarried as of today, answer the questions about that parent and the person whom the parent remarried. (The new step parent’s information must be included, even if they were not married in the previous year.)

Q18. The FAFSA asks about last year’s income. My father (or mother) is now unemployed and their income is significantly less. What do I do?    
A18. Complete the FAFSA using the corresponding year information for the FAFSA. However, when you receive the FAFSA results, you need to contact the Financial Aid Office to explain the situation. Professional judgment may be used to adjust data elements on the FAFSA, if warranted.

Q19. How did I get selected for verification?     
A19. The selection is done by the FAFSA processor, very rarely by the institution. A review is required by the Department of Education if selected to check the accuracy of the data.

Q20. Who reviews my file for verification?    
A20. All forms used in verification are sent to the Financial Aid Office. A financial aid administrator will compare information on the documents. All information is kept confidential.

Q21. What if a mistake is found during verification?     
A21. The financial aid office will make corrections for you, if needed. You will receive a new SAR, which allows you to see the changes and results.