Financial Aid FAQs
Here you will find answers to many of your questions about financial aid and scholarships. To find specific information about financial aid on this website, use the Search tool in the upper right corner.
Financial aid is available for those who qualify. To find out if you qualify, first you must fill out and submit the FAFSA form. Be sure to include Cincinnati State school ID code 010345 on the FAFSA. The Office of Financial Aid will then communicate with you via your Cincinnati State email account as to the status of your award, and the next steps to take to continue the financial aid process.
Submit a FAFSA. Be sure to include Cincinnati State school ID code 010345 on the FAFSA. To indicate interest in student employment, student loans and parent loans, you should check the appropriate boxes. Checking these boxes does not commit you to accepting these types of aid. You will have the opportunity to accept or decline each part of your aid package later. Leaving these boxes unchecked will not increase the amount of grants you receive.
Not only must you apply for financial aid by completing the FAFSA, but you must meet specific criteria to be eligible for financial aid. This includes eligibility requirements, rights and responsibilities, and aggregate Pell Grant and loan limits. There is always a new criterion that comes up each year so make sure that you stay on top of what the requirements are to continue to receive aid.
Yes. Cincinnati State offers institutional scholarships. Funds are raised by gifts from generous companies, foundations, and individuals. Scholarship applications are evaluated on the basis of academic merit, need, employment and volunteer/community service activities, and career goals. The application process starts the beginning of November of the previous year. Eligibility requirements must be met by February 15.
Yes. Financial aid is based on need and scholarships can either be based on need and/or academic achievement or other criteria. Scholarships and financial aid information are available in the Office of Financial Aid, Room 155 Main Building. Some scholarship applications are available in the respective academic division office for students in specific technical programs. See a financial aid advisor and also check with the program chair for specific scholarships in your major area.
You must complete the application form and submit to the Office of Financial Aid by February 15 of each year. The application is available here.
Yes. If you are receiving any kind of financial aid from univiersity or government sources, you must report the scholarship to The Office of Financial Aid. Cincinnati State Technical and Community College will adjust your financial aid package to compensate.
You must apply for a loan to attend Cincinnati State. The College participates in several federally-sponsored loan programs, and students are also welcome to apply for private loans through a bank or other lender. Click here for more information.
The Cincinnati State academic and financial aid award year begins in August with the Early Fall semester and runs through August of the following year for the Summer semester. All financial aid is divided evenly amongst these three semesters - Fall, Spring and Summer.
The Office of Financial Aid sends emails to students who have been awarded financial aid at their college email address. You will be able to access your award online. Go to www.cincinnatistate.edu and log in to MyCState. In the "MyServices" tab, click on "MyAward" under Financial Aid to see your award.
Cincinnati State Technical and Community College will communicate regularly with students through their Cincinnati State Surge Email. This is typically the only form of communication that is used on a regular basis. Please be sure to check their consistently.
The need analysis process for financial aid uses the family's income and tax information from the most recent tax year (the base year) to judge your eligibility for need-based financial aid during the upcoming academic year ( the award year). Since the base year ends December 31, you cannot submit a financial aid application until January 1.
Every student's situation is different. CSTCC will award up to the maximum of what you qualify for. If you are pell eligible, typically this will not cover all expenses. Students can decide to pay for the additional cost, out of pocket, have another source of aid pay for the expenses, or take out loans . There are additional steps if you do decide to take out loans. The U.S. Department of Education requires that all students fill out Entrance Counseling and a Promissory Note online, located at www.studentloans.gov. Additionally, CSTCC requires that you accept your loansby filling out the Direct Loan Acceptance eform that is year specific. If you have more questions regarding your financial aid package, please see the Office of Financial Aid.
First-time borrowers must wait at least 30 days to have funds disbursed to their account (per federal regulations) Funds will not be disbursed until after No-Show processing is complete. Typically disbursement is about the 8th week of the semester.
No, You can apply for financial aid any time after January 1. To actually receive funds, however, you must be enrolled at Cincinnati State and admitted into your program prior to start of the semester.
If you do not have enough federal aid to cover all costs associated with attending Cincinnati State Technical and Community College we recommend speaking with an advisor in the Office of Financial Aid for different options.
No. Parents are, however, responsible for the Federal PLUS loans if they choose to apply. Parents will only be responsible for your alternative/private educational loans if they co-sign your loan. In general, you and you alone are responsible for repaying your educational loans.
Unfortuantely, no. The Family Education Right Act (FERPA) does not allow us to speak to anyone other than the student. The student does have the option to go online to MyServices and complete the FERPA eform to allow us to have someone speak on behalf of you (the student).
Because of federal loan limits, students may not have enough federal funds to cover all tuition, room and board, books, supplies, and personal expenses. If students are looking for a source of aid to replace the offered Parent PLUS loan, students have the option of applying for Alternative Student Loan.
If you withdraw from school you may be expected to repay a portion of your financial aid. According to a formula prescribed by federal regulations, any refundable amount used to pay tuition and fees or for university housing is returned to the appropriate financial aid sources. You may be required to provide proof of participation or completing your courses. You are also required to complete Exit Counseling
Not immediately. The Stafford loans have a grace period of six months before the student must begin repaying the loans. When you take a leave of absence you will not have to repay your loans until the grace period ends. If you used up the grace period, when you graduate you will have to begin repaying your loan immediately. It is possible to request an extension to the grace period, but this must be done before the grace period has been used. Please contact your loan servicer to request an extension.
If your grace period has run out in the middle of your leave of absence, you will have to start making payments on your student loans.
The money you earn from Federal Work-Study is generally subject to federal and state income tax, but exempt from FICA taxes, provided you are enrolled full time and work less than half-time.
Student must maintain all aspects of eligibility. Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is a federal regulation requirement. Cincinnati State Technical and Community College will review the academic progress of students receiving federal financial aid. The review process evaluates whether a student is "making measurable progress toward completion of thier course of study in order to continue receiving federal financial aid."
To be making satisfactory academic progress, a student must:
- Complete at least 67% (or two-thirds) of all courses attempted AND maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 or higher to remain eligible for federal financial aid;
- Complete a program within the 150% published length of their program. Al periods of enrollment count towards a student maximum time frame regardless if the student received federal student aid.
For more information on SAP, please visit our website under Principles and Policies.
What happens if I do not pass all of my classes?What if I drop a class?
If you receive all F grades for a semester, your financial aid could be adjusted and a portion could be sent back to the U.S. Department of Education.
As a recipient of financial aid you must make Satisfacory Academic Progress (SAP). If you fail, withdraw from, or do not participate in your courses, it may impact your eligibility for financial aid. If you change your enrollment level before the cencsus date, your aid will be revised accordingly.
The financial information reported on the FAFSA cannot be updated. If there are unique circumstances such as the loss of a job, a large reduction in income or extraordinary medical expenses, please contact us. Unique circumstances may be reviewed by our office on a case-bycase basis, but typically require much documentation and additional steps.
If your family situation remains the same with regard to income, number in the family, and number in college, and assets, and as long as we receive the results of your FAFSA data by February 15, then you can expect that your financial aid should be approximately the same amount. However, your loan limits will change depending on your grade level and your dependency status. In addition, you must re-apply for financial aid every year you wish to be consider for financial aid.
If you email the Office of Financial Aid, a Financial Aid representative will respond via e-mail to your questions as quickly as possible (within normal business hours Monday through Friday). You can also call the Office of Financial Aid at (513) 569-1530.
You can get answers to many of your questions about financial aid by accessing the helpful phone numbers and websites below.
Central Processing (FAFSA)
FREE Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
Department of Education (ED)
Ohio Board of Regents (OBR)
(614) 466-7420 or
(888) 833-1133 for grants
(800) 537-5420 for loans
Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration (BCIS)
Selective Service Administration (SSS)
Social Security Administration (SSA)
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
To request a free tax transcript from a touchtone phone:
Enter your Social Security Number
Follow the instructions to verify your address
and order a transcript for the appropriate tax year.
State Student Assistant Commission of Indiana
(317) 232-2350 or
150 W. Market St. Suite 500
Indianapolis, IN 46204
2825 West Dublin Granville Road
Columbus, Ohio 43235-2789
Federal Student Aid Programs
(Student Aid Report (SAR) Center Information)
(800) 537-5420 (hearing impaired)
Mt Vernon, IL 62864-8615
Financial Aid Information Page
(FREE Online Scholarship Search)
The College Board
America Goes Back to School
Loan Payment Estimator
Loan Consolidation Calculator
Consumer Credit Counseling Services
Funding Your Education Publication
Myths about Financial Aid
Choose a School Carefully
Need Training for a Job
Don’t Get Scammed on Your Way to College
Be an Informed Consumer
What is Federal Student Aid?
Stafford Loan Forgiveness for Teachers
FAFSA is the free application for federal student aid. It can be accessed at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/.
The first form you must complete to begin the financial aid process is the FAFSA, to determine your eligibility for aid. Be sure to include Cincinnati State school ID code 010345 on the FAFSA. The Office of Financial Aid will then communicate with you via your Cincinnati State email account as to the status of your award, and the next steps to take to continue the financial aid process. You can access all financial aid forms here.
Visit www.fafsa.ed.gov to fill out the FAFSA (free application for federal student aid). Do not go to www.fafsa.com, which charges a fee for this service; you should be able to complete the FAFSA free of charge.
Possibly; beyond the deadline, funds are disbursed on a first-come, first-eligible, first-served basis. Email the Office of Financial Aid for details or call (513) 569-1530.
You must reapply for financial aid annually. Be sure to include Cincinnati State school ID code 010345 on the FAFSA.
That depends on the type of award you receive. Most grants and scholarships do not have to be repaid. Loans do have to be repaid.
Our code is 010345.
About 30% of all FAFSA filers are selected for verification, which requires schools to collect documentation to check the accuracy of the FAFSA information. If selected, the verification process must be completed before financial aid can be awarded.
When selected for verification the student will be notified by Cincinnati State Surge e-mail. The student will be directed to the MyServices to review a list of the documents that must be submitted to the Office of Student Financial Aid before financial aid can be awarded.
The Office of Student Financial Aid may be required to verify the following data elements on your FAFSA:
- Adjusted Gross Income (parent and student, if the student is dependent)
- Taxes Paid (parent and student, if the student is dependent)
- Income Earned from Work (for non-tax filers)
- Certain Untaxed Income Items (parent and student, if the student is dependent)
- Household Size
- Number in College (excluding parents for a dependent student)
- Receipt of Food Stamps/SNAP Benefit
- Child Support Paid
- High School completion, GED, or equivalent
- Statement of Educational Purpose and Identification
- Any other inconsistent or conflicting information
To verify these elements, we may ask for the following documents; however, this is not a complete list. Specific documents requested will be based on a family’s individual case.
- Signed copies of the prior year tax transcripts for both parent and student if the student is dependent
- A Verification Worksheet (available online)
- W-2s showing wages (parent and student the student is dependent)
- Statement of child support paid
- Verification of Net Worth
- Documentation of Food Stamps/SNAP Benefit
Once verification begins, we may need to ask for additional documentation based on the documentation submitted.
Yes. The U.S. Department of Education requires that you comply with our requests for official documents. Failure to submit and return all the requested information within the designated time frame will result in aid not being disbursed in a timely manner and late fees. Cincinnati State and Technical Community College (CSTCC) is required to complete Verification prior to certifying student loans and disbursing federal aid. Furthermore, failure to turn in necessary documentation could result in a late fee being assessed and registration for future semesters could be unavailable until the balance is paid off. The purpose of verification is to allow CSTCC to verify the information you reported on your FAFSA and it sure its accuracy. If any information needs to be updated or corrected, CSTCC can and will make those corrections and submit them to the U.S. Department of Education for processing on your behalf. Everyone who signs the FAFSA agrees to provide information in the event you are selected to check the accuracy of your completed FAFSA.
Documentation can be submitted in person in the Office of Financial Aid or online under MyServices. You can go online to MyServices and check to see what is missing. You can also submit the necessary documentation through this site. Some documentation can be submitted via fax but some does require to be submitted in person and require a notary. CSTCC will let you know what documentation requires what at the time of request.
Yes, all your tax returns and financial information are kept confidential and are not shared with other departments within the college.
Yes. Complete all requested forms in full: Do not leave any questions blank. All questions must have an answer even if it is a "0". Be sure all required signatures have been provided. Once verification begins, you may be asked to submit additional documentation. If this occurs, an email will be sent to the student’s Cincinnati State Surge email account and all requested documents can be viewed on the student’s MyServices account.
The IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) allows students and parents to access IRS tax return information and transfer it directly into their FAFSA. You are ineligible to use the DRT if you (or your parents) are married, but filed separately or if your marital status has changed as of January 1. We highly recommend using this tool if you are eligible for several reasons:
- It's the easiest way to provide tax data
- It's the best way to ensure your FAFSA has accurate tax information
- You won't need to provide a copy of your or your parents tax returns if selected for verification
Please note that the IRS DRT may not be available for immediate use after filing your federal taxes. If you filed your taxes electronically, it could take up to 2-3 weeks for your tax information to become available on the DRT. If you filed a paper tax return, please allow 6-8 weeks to use the DRT. If you do not use the IRS DRT to provide tax information and we request a copy of your (or your parents') tax return, you may be required to obtain an official tax return transcript from the IRS.
No, if you amended your taxes, you cannot use the DRT. You will need to submit a signed copy of your original tax return along with your amended tax return (1040X) to our office. If you do not have a copy of your tax return, you may request a tax return transcript from www.irs.gov.
The U.S. Department of Education changed what schools are allowed to accept. We are only allowed to accept the IRS Tax Transcript forms rather than the 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ. Please contact the IRS one of the three ways below to request a copy of both your parents and your (and spouse if applicable) federal tax returns transcripts and any other supplementary forms that indicate any income earned. You may choose to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) to import your tax information from the IRS to your FAFSA in lieu of submitting tax returns.
- Online- This will come electronically. You can go online at www.irs.gov, click on "Tools", then click "Get Transcript for My Tax Records.”
- Telephone- 800-908-9946 or 800-829-1040. This is paper and will be mailed.
- IRS2Go Mobile App- www.irs.gov. This is paper and will be mailed.
If necessary, we may request additional information and/or documentation to resolve any discrepancies that arise during the processing of your paperwork. Please check your Cincinnati State Surge email account regularly for any updates concerning the review and processing of your file. This is how we communicate with all students regarding their financial aid. In the event we must contact you, please respond to these requests as quickly as possible as failure to do so will only further delay disbursement of your financial aid.
Unfortunately, we still need documentation to process your verification. Cincinnati State will allow the student to turn in the IRS Form 4868 to prove that an extension was granted. We also need students (and parent or spouses) taxes and W2 information to continue processing. Once we have finalized with this documentation, we will allow one disbursement (or one semester) worth of aid to pay. The student would then be required to bring in the appropriate tax transcripts afterwards to ensure we paid the proper amount of aid. Keep in mind, more corrections may need to be made once we have the tax return transcripts and your financial aid could change at that time. Until this occurs, all future aid will be placed on hold. If it is not submitted, aid will be returned, creating a balance owed to the school.
If you or your parents were not required to file a tax return, you may still be asked for your W2s or any income information. Also, a "verification of non-filing" statement from the IRS may be requested upon further review. Additional information or documents may be necessary to complete your verification and may be requested by CSTCC at any time.
For 2014-2015, those questions are:
- Were you born before January 1, 1991?
- As of the day you filed the FAFSA, are you married?
- At the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year, will you be working on a master’s or doctorate program?
- Are you currently serving on (federal) active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training?
- Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces (see financial aid definition of a veteran)?
- Do you have children who will receive more than half of their support from you between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015?
- Do you have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and who receive more than half of their support from you, now and through June 30, 2015?
- At any time since you turned 13, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care or were you a dependent or ward of the court?
- As determined by a court in your state of legal residence, are you or were you an emancipated minor?
- As determined by a court in your state of legal residence, are you or were you in legal guardianship?
- At any time on or after July 1, 2013, did your high school or school district homeless liaison determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless (see financial aid definition of unaccompanied homeless youth)?
- At any time on or after July 1, 2013, did the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban
- Development determined that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless (see financial aid definition of unaccompanied homeless youth)?
- At any time on or after July 1, 2013, did the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless (see financial aid definition of unaccompanied homeless youth)?
If you answer no to all the questions above, then you are considered a dependent student. Keep in mind, if you answer yes to at least one of the questions, you may be required to show proof of this to the Office of Financial Aid.
In order to answer “Yes” to having a child on the FAFSA, you must be providing support for yourself as well as more than half of the child’s financial support. It is likely that the information you submitted about your income and family information indicated that someone else was providing more than half of your child’s financial support. Sometimes a student who has a child may live with the student’s parent (the child’s grandparent), in which case the child’s grandparent is likely to be the person providing more than half of the financial support.
People in your house hold must live with you between July 1 of the current year and June 30 of the following year. Please do not include anyone in the household that could be considered independent other than parents (ex. A 26 year old brother who lives at home).
- Parent(s)/Step-parent (even if student doesn’t reside in parent’s home)
- Siblings who would also be considered to be dependent for financial aid purposes
- Siblings who receive more than half financial support from your parent(s)/step-parent
- Others who live with your parents AND receive more than half financial support from your parent(s)/step-parent (documentation will be required to prove this)
- If your parents (regardless of gender) are not married to each other and live together, select “unmarried and both parents are living together, include both in the household size section and provide financial information for both of them.
- Spouse (if married)
- Children and step-children who receive more than half financial support from student/spouse
- Others who live with the student AND receive more than half financial support from the student/spouse (documentation will be required to prove this)
No. When you report child support paid on the FAFSA, the amount is excluded from the calculation that determines your eligibility. Therefore, you cannot report child support paid for a child who is also counted in the household size.
Write in the name of the college for any family member who will be attending college at least half-time between July 1 of this year and June 30 of next year and will be enrolled in an eligible degree or certificate program. You must list everyone in the households first and last name, age, and school attended (if applicable).
Yes, you must include your step-parent's information on the verification forms and submit copies of their federal income tax returns. The U.S. Department of Education requires that you submit all requested information for the parent(s) with whom you live and also anyone married to the parent with whom you live.
If you are a dependent student, your parents must submit any and all financial information requested by the CSTCC, regardless of whether or not they support you or intend to continue supporting you. If you have an unusual circumstance surrounding your parental support, please see the Office of Financial Aid. Keep in mind, to allow what is called a Dependency Override, we will have to ask for documentation to substantiate CSTCC approving this.
The entire process can take up to approximately 3 weeks to complete. Sometimes this is shorter during slower seasons, and sometimes it could take longer during peak times, such as start of the semester. This is why it is imperative that you submit all requested documents as soon as possible. Some important things to keep in mind to help you with this are:
- Make sure your FAFSA is submitted and received by February 15, which is the priority deadline.
- Submit required documents as soon as possible.
- Regularly check your Cincinnati State Surge email and MyServices accounts so that you may see any additional required documents as soon as they are requested.
- Completing your file early will allow us to start the verification process sooner, thus your eligibility can be determined before you start school.