Step 1: Complete the FAFSA

Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

The FAFSA is the primary application required of all students before receiving Federal Financial Aid.  This is a FREE application and should take about 30 minutes to complete.

During the application process, you may be presented with the opportunity to import your Federal Tax Return information directly from the I.R.S.  We encourage you to use this functionality since it will improve the accuracy of your data and may help to reduce the amount of additional information you will need to submit.

The FAFSA is good for the period July 1 through June 30 each year and is available to be completed beginning on October 1st.  The tax information being used on the application is from two years previous.  For example:  If you are going to be enrolled on/after  July 1, 2018, the tax information that will be used is from your 2016 return.

The FAFSA can be completed by going to:  Be sure to complete the FAFSA that corresponds to your anticipated enrollment.

To view a helpful guide on completing the FAFSA  "7 Easy Steps to Completing the FAFSA Video"

To view a helpful video on creating an FSA ID, click on this link:  How to Create an FSA ID.

Ottawa University's Federal School Code: 001937

Be sure to electronically sign the application with your FSA ID. Failure to do so will create delays in the processing of your financial aid.

If you don’t already have a FSA ID, you can create one here.

If you have a prior FSA PIN, you can link your old PIN to your new FSA ID and this will expedite the authentication process.

*IRS Data Retrieval

You are going to be prompted to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool while completing the FAFSA. If eligible to use this tool, please do so since this should help to reduce the amount of additional information that we may need to collect later on.  Click on this link to view an infomative video on this process.

Hints for using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool:

  • Have your Federal Tax Return nearby
  • Use your exact mailing address as it appears on your Federal Tax Return
  • Do not change any of the data after importing it to your FAFSA
  • If you had a retirement plan rollover (as indicated in the left margin of your Federal Tax Return near lines 15 and 16), please do not change any of your IRS data and be sure to submit a copy of your 1099-R to us so we can make the appropriate adjustment on your behalf.

You will want to request a Federal Tax Transcript and have it available in the event that you are selected for a process called “Verification”. You can request a tax transcript by:

Online request:

  • Go to and select "Get Transcript Online"
  • Answer all of the questions and create an account
  • Select "Higher Education/Student Aid" as the reason for requesting the transcript
  • Select the appropriate year under the "Return Transcript" section
  • Print and submit the Tax Return Transcript to Ottawa University

Telephone request:

  • Call the IRS automated attendant at 1-800-908-9946
  • Select the appropriate language
  • Input Social Security Number and verify
  • Input the numbers in the street address used for your tax return
  • Select option 2 for tax return transcript
  • Input the appropriate tax year (see FAFSA cut off dates above)
    • Tax filers can expect a paper IRS Tax Return Transcript to be mailed within 5-10 days

Paper request

  • Download IRS Form 4506T-EZ.
    • This process is slower because of mail time to/from the IRS.