Eligibility requirements for each type of aid may vary from year to year. For information on the most recent eligibility requirements, methods for determining individual student eligibility and calculating award amounts, contact the Financial Aid Office.
Specific eligibility requirements are established by the U.S. Education Department for federally funded aid programs, South Carolina Commission on Higher Education for state-funded programs and local/private sources for their respective programs.
To remain eligible, a student must be enrolled and in good academic standing. Students who withdraw from school after the start of the term are liable for repayment of part or all of the funds received during that semester. In addition, to ensure that a student remains eligible, the student must notify the Financial Aid Office of changes in enrollment status or program of study.
Financial Aid Priority Deadlines
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
Completing the FAFSA is your first step in applying for financial aid. This process can be done online, but it’s best to make sure you have gathered together what you will need first.
The FSA ID—a user-selected username and password—is required for students, parents, and borrowers to authenticate their identity and access their federal student aid information online. This will be the ID you use throughout your college career and you only need to do this once.
- Your Social Security Number or Alien Registration Number, if you are not a U.S. citizen
- Your federal income tax returns, W-2s, and other records of money earned
- Bank statements and records of investments (if applicable)
- Records of untaxed income (if applicable)
- OCtech School Code: 006815. Be sure to use this school code to have your information automatically sent to our office.
If you are a Dependent Student, you will need your parent’s or guardian’s tax information to complete the FAFSA. You can import this data into your application using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (see below).
An independent student is one of the following: at least 24 years old, married, a graduate or professional student, a veteran, a member of the armed forces, an orphan, a ward of the court, or someone with legal dependents other than a spouse, an emancipated minor or someone who is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Get additional information to determine your dependency status.
A student who does not meet any of the criteria for an independent student.
The IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) electronically transfers your federal tax return information into your FAFSA form.
- Log in to your current FAFSA form or start a new application at studentaid.gov.
- In the financial section of the online form, you will see a “Link to IRS” button if you are eligible to use the IRS DRT.
- Click the “Link to IRS” button and log in with your FSA ID to be transferred to the IRS to retrieve your info.
- Once at the IRS site, enter your information exactly as it appears on your federal income tax return and click the “Submit” button.
- Check the “Transfer My Tax Information into the FAFSA form” box, and click the “Transfer Now” button.
- You will know that your federal tax return information has been successfully transferred because the words “Transferred from the IRS” will display in place of the IRS information in your FAFSA form.
The IRS DRT can be used by both students and parents. Click here to learn more about the IRS DRT.
Helpful Hints for Using the DRT
- Have your taxes in front of you and enter the address as it appears on your return.
- The address on file is typically the address on your most recent return.
- Spelling out the word “street” rather than using the abbreviation “st” can be enough to cause an error.
- Addresses on the IRS system are auto-corrected through a United States Postal Services software and may not match what you put on your tax return.
- If you have entered your address as it appears on your return and it does not work, try using the standardized version of your address. To get a standardized version of your address go to the USPS website and search by Zip Code. Enter the address and click find.
If you still have problems, the IRS.gov Website help desk can be reached at 1-800-829-1040 (Monday through Friday) 7 am – 7 pm (Eastern Standard Time).
You will be able to save your application if for any reason you can’t finish it in one session.
If you want step by step help, this video shows a complete walk through of the FAFSA:
(You will need to start the video from the beginning.)
After you have submitted the FAFSA:
Your STUDENT AID REPORT will be automatically forwarded to OCtech’s Financial Aid Office
Once your FAFSA application has been submitted, a copy will be sent to OCtech within 3 to 5 business days for review (if you added our school code 006815). We will notify you initially via mail and email if additional documentation is needed. If no additional documentation is needed and you have been accepted to the college, you will receive an email award notification.
Provide Additional Documentation
If your file is selected for a process called verification, you will be required to provide additional documentation to verify the accuracy of the information you provided on your FAFSA. In addition, we are required to verify the accuracy of the tax data submitted. Therefore, you will need to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, or submit an IRS tax transcript or a signed federal tax return (1040 Form). We recommend that you update your FAFSA by using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to electronically transfer your tax information into your FAFSA. See “Submitting Tax Information for Verification” on the Financial Aid Forms page.
If no additional documentation is needed and you have been accepted to the college, you will receive an email award notification instructing you to log into Self-Service to view your award. If no award is provided, please contact the Financial Aid office to inquire about your financial aid status.