Applying for Financial Aid

If you are not certain that you and your family can afford to pay college expenses, you should apply for student financial aid. Almost all students qualify for some form of student aid, although for some students, the aid is limited to unsubsidized loans. It is important that you apply as early as possible to ensure that you are considered for all programs for which you might be eligible and before campuses award the limited available grant funds to other, earlier applicants. Applying as early as possible will also increase the likelihood that you will receive an earlier notice regarding your eligibility thus enhancing your ability to make an informed decision about your choice of colleges.

Filing The FAFSA

All applicants for need-based financial aid at CSU campuses must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid - the FAFSA.

There is no charge for filing the FAFSA. The FAFSA form and the process have been simplified over the years but certain information remains essential in order to ensure that the aid funds are being distributed to qualified students.

  • The 2013-14 FAFSA is currently available
  • The 2014-15 FAFSA will be available January 2014 and may not be signed or filed prior to January 1, 2014
  • The 2014-15 FAFSA should be filed as soon as possible after January 1, 2014
  • March 2, 2014 is the DEADLINE for applying for a Cal Grant
  • March 2, 2014 is the priority filing date for applying for financial aid at CSU campuses

Even if it is too early to file your FAFSA, you (or your parents) can apply for a PIN - a personal identification number - that enables you to sign when you file a FAFSA electronically or make corrections, and to access your personal information in various Department of Education systems.

The U.S. Department of Education makes the FAFSA available in several formats on the Internet. FAFSA on the Web provides for online completion of the student aid application at www.fafsa.gov.

Additional Internet assistance is available in the form of the Department's publication, Completing the FAFSA. Questions may also be addressed to counselors at your high school or college or to staff of the financial aid office at any CSU campus.

Filing the DREAM Application

The DREAM application is used by students without lawful immigration status who qualify for an AB540 Non-Resident Tuition Waiver to apply for state and institutionally funded financial aid. There is no charge for filing the DREAM application. You can go online directly to the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) DREAM application.

Students who are eligible to apply for financial aid using the DREAM application must meet the following three requirements to be eligible to file a DREAM application:

  1. You have or will have attended a high school (public or private) in California for three or more years
  2. You have or will have graduatedf from a California high school or attained the equivalent prior to the start of the term (for example: passed the GED or California High School Proficiency exam)
  3. Be a student who is without lawful immigration status who must file an AB540 Affidavit (California Non-Resident Tuition Exemption Request form) with the college or university stating that you have filed an application to legalize your immigration status, or will file an application as soon as you are eligible to do so
    1. Complete and submit the affidavit to the Admissions and/or Records department at your California college campus

Students applying for financial aid using the DREAM application will be considered for the following State and Institution based financial aid programs:

  • Cal Grant
    • Please Note: You must submit a High School GPA Verification for Cal Grant eligibility prior to the March 2nd deadline
  • State University Grant
  • EOP Grant
  • Need Based Scholarships

To be considered for financial aid, as a DREAM applicant, it is important to file your DREAM application by the annual priority filing date, March 2. Don't wait to find out if you have been admitted!

File the DREAM application every year to be considered for Financial Aid!

Undergraduates Who are California Residents

California residents who will be undergraduates should apply for a Cal Grant administered by the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC). Undergraduate applicants who file a FAFSA by March 2 will be considered for a Cal Grant provided they do not indicate on the FAFSA that information should not be released to the state agency. Applicants must also provide the California Student Aid Commission with a verified GPA by March 2. Check with your high school guidance counselor or college financial aid office about how to satisfy this requirement.

Males Between the Ages of 18 and 25

The federal Military Selective Service Act ("the Act"), requires most males residing in the United State to present themselves for registration with the Selective Service System within thirty days of their eighteenth birthday. Most males between the ages of 18 and 25 must be registered. Males born after December 31, 1959 may be required to submit a statement of compliance with the Act and regulations in order to receive any grant, loan or work assistance under specified provisions of existing federal law. In California, students who fail to register are also ineligible to receive any need-based student grants funded by the state or a public postsecondary institution.

Selective Service registration forms are available at any U.S. Post Office, and many high schools have a staff member or teacher appointed as a Selective Service Registrar. If you haven't registered and are required to do so, you can request that information provided on the FAFSA be used to register you with the Selective Service. You can obtain additional information and register online through the Selective Service System's web site. This site also enables you to obtain proof of registration or to provide a change of address to the Selective Service System.

Last updated: August 8, 2013

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