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Financial Aid Overview

STEP 2A: Filing a FAFSA Form with the Federal Government

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form is used to apply for federal aid. There are many ways to file this form:

  • You can go directly to the U.S. Dept. of Education's online FAFSA on the WEB.
  • You can also use CSUMentor's FAFSA transfer module which will auto populate much of the FAFSA on the Web application for you.
  • You can obtain a copy of the FAFSA from any high school, college, or the financial aid office of the nearest CSU campus and fill it out and mail it in.

What Kind of Aid Are You Applying for with this Application?

The application you are about to complete will determine your eligibility for the following Federal Student Financial Aid Programs:

  • Federal Pell Grants
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)
  • Federal Iraq/Afghanistan Service Grant
  • Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans
  • Federal Perkins Loans
  • Federal Work-Study (FWS)
  • Title VII and Public Health Act 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
  • Middle Class Scholarship
  • EOP Grant
  • Need-Based Scholarships

For further information: See The Guide to Federal Student Aid, a comprehensive reference to all of the Federal Student Financial Aid programs. The Guide is available online at http://studentaid.ed.gov, in college financial aid offices, or upon request from The Department of Education at orders@fsapubs.org or 1-800-USA-LEARN (1-800-872-5327).

The FAFSA is also used to determine your eligibility for other financial aid programs available at CSU campuses.

When Do You Apply?

To be considered for all financial aid, it is important to file your FAFSA by the annual priority filing date, which varies from one institution to the other. Submit your FAFSA between October 1st and March 2nd. Don't wait to find out if you have been admitted!

If you are submitting your FAFSA by mail we recommend you get a Certificate of Mailing from the post office as proof you mailed your application on time. Use the postcard enclosed in the FAFSA for notification that the processor received your FAFSA.

When filing your FAFSA, avoid financial aid funding delays by:

  • Filing on time
  • Using accurate information
  • Following FAFSA instructions carefully
  • Keeping the Financial Aid Office(s) informed of your current address
File the FAFSA every year you want to be considered for Financial Aid!

What Information Will You Need to Correctly Fill Out the FAFSA?

You'll need accurate records for your income (and your family's income) earned in the year prior to when you will start school. Therefore, for the 2017-2018 school year, you will need 2015 tax/income or financial information.

You will need to refer to:

  • Your Social Security card and driver's license
  • W-2 Forms or other records of income earned
  • Your (and your spouse's, if you're married) Federal Income Tax Return**
  • Your parents' Federal Income Tax Return**, if you are a dependent student
  • Records of other untaxed income received such as welfare benefits, Social Security benefits, TANF or ADC, or military or clergy allowances
  • Current bank statements and records of stocks, bonds, and other investments
  • Your alien registration number (if you are not a U.S. citizen)

Filing your FAFSA online is quick and easy! We recommend you transfer your data from CSUMentor directly to the online FAFSA financial aid application!!

STEP 2B: Filing a Dream Application with the California Student Aid Commission

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.

  • You can go directly to the California Student Aid Commission's (CSAC) online DREAM application

What Kind of Aid Are You Applying for with the DREAM Application?

The application you are about to complete will determine your eligibility 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
  • Middle Class Scholarship
  • EOP Grant
  • Need Based Scholarships

How Do I Know If I Am Eligible to Apply as a DREAM Applicant?

You 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
    AND
  2. You have or will have graduated 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)
    AND
  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. Complete and submit the affidavit to the Admissions and/or Records department at your California college campus

When Do You Apply?

The CA Dream Application is available online starting on October 1st. To be considered for financial aid, as a DREAM applicant, it is important to submit your CA DREAM application by the annual priority filing date, March 2nd. Don't wait to find out if you have been admitted!

File the DREAM application every year to be considered for financial aid!

What Information Will You Need to Correctly Fill Out the DREAM Application?

You will need accurate records for your income (and your family's income) earned in the year prior to when you will start school. Therefore, for the 2017-2018 school year, you will need 2015 tax/income or financial information.

You may refer:

  • W-2 forms or other records of income earned
  • Your (and your spouse's, if you're married) Federal Income Tax Return if you filed using a Tax Payer ID number
  • Your parents' Federal Income Tax Return, if you are a dependent student and your parent's filed using a Tax Payer ID number

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GO ON TO STEP 3 >>>

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