Step 1: File a 2016-2017 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
- Submit only one application.
- To electronically apply and sign your FAFSA, students and parents must have a FSA ID. The FSA ID replaced the Federal Student Aid PIN on May 10, 2015. If you haven’t logged in to a Federal Student Aid site (such as fafsa.gov or StudentLoans.gov) since May 10, you will need to create an FSA ID before you can log on in the future. If you already have a PIN, you can link your information to your new FSA ID by entering your PIN while registering for your FSA ID. (This will save you time when registering for your FSA ID.) If you’ve forgotten your PIN, don’t worry; you can either enter the answer to your PIN “challenge question” during the FSA ID registration process to link your PIN, or you can just create your FSA ID from scratch. The main reason for the change was to increase security. Having a username and password is much more secure than a PIN that you enter in conjunction with personally identifiable information (your Social Security number, name, and date of birth). The fewer times you have to enter personally identifiable information over the Internet, the safer you are. For additional information on how to create an FSA ID click here to watch a video.
- An FSA ID is a username and password that you must use to log in to certain U.S. Department of Education (ED) websites. Your FSA ID identifies you as someone who has the right to access your own personal information on ED websites such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) at fafsa.gov.
- If you are a parent of a dependent student, you will need your own FSA ID if you want to sign your child's FAFSA electronically. If you have more than one child attending college, you can use the same FSA ID to sign all applications. Please note: Each FSA ID user must have a unique e-mail address. Your FSA ID is used to sign legally binding documents electronically. It has the same legal status as a written signature. Don't give your FSA ID to anyone—not even to someone helping you fill out the FAFSA. Sharing your FSA ID could put you at risk of identity theft!
- To reduce possible mistakes and streamline the financial aid application process, students and parents may be eligible to use the Internal Revenue Service Data Retrieval process. This means when you fill out your FAFSA you may be eligible to automatically transfer your federal tax information directly from the IRS into your FAFSA! To use this feature, we strongly encourage you and your parents to file your federal tax returns as early as possible before completing the FAFSA.
- Enter CSUDH's institutional code 001141 in the Federal School Code field and CSUDH will receive your results electronically.
- Review the application carefully to make sure all answers are completed and are accurate. If you or our parents have questions or are unsure on how to complete the application, call our office at (310) 243-3691. By providing complete responses, the analysis of your financial circumstances will be thorough and will provide us with the ability to be sensitive to your individual needs.
- Do Not Email Forms to Our Office. We do not recommend emailing forms to our office for three reasons: 1) Often we don’t receive attachments or they cannot be opened; 2) Emailed forms take longer to process; 3)You will expose your personal information to interception by hackers.
- If you are a new CSUDH student, do not wait until you are admitted to the University to apply for financial aid. The earlier you apply, the better chance you have that funds will be available.
Step 2: You will receive various notifications
- Notification from CSUDH's Financial Aid Office: Once we have received your FAFSA information, you will receive an acknowledgement letter from our office.
- Notification from the Federal Processor: Once you have submitted your FAFSA, you will receive an email notification that will contain a link to your Student Aid Report (SAR). Your SAR can't be used to make corrections to your FAFSA. You'll need to make corrections on your SAR online using your FSA ID at the FAFSA website or request a paper SAR. If you submitted your FAFSA online without an e-mail address, you'll receive a paper SAR Acknowledgement. This SAR Acknowledgement will have all of the information you provided on the FAFSA.
- Cal Grant Notification from the California Student Aid Commission: If you are selected to receive a Cal Grant, you will be sent a "California Aid Report" (CAR) by the California Student Aid Commission. Students must follow the printed instructions on the CAR.
- Verification Notification: You may be randomly selected by the Federal Government for a verification process. In this event, we will send you a notification. Click here for more information.
Step 4: Accept or decline your financial aid award
- If you are awarded financial aid, you must accept or decline financial aid online at My.CSUDH.EDU. Be sure to read our Financial Aid Award Guide [Get Adobe Acrobat Reader Free here.], which contains pertinent information about the offer as well as explains your rights and responsibilities as a financial aid recipient. Financial aid is intended to be used to pay educational expenses.
- You will have 15 days to accept/decline your awards. Failure to respond will result in cancellation of your awards.
Step 5: Complete additional online requirements for your student loan
If you are offered a student loan, you must complete additional requirements to receive the loan. You are required to:
- Complete an online entrance interview at StudentLoans.gov
- Complete an online master promissory note committing student to repay the loan. Complete the promissory note online at StudentLoans.gov
Step 6: Your refund will be sent to you.
Prior to the first day of the semester, financial aid refunds (minus registration and housing fees) are processed by Student Financial Services for students who have completed steps 1-5 above. Students have the option of selecting to receive their refund either by Direct Deposit or receiving a paper check by mail. Information on setting up Direct Deposit can be found here.
Top 5 Common Mistakes to Avoid
- Listing the incorrect Social Security Number or driver's license number: Triple check the numbers and have someone else check for accuracy too.
- Listing adjusted gross income as equal to taxes paid: Adjusted gross income will be a larger amount than taxes paid.
- Listing parent or student's marital status incorrectly: Provide the marital status of the parent with whom the student resides. If the parent is remarried, provide the step-parent's information as well.
- Leaving the question about drug-related offenses blank: If the student is unsure about this answer, check before submitting the FAFSA. A conviction doesn't always disqualify students from receiving aid. Do not leave this field blank!
- Missing parent's and/or student's signature: When filing the FAFSA electronically, be sure to sign using the FSA ID and password. This will serve as the student's and parent's electronic signature.
Am I Eligible?
To be eligible for federal financial aid, students must:
- be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
- be registered with Selective Service (if required)
- be admitted to the University seeking a degree or certificate
- not owe a refund on a Federal grant or be in default on a Federal educational loan
- be making Satisfactory Academic Progress
- be enrolled at least half-time (6 units undergraduate/credential; 4 units master's)
- not be convicted of any illegal drug offense or be incarcerated
Students are not eligible for financial aid if he or she:
- holds an "F" or "J" visa
- holds an I-688A, I-688B, or I-797 visa
- is admitted to the University as unclassified
- is enrolled through Open University
What happens if I am selected for verification?
If you are selected for verification, you will be notified by the Financial Aid Office and will be required to complete additional steps before their financial aid application can be processed.
The Financial Aid Office will notify you via email and via My.CSUDH.EDU. Go to the To-Do items listed on the Student Center.
If you are selected for verification, you will be asked to submit additional documents needed to complete your financial aid file. Do not submit documents unless requested. Additional document(s) may include:
- Student (& Spouse) IRS federal tax return transcript*
- Parent(s) IRS federal tax return transcript* (if dependent)
- Verification Form - parent and/or student
- Verification of SNAP Benefits
- Selective Service Acknowledgement letter
- Verification of child support paid
- Visa Verification for eligible non-citizens
- A copy of your birth certificate
- A copy of your social security card
- A copy of your Certificate of Naturalization
- Proof of orphan or ward of court status
- A copy of your DD-214
- Verification of legal separation (student's or parent's marital status)