How to Apply for Aid

Which application do I file?

Comparison of FAFSA and DREAM Applications
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) California Dream Act Application (CADAA)
  • You (the student) have a valid Social Security Number
  • You (the student) are a U.S. Citizen; Permanent Resident; or eligible non-citizen
  • You (the student) do not meet criteria to file a FAFSA
  • You (the student) meet the conditions of California AB540 status
Submit a FAFSA
CSULB School Code 001139
Submit a California Dream Act application (CADAA)
Eligible to receive funding from federal, state, and institutional aid programs Eligible to receive funding from CA State and CA institutional aid programs

For the 2024-2025 academic year, submit your financial aid application by May 2, 2024. Be sure to file before the priority filing deadline (May 2) in order to be considered for the maximum types of aid. Applications submitted after May 2 will not be eligible for CA State or CSULB Institutional Grants.

Your financial aid application is used to determine your eligibility for all types of aid, and some scholarship providers may use your application information to determine whether you qualify for their awards. You must reapply for financial aid (including loans, grants, and Federal Work-Study) each year.

Frequently Asked Questions

FAFSA Filers

In order to electronically sign your FAFSA, your parent(s) will need a valid Social Security Number in order to apply for an FSA ID. If your parent is not able to apply for an FSA ID, your parent will need to print, sign, and mail in a paper signature page.

Dream Application Filers

If parent information was required, navigate to the link on the CA Dream Act website that says “Sign Student Application.” Your parent must create a Parent PIN and answer the verification questions if they do not already have a CSAC Parent PIN. Your parent will be issued a 4-digit electronic PIN code to sign your application. Keep this code in a safe place, because your parent will need it to re-sign the California Dream Application each time you make a correction to your application or file a new one in a subsequent year.

If your parent does not receive a PIN, your parent must provide a signature page for every correction that is made.

In situations such as the ones below, you may be able to submit your application without parent information despite being considered a dependent student:

  • Your parents are incarcerated.
  • You have left home due to an abusive family environment.
  • You do not know where your parents are and are unable to contact them (and you have not been adopted).
  • You are older than 21 but not yet 24, are unaccompanied, and are either homeless or self-supporting and at risk of being homeless.

The online application will ask you whether you are able to provide information about your parents. If you are not, you will have the option to indicate that you have special circumstances that make you unable to get your parents’ information. You will then be able to submit your application without entering data about your parents.

Once you’ve submitted your application, you will need to reach out to our office to discuss your options.  Be sure to gather as much information and supporting documentation about your situation as you can (legal documents; letters from a school counselor, a social worker, or clergy member; any other relevant information that helps document your special circumstance).

In order to be considered for a Cal Grant, you must have your GPA verified by the appropriate college or high school office. The following table shows which school should complete your GPA verification based on your current status.

Cal Grant GPA Verification
CSULB Current Student StatusGPA Verified by
First-Year Transfer StudentYour former college
Fewer than 24 total college units (cumulative) earned as of April 1Your former high school
At least 24 total college units completed and at least one unit earned at CSULB as of April 1


(electronic submission to CSAC)

At least 24 total college units earned with no units earned at CSULB as of April 1

Your former college

Paper GPA Verification Form required

Be sure you contact the appropriate school to have your GPA Verification sent to CSAC by the April 2 deadline. More information is available on the CSAC Cal Grant page.

Students who do not currently have a Cal Grant may be required to submit a Cal Grant GPA Verification to CSAC by the April 2 priority filing date.

The priority deadline for the 2024-2025 academic year was May 2, 2024. Keep in mind that students may not be eligible for certain types of aid if they submit an aid application after the priority deadline (such as CSULB or California state-funded aid) but are still encouraged to apply. 

While students should apply for aid as soon as possible, the final deadline to apply for aid for the 2024-2025 academic year is June 30, 2025.