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How to Apply - FAFSA (Graduate Students)

School Code 001139

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) is the first step toward getting financial aid for college.

You must apply for financial aid (including loans, grants, and Federal Work Study employment), each year.   Your FAFSA is used to determine your eligibility for Federal, California State and CSULB aid, and some scholarship providers may use your FAFSA information to determine whether you qualify for their awards.

When you fill out a FAFSA, you are applying for aid for a specific year. In order to receive aid the next year, you’ll need to submit that next year’s FAFSA. If you completed a FAFSA this past year, the FAFSA website makes it easy for you by allowing you to submit a Renewal FAFSA that remembers certain information you reported the year before and places it in your new FAFSA.

Submit or renew your FAFSA  between October 1 and March 2 for the following academic year. Be sure to file before the priority filing deadline (March 2nd) in order to be considered for the maximum types of aid.

Applications submitted after March 2nd will be considered for Federal Direct Loans – but will not be eligible for CSULB Institutional Grants.


Eligibility for FAFSA & Federal Student Aid

Students pursuing a graduate degree are eligible for federal loan funds as well as the Federal TEACH Grant (depending on academic program).  In addition, eligibility for the State University Grant as well as Federal Work Study is determined by the FAFSA.

In order to be eligible for funding through the FAFSA Application, you must to meet the eligibility criteria for Federal Student Aid:

In addition to citizenship status, you must meet the other general eligibility criteria for federal student aid.  Review the information from Federal Student Aid for details.

Link for side:  FAFSA Facts for Students with Drug Convictions (pdf)

PLEASE NOTE: Students who received a Social Security Number through the Deferred Action of Childhood Arrival (DACA), and who qualify for AB540, should complete the California Dream Act Application in order to be considered for CSULB and California State financial aid, as they are NOT Eligible for Federal Student Aid.

Get and FSA ID

For FAFSA Applicants, you’ll need an FSA ID, a username and password combination that allows you to sign your FAFSA electronically. You’ll need your FSA ID to sign your FAFSA electronically.

  • If it’s your first time completing the FAFSA, you will need to create an FSA ID before completing your FAFSA. Find out more information and apply for an FSA ID
  • If you have completed a FAFSA previously, you will use the same FSA ID each year

Gathering Documents

The FAFSA asks for important personal identification information as well as financial information. Details about the type of information, and documents needed to complete the application are available from Federal Student Aid.

Don’t forget that if you have a current FAFSA on file, using the Renewal FAFSA makes it easier to re-apply each year; certain information you reported the year before will be placed in your new application.  Tax and income information will not be carried into your new application, so be prepared to provide that information when you complete the Renewal FAFSA. 

  • You may be able to have your tax & income information imported directly from the IRS into your FAFSA using the FAFSA’s IRS Data Retrieval Tool. 

If you are eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, we highly recommend doing so for the following reasons:

  • It’s the easiest way to provide your tax data.
  • It’s the best way of ensuring that your FAFSA has accurate tax information.
  • If your FAFSA is selected for verification, it will be unnecessary for you to provide federal IRS Tax Transcripts
  • You will save time and avoid waiting for documents and processing

Learn more about providing financial information from Federal Student Aid.

After the FAFSA: Next Steps

Completing the FAFSA is not the last step; your FAFSA has to be processed, and then you get an Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which CSULB uses to figure out how much aid you can get. Find out more about what happens after you fill out the FAFSA, how to review your Student Aid Report and how to correct any errors.

Students in the EdD or DPT Programs

Both the EdD and the DPT Program begin enrollment with the Summer term, which is considered to be part of the previous academic year.  Financial aid for your Summer term is available, but may require completion of a separate process – including completing a separate FAFSA application (for the prior academic year – if one is not already on file at CSULB).

Review the Information Guide for your program, which details the process, and required FAFSA Applications, for students applying to the EdD or DPT Programs.

Missed the Priority Filing Deadlines?

If you missed the Priority Filing Deadline (March 2nd), you should still complete the FAFSA Application.  Although you have missed the opportunity to be considered for CSULB and California State Grant funds for the upcoming year, you may still be eligible for a Federal Direct Loan (which requires completing the FAFSA).

In addition to Direct Loans, some scholarships, or private loans may require you to complete the FAFSA application to be considered.

You will have the opportunity to be considered for CSULB Institutional Grants next year – when you complete the FAFSA again (remember - you must complete a new FAFSA for each academic year).  The FAFSA becomes available every October 1st.

Be sure to complete the FAFSA prior to the Priority Filing Deadline, so that you can be considered for the full scope of funding available.