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How to Apply for Aid - Prospective Credential Students

Which application do I file?

FAFSA versus Dream Application
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) California Dream Application
  • 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 2021-2022 FAFSA Submit a 2021-2022 California Dream application
Eligible to receive funding from federal, state, and institutional aid programs* Eligible to receive funding from CA State and CA institutional aid programs

For help on submitting a FAFSA, watch these short FATv videos

 Getting Started 2021-22

For help on submitting a California Dream application, watch these short FATv videos

How do I apply for financial aid under CA dream act

The 2021-2022 financial aid applications are now live! Submit your financial aid application  between October 1 and March 2 for the following academic year. Be sure to file before the priority filing deadline (March 2) in order to be considered for the maximum types of aid. Applications submitted after March 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.

Students in the Credential Program are considered 5th year undergraduate students for Financial Aid purposes. Students who already possess an initial Teacher Credential, and are now working on an additional credential, are only eligible for federal loan funds (at the 5th year undergrad level) or for private education loans.


How do I answer questions about what degree or year in school I am on my application?

Credential students are considered 5th year undergraduates for financial aid purposes.

To ensure all needed information is provided on the application, and to avoid delays in the processing of your financial aid file, please use the information below to answer questions on your financial aid application:

Determining Grade Level
Question Answer
What will your college grade level be when you begin the school year? 5th year/other undergraduate
What degree or certificate will you be working on when you begin the school year? Teaching credential (nondegree program)
At the beginning of the school year, will you be working on a master's or doctorate program (MA, MBA, MD, JD, PhD, EdD, graduate certificate, etc.)? No

How do my parents sign my application if they don't have Social Security Numbers?

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.

What if I am unable to provide my parent's information on my application?

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).