Get Ready to Apply

Completing and submitting financial aid applications is free and quick. They also give you access to the largest sources of financial aid to pay for college. Agencies and CSUF use your financial aid application data to determine your eligibility for state and school aid, even some private financial aid providers may use your FAFSA information to determine whether you qualify for their aid.

Here are some tips that can help you get ready to apply for financial aid.

What ApplicationS do I need to Fill out?

There are many financial aid applications and a quick search may result in many options for applying. Make sure you are filling out the correct applications and submitting them by the priority deadlines. You can learn more on our Eligibility Requirements page as well as other links on the left.  Financial aid applications are free to submit so never pay anyone to help you. If you need help applying you can contact us for further assistance.

FAFSA Applicants - Get an FSA ID

Students, parents, and borrowers are required to use an FSA ID, made up of a username and password, to access certain U.S. Department of Education websites.  Your FSA ID is used to confirm your identity when accessing your financial aid information and electronically signing your federal student aid documents.  For FAFSA Applicants, you’ll need an FSA ID Opens in new window , a username and password combination that allows you to sign your FAFSA electronically. If you are a dependent student you should also have your parent request and FSA ID. Your FSA ID also can be used to sign loan contracts and to access certain information online. You can get your FSA ID as you fill out the FAFSA, but you also have the option to get it ahead of time. The FSA ID replaces the FSA PIN. Getting an FSA ID before you begin the FAFSA could prevent processing delays, and it only takes a few minutes to apply. You can find out more information and apply for an FSA ID Opens in new window

CDA Applicants - Get a Parent PIN

The CDA Application uses PINs to verify identity and allow parents to sign applications.  A parent PIN can be used each year to electronically sign a student's Dream Act Application. Once a PIN is received, it should be kept secure and not shared with anyone. Your PIN serves as your electronic signature, so you should never give your PIN to anyone including commercial services that offer to help you complete the Dream Act Application. Be sure to keep your PIN in a safe place.  Parent's can sign or request a PIN Opens in new window

Gathering Documents

The FAFSA and CDA application ask for important identification and financial information. You may be asked to provide identification and financial information for your parents.  Here are some of the information or documents you may need to fill out financial aid applications:

  • Personal Identification Information - it’s important that you enter it correctly on the application
    • Your Social Security number, if applicable.
    • Your DACA issued Social Security number for work purposes, if applicable.
    • Your parents’ Social Security numbers if you are a dependent student, if applicable.
    • Your driver’s license number if you have one
    • Your Alien Registration number if you are not a U.S. citizen
  • Financial Information
    • Federal tax information or tax returns including IRS W-2 information, for you (and your spouse, if you are married), and for your parents if you are a dependent student:
      • IRS 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ
      • Foreign tax return and/or
      • Tax return for Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, or Palau
    • Records of your untaxed income, such as child support received, interest income, and veterans non-education benefits, for you, and for your parents if you are a dependent student
    • Information on cash; savings and checking account balances; investments, including stocks and bonds and real estate but not including the home in which you live; and business and farm assets for you, and for your parents if you are a dependent student

Keep these records! You may need them again.


Click these links for more guidance when filing applications