FAFSA tips

Before you start

  • Have the Social Security numbers and tax returns handy for you and your parents
  • Obtain a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID (You’ll use this as your electronic signature for the application)

Filling out the FAFSA

 

Go to Federal Student Aid site (part of the U.S. Department of Education)

Click on "Start here" if you are starting a FAFSA for the first time. If you filled out a FAFSA last year and want to renew it, click “Log in” on the home page and make sure to update your information.

Student login

You have two options to log in: 1) If you obtained an FSA ID, you can enter it OR 2) Enter your name, Social Security number and date of birth.

Student eligibility

Selective Service Registration: Male students must be registered with the Selective Service to receive federal or state aid.

Grade level

If you applied to UC as a freshman, select “Never attended college/1st year.”

College degree or certificate

Select “1st bachelor degree” even if you plan to earn advanced degrees in the future.

School selection

This section must be completed accurately to ensure that the colleges and universities you have applied to will receive your California Dream Act application information. You must indicate at least one California college or university to be considered for a Cal Grant.

To help the California Student Aid Commission determine your Cal Grant eligibility, it’s best to list a UC campus or other California four-year college or university first.

List each UC campus that you have applied to, entering the federal school code from the list below.

UC campus Fed. school code
Berkeley 001312
Davis 001313
Irvine 001314
Los Angeles 001315
Merced 041271
Riverside 001316
San Diego 001317
Santa Barbara 001320
Santa Cruz 001321

 

Dependency determination

If you answer “No” to each dependency question, at least one of your parents must complete the FAFSA’s parent information questions and sign the form. (Your parent also should obtain an FSA ID at https://fsaid.ed.gov) You will be considered dependent even if another college or university determined previously that you were independent.

Number of family members

Include yourself, your parents and any other members of the household who receive more than half of their support from your parents.

Number of college students in the household

Include yourself (regardless of how many units you plan to take), plus any other household members (excluding your parents) who will be enrolled in college at least half time in 2020-21.

Parent financial information *

The 2020-21 FAFSA requires tax information from 2018. Your parents should be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to import their tax information directly into the FAFSA.

Student financial information *

The 2020-21 FAFSA requires tax information from 2018. You should be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to import your tax information directly into the FAFSA.

Signatures

You (and either parent, if you’re a dependent student) may sign electronically using a FSA ID, or print, sign and mail the signature page. (If you don’t have access to a printer, a signature page will be mailed to you.) Apply for an FSA ID at https://fsaid.ed.gov.

*If either you or your parent is in a registered domestic partnership, do not include the partner’s income or assets on the FAFSA. Instead, complete the FAFSA as instructed and contact a UC campus financial aid office for instructions on how to report the income and assets of your or your parent’s partner. Domestic partnerships are treated the same as marriage in determining eligibility for state and university financial aid, in accordance with state law.

Submit your gpa for a cal grant

If you’re a California resident or you graduated from a California high school, you may be eligible for a Cal Grant. To be considered, in addition to filing a FAFSA, make sure your school-certified GPA is submitted to the California Student Aid Commission.

All California public and charter high schools are required by law to electronically submit GPAs for currently enrolled seniors who do not opt out. However, if your school does not submit GPAs electronically, use the paper GPA Verification Form, which is available through your school or at www.csac.ca.gov (click on “Cal Grant GPA Forms” under “Students and Parents”).

Complete the top section of the form, including the student certification, and sign it. Once an official from your school has filled out the bottom half, send the form via first-class mail. Make a copy of the form and obtain a certificate of mailing from the post office for your records.

For you to be considered for a 2020-21 Cal Grant, your GPA Verification Form must be postmarked by March 2.

If you received a Cal Grant for the 2019-20 academic year, you do not have to submit a 2020-21 GPA Verification Form.

What’s next?

Within five days after you submit your FAFSA, you’ll receive an electronic Student Aid Report (SAR) at the email address you listed on the application. If any information is incorrect, or if you want to add to or change your school selections, make the changes on the SAR and return it to the processor as directed.

If you are selected to receive a Cal Grant, you also will get a California Aid Report. You can check the status of your Cal Grant application at WebGrants for Students (https://mygrantinfo.csac.ca.gov/).

After you’re admitted to a UC campus, you will receive a financial aid notice (most likely through the campus portal) with a summary of the estimated costs of attendance and the financial aid options for which you are eligible.