Federal Student Aid is an Office of the U.S. Department of Education and a resource for students and families interested in learning more about the Federal aid that is available to assist in the costs of attending a post-secondary institution. Here you will find the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application, as well as resources on how to prepare for college, the different types of aid available, who is eligible and how to repay loans.
NSLDS is the U.S. Department of Education's central database for student aid. It provides a central location for students to view their Title IV loans and/or grant history. This is really helpful to monitor your student loan borrowing over your college career!
Studentloans.gov is another U.S. Department of Education page full of resources! Here you can complete things like your direct loan entrance counseling, sign your master promissory note, as well as apply for PLUS loans. If you've borrowed student loans or are considering it, there is a repayment estimator so that you can have a rough estimate of what your payments will look like when it is time to pay back the loan!
WebGrants for Students is CSAC's student portal where you can monitor your California State Aid eligibility. If CSAC needs any information from you, they will notify you through this portal. It is very important to monitor your WebGrants account, in case any information is needed to award you aid that you may be eligible for!
The California Student Aid Commission handles several State Aid programs, including the Cal Grant, Middle Class Scholarship, and Chaffee Grant. Their website is a great resource to figure out what grants and/or scholarships you might be eligible for!
Need help managing your finances? This is a great resource on campus that you can utilize! They have regular events to help you learn how to make your financial aid last, as well as learning to budget for your future!
Frequently Asked Questions:
When will Fresno State receive my FAFSA?
It usually takes the U.S. Department of Education a couple of days to process your FAFSA and send it to us (assuming there is no holidays and/or weekends). We receive FAFSAs every day from the U.S. Department of Education – however, if you apply for the upcoming school year, we do not begin loading those FAFSAs into our system until February/March of that year.
When will I have To Do Items on my account?
It depends -- It could really happen at any time throughout the semester, however, more than likely, you'll see them after we have received your FAFSA/California Dream Act Application.
When will my financial aid be awarded?
Awarding happens once a week, most weeks, for the current academic year. Because
everyone's financial aid package is so specific to them, there are times when your
award package has to been reviewed by a counselor.
For the upcoming school year, awarding begins in late-March.
NOTE: If you have incomplete To Do items on your Student Center, this can keep you from being awarded – Please submit all requested items as quickly as possible to help with your financial aid processing.
My parents are not married – Who do I put on the FAFSA?
It depends – Are your parents not married, but living together? Or are they not married and not living together?
- If your legal parents are not married, but do live together, you'll include both of them on the FAFSA and mark their marital status as "unmarried and both legal parents living together".
- If your legal parents are not married and do not live together, your FAFSA parent is the parent you lived with more in the last 12 months when completing the FAFSA. If you didn't live with either of your parents, then your FAFSA parent is the parent that provided more financial support. If you're unsure, please feel free to contact our office!
NOTE: If your FAFSA parent is married as of the day you complete the FAFSA, you'll need to include your step-parent's information on the FAFSA.
My parent has remarried, do I have to include my step-parent?
If your FAFSA parent is married as of the day you complete the FAFSA, you'll need to include their spouse's information on the FAFSA – even if they don't provide you any support. If your parent is separated, or in the process of divorcing their spouse, please contact our office for further guidance.
My (or my parents') income has changed significantly and isn't the same as when we filed taxes, is there anything we can do?
It is possible for us to review your (or your parents') current income and make changes to your FAFSA to accurately reflect your family's ability to pay for college. Please contact our office to see if your situation qualifies for this review.
What is verification and what does it mean to be selected for verification?
Verification is essentially an audit on your FAFSA to ensure that it has been completed
Personal and federal tax information is requested, and once you submit that your file is reviewed and corrections may be made to your FAFSA if there are errors. It is important to be as thorough as possible when submitted documents to avoid the need for follow up, because the initial review of your documents can take up to 4-6 weeks.
Your federal aid cannot be awarded and/or disbursed if you have not completed verification. This is why we encourage you to request your federal tax return transcripts from the IRS after completing your FAFSA and to submit your documents as quickly as possible.
Why am I selected for verification?
There are a lot of different reasons why you could be selected for verification, but the primary two reasons are (1) the U.S. Department of Education has randomly selected your file to be verified, or (2) you've made changes to your FAFSA since the original and we have to review the changes that you have been made to determine whether or not they are acceptable changes.
Who is considered to be an independent student?
If you cannot say "yes" to any of these factors, then you'd be considered dependent and your parents' information would be required – however, if you can say "yes" to at least one of these factors, you'd be considered independent and no parent information is required.
- Were you born before January 1, 1998? (For the 2021-2022 FAFSA application)
- As of the day you complete the FAFSA, are you married (answer yes, even if you are separated, but not divorced)?
- At the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year, will you be working on a master's or doctorate program?
- Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training?
- Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces?
- Do you now have or will you have children who will receive more than half of their support from you between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021? (For the 2021-2022 FAFSA application)
- Do you have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and who receive more than half of their support from you, now through June 30, 2022? (For the 2021-2022 FAFSA application)
- At any time since you turned age 13, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care or were you a dependent or ward of the court?
- As determined by a court in your state of legal residence are you or were you an emancipated minor?
- Does someone other than your parent or stepparent have legal guardianship of you, as determined by a court in your state of legal residence?
- At any time on or after July 1, 2020 (for the 2021-2022 FAFSA application), did your high school or school district homeless liaison determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?
- At any time on or after July 1, 2020 (for the 2021-2022 FAFSA application), did the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?
- At any time on or after July 1, 2020 (for the 2021-2022 FAFSA application), did the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?
What financial aid comes from the FAFSA?
- Federal Pell Grant
- Federal SEOG Grant
- Federal TEACH Grant
- Federal Work-Study
- Federal Direct Subsidized Loan
- Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan
- Federal Direct PLUS Loan
- Some scholarships require FAFSA information to determine eligibility
- Some state awards require FAFSA information to determine eligibility