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The FAFSA

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the application students complete to be considered for federal, state and institutional aid such as grants, loans and work-study. The FAFSA is available to everyone regardless of financial need as long as you are a U.S. Citizen, U.S. National, Lawful Permanent Resident, or Eligible Non-Citizen.

Completing the FAFSA

1. Gather Your Materials

  • Social Security and driver’s license numbers for you and your parent(s)/guardian(s). If you are considered an independent student, no parental information is necessary.
  • Your tax return or W-2 (or other records of income) from two years prior. For the 2020-21 academic year, you will use your 2018 return and for the 2021-22 academic year, you will use your 2019 return. If available in the FASFA, use the IRS data retrieval tool (DRT), to automatically import your tax return information.
  • Account statements for all investment assets and bank statements, such as stocks, bonds, business assets, etc.
  • Records of untaxed income, such as child support and interest income.

2. Apply for a FSA ID (if you do not already have one).

Parents and students require separate FSA IDs.

3. Register for Selective Service (if you are male under age 26).

When you submit the FAFSA, you’ll need to confirm that you’ve registered for the Selective Service. If you have a valid Social Security number, you can register online. If not, you'll need to register in-person at any U.S. Post Office.

4. Submit Your FAFSA

Submit your FAFSA between October 1 and March 2 for priority consideration for the upcoming academic year. Enter Cal Poly’s Federal School Code 001143 to ensure we receive your information. You can also submit the FAFSA using the MyStudentAid app on Apple or Android.

5. Submit Your GPA

Make sure your GPA has been submitted to the California Student Aid Commission by March 2. Community colleges and most California high schools automatically submit students' GPAs for Cal Grants. Check with your school to make sure; if they don't automatically submit your GPA, download the Cal Grant GPA Verification Form and have your school submit it to the California Student Aid Commission.

6. Make Corrections, if Needed

After filing your application, you will receive an email notification with a link to your Federal Student Aid Report. Review the information carefully and follow the instructions if you need to make any corrections or are chosen for verification.

Video Resources

FAFSA Help

Questions about completing certain parts of the application? Learn more at the Federal Student Aid site or contact the Cal Poly Financial Aid Office.