Step-by-step how to apply

There are six basic steps in the process to apply for financial aid, beginning with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA):

Step 1: Complete the FAFSA.

The CSUMB Federal School Code is: 032603

The FAFSA is the core financial aid application used nationwide and must be completed in order for a student to be considered for most types of financial aid. The FAFSA must be completed each year, and can be submitted online. Income figures may be estimated; do NOT wait until a tax return is filed. Student and/or parent must update tax information after taxes are finalized.

The Financial Aid Office strongly encourages you to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to automatically transfer you and your parents' tax information onto your FAFSA. For more info on how to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, please review our FAFSA Tips section.

Step 2: Submit the FAFSA annually between October 1 and March.

Students who file during this time period and who demonstrate the highest need will be given priority consideration for financial aid funding. Those students who submit their applications after March 2 will not be given priority consideration; awards will be based on the remaining funds available.

California residents applying for a Cal Grant must submit a GPA Verification Form as well as the FAFSA by the March 2 deadline. GPA Verification Forms are available from the student's high school counselor or online at the California Student Aid Commision’s website.

Step 3: Make any necessary corrections to the Student Aid Report (SAR).

Once you have filed your FAFSA, your information will be processed by Federal Student Aid, and a Student Aid Report (SAR) will be generated typically within one week of your online FAFSA having been submitted. The SAR is a summary of the information you entered on the FAFSA; be sure to review the SAR for any errors. You can make any necessary corrections online via the FAFSA website. If no corrections are needed, keep a printed copy of your SAR for reference.

Step 4: Submit any additional documentation requested.

The Department of Education will electronically transmit the FAFSA information to CSUMB. We will then review the data to determine if any additional documents (i.e., tax returns, citizenship documentation, etc.) are needed. This review is undertaken to ensure the accuracy of the information reported.

Please do NOT send information or documents that are not requested.

If additional documents are required you will receive an email with the details and deadlines. Please follow the instructions on each form for submission requirements. You will have the option to submit one or more of the following ways:

  • In person to the Financial Aid Office (3rd Floor, Student Services Building).
  • In person to the Campus Service Center (1st Floor, Student Services Building).
  • By mail to:
 CSUMB, Financial Aid Office, 100 Campus Center, Seaside, CA 93955

After you have submitted any requested additional documentation, your information will be reviewed for accuracy and completeness.

Step 5: Review your financial aid award notice

Once the Financial Aid Office has completed the review of information and any requested documents, an award notification will be prepared. Award notifications are only prepared for two populations of students:

  • Admitted Students, who receive a paper award notification and email. Notifications are sent out beginning in mid-April.
  • Continuing (currently enrolled) Students, who receive an electronic notification via CSUMB email.
  • If your household or financial circumstance have changed since the tax year you used on FAFSA, you can file a Student and/or Parent Income Change Form in Financial Aid Forms under "Other (aid year) Forms" section.

Step 6: Accept/decline your awards.

All financial aid awards are accepted online through your Dashboard. Be sure to review your Financial Aid Award Notice as well as the steps to access your Dashboard. To receive your funds, you must accept your award(s), complete required steps for Direct Stafford Loans (if applicable), maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress, and for most programs, be enrolled at least half-time.

To ensure receipt of all funds offered, please read and respond promptly to the financial aid award notification. Check your status and continuously read your CSUMB email account. Information about your application status, eligibility, and awards can be accessed at any time on your Dashboard.