How to Apply

On This Page

› FAFSA - the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

IRS Data Retrieval - complete your IRS Tax return as soon as possible.

IRS Tax Return Transcript - how to order a free Tax Return Transcript from the IRS.

Deadlines.

AidLink and e-mail is how we communicate with you.

› Your correct social security number.

› Apply now and reapply every year after January 1.

The Application Form

Students of all class levels should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be considered for all types of state and federal aid: grants, work study, student and parent loans. and some scholarships.

FAFSA

Helpful video:

7 Easy Steps to the FAFSA

The FAFSA and instructions are available online at the FAFSA Web site.

You will need —

  • the SDSU Federal School Code number-001151
  • a Federal Student Aid PIN

The Federal Student Aid PIN

Information is on the FAFSA Web site for how students and parents apply for a Federal Student Aid PIN. This will be your electronic identifier that enables you to—

  • complete, sign, and submit your FAFSA online, and
  • access your personal information in various U.S. Department of Education systems.

IRS Data Retrieval

Completing the FAFSA will be faster, easier, and more accurate if you and your parents have already completed your IRS federal income tax returns.

    IRS Data Retrieval

    When completing or correcting your FAFSA, select the IRS Data Retrieval process.

    IRS Tax Return Transcript - You may be required to order a Tax Return Transcript from the IRS.

    A personal copy of your tax return is not acceptable.

  • Complete your IRS tax returns as soon as possible so that you can use the IRS Data Retrieval process when you complete your FAFSA.
  • If you estimate your income, you can later correct your estimated information using the data retrieval process.
  • If your FAFSA is selected for verification and you did not use or are unable to use the data retrieval process, you will be required to order a Tax Return Transcript from the IRS and submit it to the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships.

Correcting your FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval process

Watch "IRS Data Retrieval Tool" for a short video guide on how to do this.

  • Return to www.fafsa.gov, login, and follow the "make corrections" instructions.
  • You can use the IRS Data Retrieval process to correct your estimated income after you and your parents have filed your tax returns.

Unable to use the IRS Data Retrieval process

If you are unable to use the FAFSA IRS Data Retrieval process, complete your FAFSA following the instructions for each item or question.

You will be unable to use the IRS Data Retrieval process —

  • if you or your parents have not yet filed your tax returns, or
  • if you or your parents filed tax returns as "married filing separately," or
  • if your or your parents' marital status changes after the tax calendar year, or
  • if you filed an amended tax return, or
  • if you filed a foreign tax return.

Parent information on the FAFSA

Your parents must provide information on the FAFSA if you answer "No" to all of the student status questions in the "Dependency Determination " section of the FAFSA. Parent information is required even if you do not live with or receive any financial support from your parents.

The Federal Need Analysis formula requires that this information be collected and used to measure your parents' ability to assist you with your educational costs.

Order an IRS Tax Return Transcript - It's Free

First try the IRS Data Retrieval as it may be faster and easier than ordering a Tax Return Transcript. In some cases, you may still need to order a Tax Return Transcript.

If your application is selected for verification and you did not use the IRS Data Retrieval Process when completing or correcting your FAFSA, you will be required to order a Tax Return Transcript from the IRS and submit it to the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships.

If you are required to order a Tax Return Transcript —

  • The IRS will mail the Tax Return Transcript to the tax filer within 5-10 days of the request once the IRS has a completed tax return.
  • NEW "Get Transcript" application allows you to view and print your Tax Return Transcript the same day.
  • You can order a free IRS Tax Return Transcript online or by phone. (To view and print the same day, you must order online.)

Order online - it takes less than 10 minutes

  1. Go to the IRS Web site.
  2. Follow the online prompts and instructions to receive a Tax Return Transcript by mail OR, select "Get Transcript ONLINE" to view and print one online the same day.
  3. Order a "Tax Return" transcript; do not order a "Tax Account" transcript.

Order by phone

  1. Call the IRS toll free at 1-800-908-9946.
  2. Follow the voice instructions and prompts, using your telephone keypad to request your Tax Return Transcript.

Deadlines

Priority deadlines  

Applying for Aid

Students of all class levels apply using the FAFSA online after January 1 each year.

First time Cal Grant: Apply before March 2.

Submit requested documents by April 1.

To receive first priority evaluation of your eligibility for all financial aid programs, submit your FAFSA between January 1 and March 2 and, by April 1, submit all financial aid documents requested through your AidLink account. Review Using AidLink.

  • By March 2 – your FAFSA must be complete and accepted (not rejected for errors) with SDSU’s federal school code of 001151.
  • By April 1 – submit requested documents.  

A FAFSA and documents submitted after these dates will receive second priority evaluation and aid awarded based on available funding at the time.

Applications are evaluated and aid awarded throughout the year based on available funding.  Some grant funds are limited so apply early and submit documents as soon as requested. 

Last day to apply

Your FAFSA must be complete, accepted (not rejected for errors), and received by SDSU before the last day of your enrollment to be considered for any funds.

First-time Cal Grant and Middle Class Scholarship applicants

If you are applying for Cal Grant or a Middle Class Scholarship (both for CA residents only) for the first time, complete the FAFSA and submit it on or before March 2. Review the Cal Grant and Middle Class Scholarship sections for more detail.

AidLink

How to Use AidLink
— watch this short video.

Access your latest SDSU financial aid information — 24 hours a day.

Get to Know AidLink

Learn how to use AidLink for instant and continuous access to important information and action you need to take for your financial aid at SDSU.

You have an AidLink record once we receive an electronic record of the information you enter on your FAFSA. Usually, this is 7 to 10 days after you apply online.

Check AidLink and your e-mail regularly

You may have messages from this office that alert you to additional information you may be required to provide for us to complete your record and award your financial aid.

New SDSU Students

Apply now!

You may apply for financial aid while your application for admission is being processed. Do not wait until you are admitted to the university.

Allow several weeks processing time from when you are admitted to when you are notified of your financial aid award at SDSU.

After you are officially admitted to the university and your financial aid record is complete, you will be able to view your award notice on AidLink.

Social security number does not match

If the social security number you used on your FAFSA does not match the social security number you used (if any) on your application for admission to the university, we will not be able to display your FAFSA record on AidLink nor will we know when you have been admitted to the university.

If this describes your situation, contact us for instruction.

Continuing SDSU Students

You must reapply for aid every year after January 1.

top of page