Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on the Web for federal and state aid, or need-based Chico State Scholarships. The FAFSA becomes available on January 1 for the following academic year.
Apply for CSU, Chico scholarships online. The application period for CSU, Chico scholarships is January 2 through February 15 for the next academic year.
When do I apply for federal and state financial aid? Is there a deadline?
Complete the FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1 for federal and state financial aid for the next academic year. The priority application date for financial aid is March 2 of each year. We will continue to accept applications after March 2 and distribute awards throughout the academic year or semester, depending on your enrollment. Please keep in mind that some funds are limited, and are awarded to eligible students on a first-come first-serve basis.
- U.S. citizen
- U.S. national (includes natives of American Samoa or Swain’s Island)
- U.S. permanent resident who has an I-151, I-551, or I-551C (Alien Registration Receipt Card)
If you are not in one of these categories, you must have an Arrival–Departure Record (I-94) from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) showing one of the following designations in order to be eligible for federal and state aid:
- Asylum Granted
- Indefinite Parole and/or Humanitarian Parole
- Cuban–Haitian Entrant, Status Pending
- Conditional Entrant (valid only if issued before April 1, 1980)
If you are classified as an AB-540 student, you may be eligible for state financial aid. For more information, view AB 540 Dream Act.
If you have a Notice of Approval to Apply for Permanent Residence (I-171 or I-464), you are NOT ELIGIBLE for federal and state financial aid.
If you are in the United States on an F1 or F2 student visa, or on a J1 or J2 exchange visitor visa only, you are not eligible for federal or state financial aid. Also, persons with G series visas (pertaining to international organizations) NOT ELIGIBLE eligible for financial aid.
Do I need to be admitted before I apply for financial aid?
No. Submit the FAFSA by the March 2 priority filing date before the academic year you expect to enroll at CSU, Chico. However, you will need to be admitted and registered in classes before you actually receive financial aid.
What if my tax returns are not complete when I apply?
If your federal tax returns will not be completed in time to file early, you may use estimated income tax information. If you have used estimated income figures, submit your and/or your parents' actual financial information when it becomes available. Log on to www.fafsa.ed.gov and click on Make Corrections to a Processed FAFSA. Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool called "Link to IRS" which will automatically make corrections to income figures.
What if my parents don't claim me as a dependent on their tax return, am I independent?
No, according to U.S. Department of Education guidelines, the following conditions do not qualify as criteria for independent status:
- Parents refusing to contribute to the student's education
- Parents unwilling to provide information on the FAFSA or documents for verification
- Parents not claiming the student as a dependent for income tax purposes
- Student demonstrating total self-sufficiency
There are other circumstances that qualify for independent status; you can find more information about dependent or independent student status here: http://www.csuchico.edu/fa/circumstances/dependency.shtml.
If my parents are divorced or separated, whose financial information should be used when I complete the FAFSA?
If your natural parents are separated or divorced, use the natural parent with whom you lived with more in the past 12 months. If you lived with neither parent, or lived with each parent an equal number of days, use the parent that provided the most financial support to you over the past 12 months. If that parent remarried, federal regulations require that you include the stepparent’s financial information on the application, and the parent and stepparent should report themselves as married on the FAFSA. If your parents are divorced or separated and are living together, you will need to provide information on both parents.
If you are not sure whether a parent - or which one - should help you complete the FAFSA, view this simple quiz: Who is my FAFSA parent?
What if I didn't hear about financial aid yet?
If you did not file a FAFSA for 2015-2016, then we do not yet have your application. You must complete a FAFSA for each academic year for which you will need financial aid. Please note: Students are notified beginning mid-April of financial aid offers by e-mail. Please check your Wildcat e-mail account regularly.
If you filed a FAFSA for 2015-2016 but did not include the CSU, Chico federal school code, you can add our school code to your FAFSA by going to www.fafsa.ed.gov and choosing Corrections to Your 2015-2016 FAFSA. Our FAFSA federal school code is 001146. As soon as the federal processor has that information, they will transmit a copy of your FAFSA and we can process a financial aid offer for you.
How does financial aid pay university tuition and fees?
View the tutorial Using Your Aid to Pay Charges for detailed information on how financial aid pays your university charges.
All financial aid is posted to the student's account. Financial aid recipients are required to pay the difference between all University Charges (including registration and tuition fees, on-campus housing and board plan) and pending financial aid. View your pending financial aid in the Finances/Account Inquiry section of your Student Center. Payment is due by the Registration & Tuition Fee Payment Deadline:
July 29, 2015 for Fall Semester 2015
December 10, 2015 for Spring Semester 2016
If your pending financial aid for the semester is sufficient to cover your fees and charges, the balance due will automatically be deducted from your refund when your financial aid disburses. The fees box in the Finances section of your Student Center will continue to indicate fees "Past Due" until your aid goes out. No payments are necessary as long as you have sufficient pending aid to cover your fall charges.
Financial aid and scholarships are disbursed once a week on Thursday throughout each semester. The primary, or first possible disbursement of federal and state aid and scholarships each semester, is the Thursday prior to the first day of classes, which is five days before the beginning of each semester.
- Fall 2015: First possible disbursement date is August 20
- Spring 2016: First possible disbursement date is January 21
You must be enrolled in classes, all your Student Center "To Do List" items completed, and not have any holds for your financial aid funds to be disbursed. For scholarship funds to be disbursed, you must be enrolled full–time (12 units for undergraduate and credential students; 8 units for graduate students).
Tuition fees, housing charges, and other financial obligations you owe to the University are deducted from your award and any remaining aid is disbursed to you. Parent applications for PLUS loans may designate the parent checking account for the disbursement.
We strongly recommend that students arrange for direct deposit. Students who sign up for Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) receive their disbursements by direct deposit into a designated account on the day of disbursement. Enroll in direct deposit through the Finances section in your Student Center. If you do not choose EFT as your disbursement method, a check will be mailed when your disbursement is ready. It can take up to one week before you receive your check if it is sent through the mail.
Do I need to notify the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office if I’m not attending CSU, Chico or changing my enrollment dates?
Yes. Please complete and submit a Financial Aid Update to notify our office if your enrollment plans have changes or if you are graduating fall semester so that we can adjust your award appropriately.
What if I'm receiving educational funding from a source other than financial aid?
Federal regulations require that assistance from other sources be coordinated with financial aid. Your eligibility may be affected by external sources of assistance. Forms of aid such as private scholarships, fellowships, stipends, fee waivers, AmeriCorps grants, and third-party payments are reported to us when payment is received by the University and will be coordinated with your financial aid award. When the total of your financial aid and educational assistance from other sources exceeds the Cost of Attendance, it is considered an overaward and requires adjustment of your financial aid. Please be aware that our office does all it can to prevent overawards because they can result in a student having to repay aid for which they are ineligible.
Why have you requested tax information and/or Verification Worksheets?
We are required to verify the files selected by the federal processor. We compare the information you reported on the FAFSA with your and/or your parents' federal tax information, completed Verification Worksheet(s), and other documents as needed. If you have filed your 2014 IRS Federal Tax Return, you may update both parent and student 2015/2016 FAFSA financial information using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on your FAFSA by clicking "Link to IRS." If your file has been selected for verification, you will not be required to submit tax forms and schedules once our office receives unaltered retrieved IRS information for student and parent. Using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool will expedite the processing of your application.
If you are unable to use the IRS Data Retrieval Process, you will be required to submit a tax return transcript. To request a transcript, please visit www.irs.gov/transcript. There is no fee for transcripts. Allow up to 2 weeks for delivery. Do not request delivery directly to our office. Please submit a copy of the tax return transcript with your name and Chico State ID printed on each page.
Return all requested items ASAP, as aid will be held until verification is complete. Please double check your documents for accuracy and completeness before you submit them. For additional information, also see Verification.
Why are there still items requested on my "To Do List," when I already submitted everything?
It is normal for items to still appear as "requested" for up to 4 weeks after you submit them in person or by mail, due to the large volume of documents we receive. Items submitted by fax should automatically update your Student Center "To Do List" from "requested" to "received" within 72 hours. Your "To Do List" items will change to "received" when they have been electronically linked to your file. The date documents were received will be recorded as the date the documents are submitted to our office. It can take up to twelve weeks to complete a verification.
After your file is completed, the items will clear from your "To Do List." Please do not resubmit your documents. Continue to check your Student Center for status changes and, possibly, additional information requests. Your file is not complete until all financial aid requests are removed from your "To Do List".
I know I will need more money. Can I borrow more Federal Direct Stafford Loan?
Students may be eligible for additional Stafford loan if they have not met their annual and cumulative loan limits. Additional units may have been earned since the loan was packaged which may increase subsidized loan eligibility. For additional information, view Stafford Loan Limits. If you wish to apply for additional loan funds, submit an online Federal Direct Stafford Loan application. Graduate students pursuing a Master’s degree may request a Graduate PLUS Loan. The parent of a dependent student may request a parent loan by submitting a Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) Application.
I applied for financial aid. Why was I offered a loan?
Loans are a form of financial aid. In fact, they make up the largest portion of the federal student aid program. You are eligible for a loan, although your EFC does not qualify you for grants, which are considered need-based aid. See Loans for additional information.
I applied for an Alternative Loan. When will I get it?
We strongly encourage students to file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine their eligibility for federal student aid prior to applying for an alternative loan. Alternative loans take up to eight weeks to process and disburse approximately four weeks after certification. The first possible alternative loan payment for Fall 2015 is September 3 and Spring 2016 is February 4.
When is the application period for CSU, Chico scholarships?
The 2015-2016 California State University, Chico Scholarship Application must be submitted between January 2 and February 15, 2015. You must also complete a FAFSA by March 2 for consideration of need based scholarships. Click here for more information.
When will 2015-2016 CSU, Chico scholarships be announced?
Recipients of 2015-2016 CSU, Chico scholarships will be notified of their selection via e-mail by Summer 2015. If you are offered a CSU, Chico scholarship you will receive an email notification using your CSU, Chico email account. At that time, recipients can access their scholarship offer through the Finances section of their Student Center, and must accept or decline their scholarship offer.
What other scholarships can I apply for?
See our Web page on External Scholarships.
How will I receive my external (private) scholarship?
The turnaround time for complete processing of external scholarships is two to three weeks after we receive the check in our office. Once entered into a student's award, the scholarship is considered pending aid. We do not enter a scholarship as pending aid based on an award letter without receiving the check. Pending aid defers charges until the first disbursement, after which disbursements occur weekly as files are completed. After charges are paid, any money remaining will be disbursed. Please also see our Web page on external scholarships for additional information.
What is the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and how is unmet need calculated?
The FAFSA collects household and student financial information and determines a dollar amount called the EFC that is used to determine federal student aid eligibility. The formula used to calculate the EFC is established by law and measures a family's comparative financial strength on the basis of income, assets, and family size.
The starting point for aid is always Financial Need, which will be different for each school because need is the difference between a college's Cost of Attendance and your Expected Family Contribution. The EFC also determines grant eligibility. For more information, see Understanding Your Award.
The offered award may not meet unmet need. For additional aid, students may request additional loan funds which may not have been included in the initial offer. Additionally, parents may request a PLUS loan. For more information, see Loans.
Can parents talk to the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office about their student's financial aid?
Federal law protects the privacy of student education records. For students 18 or older, the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office must have written permission from the student to release any information about their financial aid file. When parent contact is necessary, we have an electronic form called Authorization to Release Information. When submitted by the student, the form allows our staff to speak directly to a parent about their student's financial aid file. This procedure assures compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
Can parents take out Federal loans for their student's education?
PLUS Loans (Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students) are Federal Direct Stafford Loans that help parent borrowers pay college expenses for dependent students. Parents may borrow up to the cost of education, minus any other aid received by the student, including Unsubsidized Stafford Loan. For additional information, view PLUS Loans. To apply, print a Parent PLUS Loan application and submit to our office. This loan takes up to 8 weeks to process.