Apply for Aid - Step 3 for first-year students (Step 2 for Continuing Students)

"Apply for Aid" steps are detailed In a sequence of pages including this one.

To view the full sequence of steps, return to the Financial Aid Home Page and Select the link appropriate to you under the heading "Apply for Aid." The checklist you will see corresponds to this sequence of pages.

What is the FAFSA?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a foundational document for access to federal student aid programs including:

  1. Direct Unsubsidized Loans (loan application) or Direct Unsubsidized Loans (Ed. Dept. Financial Aid Pages)
  2. Direct PLUS Loans for Graduate Students (loan application) or PLUS Loans (Ed. Dept. Financial Aid Pages)
  3. Federal Work-Study

(Click on one of the above titles to see more detailed information about these programs)

The FAFSA is not the actual "application" for funds from any of these programs. Rather, the information provided on the FAFSA establishes your eligibility to participate in federal student aid programs. In general, the key eligibility criterion is U.S. citizenship or eligible non-citizen (e.g., permanent resident) status.

The FAFSA does collect income and tax information as well as self-reported asset information. This information does not affect amounts a student is eligible for from the Direct Unsubsidized Loan and PLUS Loan programs.

Income, tax, and asset information is taken into consideration when determining eligibility for the Federal Work-Study program. This program represents a very small portion (less than 1%) of the student aid funds students receive. Federal Work-Study is primarily a program for undergraduate students but is available to graduate and professional students at CUA on a limited basis.

What Documents Will I Need to Complete the FAFSA? 

Income and tax information is supplied by using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool imbedded in the online FAFSA completion process. Asset information is self-reported.

When is the Best Time to Complete a FAFSA?

Completing a FAFSA is an annual requirement.

The FAFSA may be completed online any time after October 1 of the year preceding the fall semester you intend to begin your enrollment. The income and tax information that you will use will be be from the preceding calendar year. For example, the 2019-2020 FAFSA will use income and tax information from calendar year 2018.

Eligibility for financial aid at CUA is not tied to a specific FAFSA completion date. Because the FAFSA is a required document for access to federal student loan programs, we recommend completing the FAFSA approximately six weeks prior to the date you would like to receive your federal student loan funds - the earliest date for which is the beginning of school year. The latest a FAFSA may be completed is prior to the end of the school year.

Will Additional Information be Required Related to the FAFSA?

Each year, as part of overall FAFSA processing, the Department of Education selects a limited number of applications for Verification - a process whereby the school may request additional documents to verify the appropriateness of the information provided on the FAFSA. In most cases, the only additional document required is for the applicant to submit a signed form confirming the accuracy of several FAFSA components such as family size, number in college, and a statement of income if the applicant did not and was not required to file a federal tax return.

The Financial Aid Office will contact applicants if they have been selected for the verification procedure.

Where Do I Complete the FAFSA?

The FAFSA is completed at