How to Apply for Federal Financial Aid


How to Apply for Federal Financial Aid

Obtaining a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID
The first step in applying for Federal financial aid is to obtain an FSA ID. Note: prior to May 2015, this was known as a PIN. Students who have a PIN must now obtain a new FSA ID. The website for creating a new FSA ID is

The FSA ID consists of a username and password that students must use to log in to certain U.S. Department of Education (ED) websites. The FSA ID enables students to access their personal information on ED websites such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) at

The FSA ID is used to sign legally binding documents electronically. It has the same legal status as a written signature. Besides being used for completing the FAFSA, students can also use their FSA ID for signing their Master Promissory Note (MPN) and for completing Loan Entrance Counseling (a requirement for loan borrowers).

Note: parents of dependent students (those students living at home) will need their own FSA ID if they want to sign their son’s or daughter’s FAFSA electronically. If parents have more than one child attending college, they can use the same FSA ID to sign all applications.

Completing the FAFSA
To apply for federal student aid, students must complete the FAFSA at Students will need to include the CJC School Code: 042376. The school code authorizes the ED to send students’ FAFSA information to the CJC.

When completing the FAFSA, students (and their parents if students are dependent) will be asked to provide federal tax return information for the previous tax year. The easiest (and recommended) way to do this is to allow the FAFSA website to access their IRS tax return by using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT). This step links their FAFSA to the appropriate federal tax return and enters the information for them.

Some students will be selected by the Department of Education to have their information “verified” by the CJC Financial Aid Office. The CJC will send those students who are selected for verification the appropriate form that they will need to return (along with any supporting documentation) within 30 days of the date of the notice. Typically, items that may require verification include income information, household members, and number in college. Note: If students used the IRS DRT and did not make any changes, they most likely will not have to provide any backup documents. There may be other items requiring verification, but these are the most common.

The CJC Financial Aid Office requires that students complete the verification process before their loans are certified (approved) and sent to the ED.