1. Complete a financial aid application

  • Complete either the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or California Dream Act Application (CADAA) to be considered for most types of financial aid.
    Start your FAFSA now Start your CADAA now
  • CSU Channel Islands Federal School Code 039803.
  • The FAFSA or CADAA must be completed each year.

2. Priority Deadline

  • The priority filing deadline is March 2nd* of the application year. 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 2nd* will still be eligible for financial aid but aid offers will be based on the remaining funds available.
  • California residents applying for a Cal Grant for the first time must ensure that a certified Grade Point Average (GPA) was submitted to the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC), as well as the FAFSA or CADAA, by the March 2nd deadline. Please Note: California law requires that all California public and charter high schools electronically upload GPAs for current enrolled seniors that do not opt-out. Current Cal Grant recipients do not have to submit a GPA verification to be considered for renewal.
  • *For the 2024-25 aid year, the priority filing deadline has been extended from March 2, 2024 to May 2, 2024 due to the delayed release of the FAFSA and CADAA. Learn more about FAFSA Simplification. However, the Cal Grant certified GPA submission deadline will remain March 2, 2024.

3. Make any necessary corrections

  • 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.
  • If you provide a valid email address on your FAFSA, you’ll receive an email with instructions on how to access an online copy of your SAR online. If you did not provide an email you will be sent a paper copy of your SAR in the mail. Be sure to review the SAR for any errors or special comments that require follow up.
  • 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.

4. Submit additional documents

  • Colleges are required by the U.S. Department of Education to have procedures for verifying the reported information. Verification is the process by which a college checks the information reported on the FAFSA, by requesting tax information and other documentation as necessary.
  • Approximately two (2) weeks after processing your application, the appropriate agency (U.S. Department of Education or California Student Aid Commission) will electronically transmit the information to CSU Channel Islands. Our office will review the data to determine if any additional documents (i.e., tax return transcripts or other eligibility documentation) are needed. This review is undertaken to ensure the accuracy of the information reported. This does not affect all students, or may be required of a student one year and not the next.
  • Regularly check your “To Do List” on the right side of your myCI Student Center for items requested to complete your financial aid application. An email will also be sent to students who have incomplete or pending items on their “To Do List” so you must be sure to check your email regularly. DO NOT send information or documents that are not requested.
  • Once all requested documents are submitted to the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office, the application review process will be completed. This can take 4-8 weeks depending on the volume of applications.
  • Your application status may change and/or additional documents may be requested. Check your myCI “To Do List” often for notifications.
  • If additional documents are requested, be sure to learn about the acceptable methods to submit documents and forms.

5. Aid Offer Notification

  • When your evaluation process is completed a notification message of your aid offer will be sent to you via email (paper award notices will not be mailed). It is important that you read this email carefully.
  • You may view your Financial Aid Offer in your myCI Student Center. Scroll down to the "Finances" section, select the link to "View Financial Aid", and select the appropriate aid year.
  • Financial aid is based on full-time enrollment. Financial aid funds may be prorated for students who are enrolled for less than full-time.
  • Accept or decline your offered Federal Student Loans in your myCI Student Center.
  • If you accepted any Federal Student Loan(s) and are a first time borrower at CSU Channel Islands, you must go to the StudentAid.gov to complete a Master Promissory Note and Loan Entrance Counseling.
  • Parent PLUS loans cannot be accepted by the student on their myCI Student Center. The parent must complete a Parent PLUS Loan application.

6. Disbursement of Financial Aid Funds

  • Disbursement of funds is processed on a weekly basis, starting the first week of the semester.
  • Disbursement of funds may be held for several reasons such as, admission status, not enrolled in sufficient number of units, academic progress holds, missing information, etc.
  • Financial aid is automatically applied toward any outstanding fees owed to the university when disbursed.
  • Any remaining credit balance will be disbursed to students by the Student Business Services office. Learn more about Financial Aid Refund Checks.
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