Applying for FAFSA

Learn More About the FAFSA!

The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is:

  • the financial aid application for students who are U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens.
  • the first step to finding out if you qualify for almost all available federal and state financial aid grants, waivers, loans, and other funding.
  • given by the federal government on a ‘first-come, first-served’ basis, meaning the sooner you complete your FAFSA for the year you want to go to college, the more likely you will be to get the maximum amount of financial aid money you qualify for.

 

We recommend completing your FAFSA as soon as the application is available for the academic year you plan to go to college.

  • You must complete the FAFSA each year you attend college and want financial aid. 
  • The financial aid you get from each year’s FAFSA covers your time in college between July 1st through June 30th of that academic year. 
  • The FAFSA is valid for Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer terms, in that order.
  • LASC’s Federal School Code is007047.

 

Applying for the FAFSA

Complete the FAFSA online, on your phone, or fill out a paper copy. 

Go to Before You Begin below for the information you’ll need, along with tips and worksheets so you will have everything ready before you start:

ONLINE FAFSA

Install myStudentAid App on your
iPhone or Android phone

 

CALL 1-800-4-FED-AID FOR A PAPER COPY

Even if you don’t think you’ll qualify for financial aid, you should still complete the FAFSA, 
as not all aid is based on household income and financial need! 

Before You Begin

Here’s what you’ll need to complete your FAFSA:

Independent – to be considered an Independent, you must be one of the following:

  • 24 years old or older
  • An orphan or Ward of the Court (or you were before becoming 18yo)
  • Emancipated Minor or an Unaccompanied Youth At Risk of Homelessness on or after July 1st of the prior year
  • An active duty member or veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces
  • A College Graduate or working on your master’s or doctorate degree
  • Married or can claim dependents, or you are currently pregnant (go to the definition of a dependent below)
  • Have circumstances that are approved by our Financial Aid Office

Dependent – if you are 23 years old or younger, and you do not meet any of the above, you are generally considered a Dependent, even if you file your own tax returns and aren’t living with your parents. 

  • Your Social Security Number (SSN) and 
     use your name exactly as it appears on your Social Security Card
  • Your Driver’s License (if applicable)
  • Your Alien Registration Number (if applicable)
  • A valid email address for you and your parent, or spouse, if applicable
  • Prior Prior Year’s (PPY) tax information – for example: if you are completing the 2021-2022 FAFSA, you’ll need your 2019 tax return and W-2 forms 
  • Independents – if you are currently married, you will need your spouse’s tax info.
  • Dependents – you will need your parents’ tax information. If your parents are divorced, use the tax information of either the parent you have lived with for the past 12 months, or the parent who claims you on their tax return for that year.
  • The FAFSA also has an IRS Data Retrieval Tool that will automatically enter the information that’s needed for your application from the tax return you sent to the IRS. You can also enter this manually, if you prefer.
  • If you haven’t filed taxes yet, there is an option on the FAFSA to say you haven’t filed your taxes yet but intend to file. You can enter estimates of what you think the amounts will be, and go back later to enter the correct amounts. You always want to enter an answer for each question, even if it’s a zero (0).
  • You, your parents, or your spouse didn’t file taxes and don’t plan to? There’s an option on the form for that, too!
  • Records of any untaxed income, such as welfare, child support, or veteran’s non-education benefits (if applicable)
  • Your bank statements and current business and investment records, if any
  • Independents – you will need one, and, if applicable, your spouse will need their own
  • Dependents – you will need one, and your parent will need their own
  • LASC Federal School Code: 007047
  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen (someone who is a permanent resident with documentation from the Immigration & Naturalization Service that verifies their stay in the U.S. is not temporary).
  • Show you have financial need (through taxes and other information asked in the FAFSA).
  • A high school diploma, GED, or state equivalency certificate. Some exceptions may apply.
  • Over 16 years old and not also enrolled in any K-12 schools, secondary programs, or taking college credit to earn a high school diploma or GED.
  • Have a valid Social Security number.
  • Be enrolled or plan to be enrolled in college.
  • Your Enrollment Status helps to determine your eligibility for financial aid. You can still apply for Financial Aid if you have not yet enrolled in LASC or registered for classes. LASC checks your Enrollment Status after the Add/Drop Class Deadline date of each semester.
  • Have chosen a degree or eligible certificate program at LASC that’s listed in your Student Information System (SIS) account. If you have not yet enrolled at LASC or chosen a degree or certificate, you can still apply. You will need to meet with a counselor and choose one before you can receive your financial aid. Also, if what is listed in your SIS account is inaccurate, please contact Admissions & Records at 323-241-5321.
  • Not in default on any federal loan (Stafford, subsidized, unsubsidized, etc.) or owe any repayment on a federal grant (PELL Grant, State Student Incentive Grant, etc.) from any school you have attended.
  • Have not been convicted of certain drug-related crimes (exceptions apply - make an appointment with LASC’s Financial Aid Office with any questions).
  • If it’s required, registration with the Selective Service.

We have informative FAFSA Workshops to help answer your questions and help you complete your application!

Use this FAFSA Worksheet to help you prepare all of your information before completing your FAFSA.

Here are some tips when filling out your FAFSA:

  • Don’t forget to list LASC’s Federal School Code: 007047.
  • Remember to enter your name exactly as it is on your Social Security Card.
  • Enter your permanent address, and not the college’s address or a temporary address.
  • Double check to make sure your Social Security Number and Driver’s License numbers are correct. Even have someone else check it.
  • Never leave a question blank! Always put something in each question needing a number, even if it is a ‘0’.
  • Don’t use decimals or commas in the numeric fields, just round to the nearest dollar amount.
  • Make sure to enter your Federal Income Tax Paid amount that’s from your income tax return, not from your W-2(s).
  • When you list your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI), make sure it’s not the same amount as your total income. Usually, your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) is larger than your total income.
  • Only select that you are married if you’re currently married, as they want to know what your marital status is on the day you sign your FAFSA.
  • Verify that your parent’s marital status is listed correctly. They need to know if the parent whose tax returns are being used in your FAFSA is currently married or not. If they have remarried, you’ll need to make sure the step-parent’s information is listed, too.
  • The application asks you what kind of aid you want. If you don’t know, select ‘All Available Aid.’ You can always turn down aid you don’t need after you get your financial aid package.
  • You will be asked if you have received any benefits, such as being in a school lunch program. If you’re currently receiving these benefits, you may be eligible for increased aid.
  • Don’t leave the question about drug-related offenses blank. If you’re unsure what to put, ask someone in our Financial Aid Office before you submit your FAFSA. If you have a conviction, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are disqualified from getting aid.
  • Haven’t filed your taxes yet? You can still complete the FAFSA! Don’t wait! You can select in your FAFSA that you will be filing taxes later or do not plan to file them. The FAFSA is first-come, first-served aid. So, the sooner you submit it, the more likely you are to receive the maximum benefits you qualify for.
  • The government will share your FAFSA information with more than one school, as long as you enter each school’s Federal School Code. Many schools offer different financial aid packages, so you can compare to find out which you like best. You can find these codes at fafsa.ed.gov. LASC’s Federal School Code is 007047.
  • Make sure to review, sign, and date your FAFSA. And, if you are applying online, you’ll need to have created an FSA ID. If you needed to use your parent’s or spouse’s tax information, they will also need to create their own FSA ID (they cannot use yours) as they will be asked to review, sign, and date the document, as well.

 

Other tips:

  • Don’t send a copy of your income tax returns. They aren’t needed and it may slow down processing your application.
  • It’s a good idea to figure out how much money you’ll need for college before you accept all of the funding in your award letter. This is because you are only allowed to receive a PELL Grant for 12 semesters (about six years). If your goal is to get a bachelor’s degree while attending school part time, you will want to make sure you have enough funds and time left to attend your four-year institution. Read the ‘How Long Can I Receive Financial Aid’ question on our FAQs page for more details. Check out the cost of attendance. The Net Price Calculator helps you plan how much money you will need each year.
  • You can get a paper copy of the FAFSA by calling 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243). Please note: submitting a paper copy of your application typically takes 2-3 weeks to process and send back to LASC. Completing your FAFSA online or with your phone takes 3-7 days to process and send back to LASC.
  • Beware of scams! There are many third-party sites that say they will help you submit your FAFSA for a fee. The FAFSA is free to submit, and if you need any help, please contact us.
  • You can only receive federal financial aid from one institution for any specific time period. If you are planning to take classes at another college or institution while receiving federal financial aid through LASC, or vice versa, you will need to read our Consortium Agreement on what you’ll need to do.

I Submitted My FAFSA. What’s Next? 

Congratulations! Here’s what’s next:

Once you submit your FAFSA, the Department of Education processes your application. It takes anywhere from 3 days to 3 weeks to find out what financial aid package you may have qualified for, or to find out if LASC’s Financial Aid Office needs further information from you.

Submitting your application online or by mobile app is processed faster than mailing a paper copy.

One in three FAFSAs are selected for verification by the Department of Education. This means, if your application has been chosen for verification, you will need to submit the listed documents to the LASC Financial Aid Office (go to Your Next Steps below for details). You will want to do this in a timely manner so it doesn’t hold up your reward.

  • If you wait over 30 days to bring in your documents, your financial aid account will become inactive. You can reactivate your account by making an appointment to visit us with your necessary documents.
  • If you submit your FAFSA or additional documents after the Priority Registration date, you will need to either pay upfront for your courses, or sign up for a payment plan. The Verification process can take longer in the month before classes start because of the number of students getting their application processed. So, getting your documents in as soon as possible helps you get your aid sooner!

Step 1: Check your Student Portal email account regularly for further instructions.

Step 2: Make sure you are enrolled in the number of units you need for the Enrollment Status you want your award based on. Your award is based on how many units you enroll in for up to 12 units per semester. 

  • If you decide you want to add or drop a class after the start of the semester, make sure to do this BEFORE the Add/Drop Deadline for the semester you are attending.
  • Remember: If you are paid financial aid at one level of enrollment (i.e. full-time student, three-quarters time, half-time, or less than half-time) and drop a class or change a class to one that has fewer units, you may need to repay some of the funds you received.

LASC checks your Enrollment Status after the Add/Drop Deadline each semester to determine if you made any changes to your schedule.

Step 3: If you get an email asking you to submit additional documents for verification, you can upload them by logging into lasc.verifymyfafsa.com with your cell phone, tablet, or computer, unless otherwise directed. Documents can be e-signed here by you and your parent or spouse. 

  • Sometimes additional documents are needed. Unless otherwise noted, submit any additional information by uploading them through lasc.verifymyfafsa.com.

Step 4: Continue to check your Student Portal email for your updated Award Letter. If you are eligible for a financial aid package, your funds will be posted to a BankMobile account. You should also have an email in your Student Portal with instructions on how to access your BankMobile account.

  • Figure out how much financial aid you need by reviewing how much LASC’s tuition and fees are. You can also use the Net Price Calculator that will estimate how much it costs to go to college for a year. This helps you know how much aid you should accept. 

Step 5: If you already have your BankMobile Personal Code from your email, go to your BankMobile Account to set it up.

  • Check when the next Disbursement date is through your Student Information System (SIS) account. You should find the funds in your account 2-5 days after the Disbursement date listed.
  • After you submitted your FAFSA, the federal government confirms the information you submitted is correct and sends the application to the colleges you listed on your application. If there is an information mismatch, (i.e. you used an estimate for your tax amounts and never corrected it), the government will flag the application to be verified. Correct applications are also randomly chosen to be verified.
  • Your application is sent to LASC, and any other college where you entered their school code, and the Financial Aid Office calculates how much financial aid you are eligible to receive. This creates your Student Aid Report (SAR) that you will receive either by email or in the mail, depending on if you filed your FAFSA online or sent a paper copy.

Here’s how they calculate it:

  • Your SAR uses your FAFSA information to determine your Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) – the formula established by law to determine how much financial aid you can receive. It also calculates your Cost of Attendance (COA) for the application year. Your COA not only estimates your LASC tuition, fees, books, and supplies, but also living expenses, such as room and board, transportation, child or dependent care, and costs related to a disability.
  • Your EFC is then subtracted from your COA to determine your Financial Need amount. When comparing different colleges financial aid packages, you will discover your COA can vary from college to college, but your EFC amount will stay the same. Your Financial Need amount is considered your need-based aid. Need-based aid are these grants and loans: the PELL Grant, Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), Federal Work-Study, and Direct Subsidized Loan.

As an example, if your COA is $20,000 and your EFC is $15,000, your financial need is $5,000, so you are eligible for need-based aid (the above-listed grants and loans) up to $5,000 maximum.

  • Your non-need-based aid is calculated by subtracting your COA from any financial aid you have been given so far, including your need-based aid and any scholarships. non-need-based aid are these grants and loans: Federal PLUS Loan, Direct Unsubsidized Loan, and the Teacher Education Access for College & Higher Education (TEACH) Grant. 

As an example, if you are awarded $5,000 in need-based aid and scholarships and your COA is $20,000, you can get up to $15,000 in non-need-based aid.

The FAFSA website has more detailed information on how your financial aid is calculated, if you’d like to find out more.

Need help? Get answers 24-7! You can also make an appointment with specific questions, or email us with more general questions. We cannot give anything that is considered confidential information via email.

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