how to apply for financial aid

To apply for federal student aid, you will need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online. The FAFSA determines your eligibility for federal student loans, grants, and work-study.

Many states and schools (including SFAI) also use FAFSA information to determine eligibility for state and institutional aid. You may submit your FAFSA beginning January 1 of the year you expect to start college. March 1 is SFAI's financial aid priority deadline. To be considered for the California State Grant Program (Cal Grant), the FAFSA and GPA Verification Form must be filed by March 1 of each year.

After you apply for federal student aid, you’ll receive a Student Aid Report (SAR). Your SAR contains the information reported on your FAFSA and usually includes your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), an index used to determine your eligibility for federal student aid. Review your SAR information and make any corrections or changes necessary. Designate SFAI as a recipient of the processed FAFSA information by providing our school code, 003948.

Approximately 30% of all FAFSA applicants are randomly selected for a verification process. If you are selected, SFAI’s Financial Aid Office will request the Dependent Student Verification form or the Independent Student Verification form, along with other supporting documents, to complete the process.

Important: Financial aid is awarded for one year only. You must reapply each year by completing the renewal FAFSA.

Eligibility criteria for Federal Financial Aid

The most basic eligibility requirements are that you must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or an eligible noncitizen,
  • Have a valid Social Security number,
  • Register (if you haven’t already) with Selective Service, if you’re a male between the ages of 18 and 25,
  • Be working toward a degree or certificate,
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress in college or graduate school, and
  • Show you’re qualified to obtain a postsecondary education.

For additional information about federal student aid, visit or contact the Financial Aid Office.