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Application Process (FAFSA)

Students must apply for financial aid each year and are encouraged to begin the application process after January 1 each year.

To apply for federal assistance, students must be:

1) admitted to a degree seeking program of study,
2) citizens or permanent residents of the U.S., and
3) in compliance with the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for Federal Aid applicants.

The College of Charleston uses the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to award all federal and state sponsored financial aid offered at the college. It is the only application the college requires to begin the financial aid process, and a new FAFSA must be completed each year.

Parents or stepparents who wish to receive a Federal Parental Loan to Undergraduate Students (PLUS) must complete the FAFSA and an information application form for the PLUS loan. Forms for the current year may be downloaded from this website. See "Download Forms."

A FAFSA may be completed any time after the January 1st before the intended academic year. Although applications can be submitted throughout the academic year, priority consideration is given to applications submitted before March 1st. Since some of the required information comes directly from the student's, parents', and (if applicable) spouse's federal tax returns, it is advisable to complete tax returns before filing out the FAFSA. Students who apply for financial assistance after June 1 for fall or after October 1 for spring should not expect aid to be finalized before bills are due.

After completing the FAFSA, the applicant will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) summarizing the information reported in the FAFSA. We encourage students to complete the application online. It takes approximately three weeks to process FAFSA on the Web as opposed to four to six weeks with the paper FAFSA. Also, students who file online generally make fewer errors than those who file the paper form. It is easy to access FAFSA on the Web and online help is readily available.

The SAR allows the applicant to review the information and make any necessary corrections. It also will relay messages about aid eligibility from the Department of Education. Read the comment section carefully to determine if any further action is required. Follow the instructions carefully.

If the College of Charleston and Title IV code 003428 are listed on the FAFSA, the financial aid office will receive student aid data reported on the SAR electronically.

Students can also check the status of the FAFSA, make corrections and add other institutions to the FAFSA via FAFSA on the Web.