Video: Filing the FAFSA

How to Apply

Applying for financial aid will take some effort and organization on your part. You will need to provide some personal and financial information, and you may need information from your parents, as well.

Fortunately, there is one form – the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA – that most students can use to apply for several different programs, including federal grants and loans, Cal Grants, the California College Promise (Board of Governors Fee Waiver) and the De Anza College Promise.

Undocumented students should not use the FAFSA. Instead, use the California Dream Act Application, or CADAA. Visit our California Dream Act webpage for more information.

A few types of aid, including Chafee Grants and federal loans, will require some additional paperwork.

Continuing Students: In general, you must re-apply for financial aid each year. But if you file your FAFSA or CADAA online, you will see an option for renewing your application, which will automatically copy some information from your last application into the new form. That may save you some time. 

Step 1 - FAFSA (or CADAA)

Complete the FAFSA (or CADAA), either online or on paper.

Important Deadlines

You can file as early as Oct. 1 – and no later than June 30 – for the following school year. But you must file by March 2 to be considered for a Cal Grant.

If you're an undocumented student: Use the California Dream Act Application (CADAA) instead of the FAFSA.

To file the FAFSA online

  • Visit this FAFSA page on the Federal Student Aid website.
  • You will need to create a FSA ID first as your electronic signature.
  • List De Anza College and our code number 004480 on the FAFSA. If you are applying to other colleges, list their codes also.

To file the FAFSA on paper

  • Download the FAFSA form  and print it out. Or you can call 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243). If you are hearing impaired, contact the TTY line at 1-800-730-8913.
  • List De Anza College and our code number 004480 on the FAFSA. If you are applying to other colleges, list their codes also.
  • Once you have filled it in, mail the form to: Federal Student Aid Programs, P.O. Box 7654, London, KY 40742-7654.

To file the California Dream Act Application

If you're an undocumented student

  • You can file the CADAA online by visiting this page on the California Student Aid Commission website.
  • List De Anza College and our code number 004480 on the CADAA. If you are applying to other colleges, list their codes also.
  • You can also download the CADAA form from this webpage and print it out. Once you have filled it in, mail the form to: California Student Aid Commission, Cal Grant Operations, P.O. Box 419077, Rancho Cordova, CA 95741-9077.

School Code

De Anza's federal school code is 004480.

Dependent or Independent?

If you aren't sure whether you are a Dependent or Independent student, see the Dependency Status page of the Federal Student Aid website. 

If you have no contact with your parents and don’t know where they live, or you’ve left home due to an abusive situation, fill out the FAFSA or CADAA and then immediately get in touch with us to request a Dependency Review. You'll find the request form on our Financial Aid Forms page.

Step 2 - Additional Forms

Many students will only need to file one form – either the FAFSA or the California Dream Act Application (see above). But depending on your circumstances, you may also use one or more of the following.

Cal Grant GPA form

If you want to qualify for a Cal Grant, check with your high school to make sure that it has submitted your GPA information to the California Student Aid Commission. Most California high schools now do this automatically, but if yours didn't, you can submit a certified GPA form to the commission. For more information, see the commission's Cal Grant GPA webpage.

Chafee Grant

If you are or were a foster youth, you may qualify for a Chafee Grant. First-time applicants must  submit a separate Chafee Grant Application, in addition to the FAFSA or CADAA. For more information and the application form, see the Chafee Grant page maintained by the California Student Aid Commission.

EOPS Grant

EOPS offers a limited number of grants to students who are academically and economically disadvantaged. In addition to the FAFSA or CADAA, you'll need to submit a separate application. Contact the De Anza EOPS Office for that form.


Don't forget about privately funded scholarships. De Anza uses an online system called AcademicWorks that lets you apply for a variety of scholarships offered specifically to students at De Anza or Foothill College. You can use the system to apply online.

Step 3 – Wait for Processing

The Federal Student Aid office should process your FAFSA in three to five business days. It can take an additional week to ten days for De Anza to receive the information.

You will receive an email from the Federal Student Aid office, confirming that your FAFSA was processed successfully.

This email will also contain a link to your Student Aid Report (SAR).

Step 4 - Review Your SAR

What is a SAR?

The Student Aid Report contains a summary of the information you provided on your FAFSA.

It also lists your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) which is the number used to determine your eligibility for financial aid. Your EFC will appear in the upper right-hand portion of your SAR.

If the SAR does not provide an EFC, you may have omitted important information from your FAFSA. Review your SAR carefully and check MyPortal for any notice of required documents.

When will I receive the SAR?

You should receive your SAR from the Federal Student Aid office within several days of electronically filing your FAFSA, or four weeks if you mail it.

If you have not received the SAR within two to four weeks after applying, you can check on the status of your application by calling the Federal Student Aid Information Center (1-800-4FEDAID).

What should I do with the SAR?

Review your Student Aid Report carefully to make sure all information is correct and complete.

Be sure to carefully read the SAR for instructions on providing additional information or resolving any identified problems.

How do I correct any errors?

If you need to make corrections, you should contact the Financial Aid Office at De Anza within two weeks of the college receiving your application.

You can use the Federal Student Aid website to make corrections, even if you did not submit your original application online. But you should also notify the Financial Aid Office at De Anza to make sure the college has the most current information.

If the information on the SAR is correct, but no longer reflects your current family situation, contact the Financial Aid Office to discuss your special circumstances. We may be able to adjust the data on your application and re-assess your eligibility.

You may bring your SAR signature page to the De Anza Financial Aid Office to expedite the signature process. We need original signatures and your Campus Wide ID to process the signature page.

Step 5 - Check Your Status

You will receive a separate email from the De Anza Financial Aid Office when we receive your FAFSA data.

This email will inform you if we need any supporting documents in order to continue processing your application.

This email will also contain instructions for checking your financial aid status on MyPortal. After you log into MyPortal, click on the Financial Aid tab.

  • If you have all GREEN flags, you should receive a Financial Award within one to two weeks.
  • If you have any RED flags, that means we need you to provide additional information or forms to the Financial Aid Office. You will be able to find any required forms by following the link provided on MyPortal or by going to the Financial Aid Forms page on our website.

If you are asked for additional forms, it usually takes two weeks for us to review them. During peak times, however, it can take up to six weeks.


To speed things up, bring all requested documents at the same time.

You should check your MyPortal account regularly for any updates. As we review your supporting documents, we may need to request further information or documents, in order to get a complete understanding of your circumstances.


It’s possible that you may be selected for a process called verification. This is a formal process initiated by the federal government or by De Anza’s Financial Aid Office. If your application is selected for verification, you will not be eligible to receive federal or state aid until this process is completed. If you are selected, or if you want to learn more about the process, visit our Verification webpage.

Step 6 – Financial Aid Awards

One the review process is completed, we will post your Financial Aid Award on your MyPortal account.

Visit the Accepting Your Award page to find out what happens next!

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About Eligibility

To be eligible for financial aid, you generally must show the following

  • Financial need

  • U.S. citizenship, federal status as an "eligible noncitizen" or – for state aid – qualification under the California Dream Act

  • No current defaults on student loans and no outstanding amounts owed to any financial aid office

  • Enrollment or acceptance in an eligible program for the purpose of obtaining a degree or certificate (or transfer)

  • High school diploma, GED certificate, state certificate of proficiency, home school diploma or previous qualification through testing or completion of degree-applicable units

  • Satisfactory academic progress

Male students also must satisfy Selective Service requirements for draft registration. 

About Financial Need

Most types of financial aid are awarded on the basis of financial need

  • The information you report on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or California Dream Act Application (CADAA) is used to calculate your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is then used to determine your eligibility, under this formula:

    (Cost of Attendance) – (EFC)

    = Financial Need

  • A low EFC means you have greater need, and you may be eligible for more aid. However, funds are limited, so your award might fall short. To maximize your award, make sure you apply early.

  • Under some special circumstances – such as unusual debts or expenses, divorce or death – your estimated need may be adjusted by the Financial Aid Office. You will have to provide documentation of your family’s financial situation. For more information, see our "Accepting Your Award" page.

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