Every college and university in the United States has a federal code that must be used when applying for federal financial assistance. Each of these Federal School Codes, also known as Title IV Institution Codes, has six characters and begins with a G, B, E or 0. You need the school codes for every college for which you are seeking financial aid.
The codes are required when submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, a form used by all colleges and universities to assess a student’s eligibility for financial aid. The form asks for qualifying information, including family size, income, assets, and the number of family members attending college. Graduating high school seniors can have FAFSA information sent to every college they are applying to by including each college’s code. Some colleges also use the form for non-federal aid.
Finding the Codes
You can find codes for colleges by using a search tool on the FAFSA website. Enter the state in which a college is located and a list of schools for that state appears. Click on a college to get the code for that school. Using the Fast Web tool, you can type in the school name and its location, and then hit the submit button to obtain the code. For example, if you type in "Dartmouth College" and "Hanover, NH," the search tool tells you that the school's code is 002573. Another option is looking for a school's code on that college’s own website or contacting its financial aid office for the code.
Some schools have more than one code for different campuses or for different programs. Be sure to identify the correct code for the campus or program to which you are applying. For example, if you're an undergraduate applying to Dartmouth College use code 002573, but if you're applying to medical school at Dartmouth use the separately listed code: E00076.
College codes sometimes change from one year to the next. So make sure you submit the correct code for the academic year that you expect to attend the school. FAFSA applications won’t be processed if you forget to include your social security number or if you submit the form too early. If classes begin in September, you would submit the application after January 1 of that year.
A California-based writer, Mike Williams has written since 1975 on the environment, health care and wildlife for more than 70 media outlets, including the "Detroit Free Press", Agence France-Press and CBS. Williams holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Southern California.