The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as FAFSA, is an application that families or individuals complete to apply for federal grants, loans or work-study funds to pay for college tuition and fees. The application process is free, and it is managed through the U.S. Department of Education.
The U.S. Department of Education provides approximately $150 billion in student assistance each year. In order to appropriately complete the FAFSA, you need to know your FAFSA school code. This is necessary because the cost of attendance for each school is calculated in determining your eligibility.
Financial aid such as loans, grants or other federal financial assistance is provided by the U.S. Department of Education through the use of the FAFSA application process.
The federal FAFSA school code is a six-digit code assigned to colleges and universities. It is also called the Title IV code.
FAFSA School Codes
It is important to locate the correct FAFSA school code because oftentimes, specific school programs or divisions of study will have their own unique FAFSA school code. In order to get the correct eligibility determination, you need to make sure you have the correct FAFSA code.
There are several ways to locate the correct school code:
- Call the school directly and speak to someone in the financial aid department.
- Utilize the Federal Student Aid website search tool at www.fafsa.gov to locate the school codes list.
- Call the Federal Student Aid office directly at 1(800)433-3243.
Eligibility for Financial Aid
You need to know your FAFSA school code because the cost of tuition and fees is calculated in your eligibility determination. Your expected family contribution, or EFC, will determine your eligibility for federal aid and determine how much assistance you can get.
There is a set of specific calculations used in determining eligibility. EFC is calculated by taking the cost of attendance and subtracting the EFC:
COA – EFC = Eligibility Determination
Determining Your Need
The numbers are essentially placed into the EFC calculator to determine need. Calculations include adding up your parents’ income and assets along with your income and assets. This total number is then subtracted from the total cost of attendance for your specific school.
Therefore, you need to include the correct FAFSA school code in your application. Pay close attention to the department or area of study of which you will be a part. Oftentimes, some areas of study may require additional fees or higher costs. To be sure the EFC is calculated correctly, be sure to have the correct FAFSA school code.
Your eligibility and need amount will always depend on your current financial status and your current financial needs based on the information you submit in the application. Applications may either be eligible for student grants, which do not have to be paid back, or student loans, which do require repayment.
Distribution of Funds
It is important to note that once eligibility is determined through the FAFSA, it is up to the school you are attending to create and distribute award packages. The school does the disbursement of funds, not necessarily the federal government. The applicant is responsible for following up with the financial aid department at the school to ensure timely and proper disbursement of funds.
Lastly, even if an applicant has significant financial need, it is rare that financial aid will cover the total cost of tuition and fees. If there is a remaining need, it will be the responsibility of the applicant to find additional funding sources.
Melanie Forstall has a doctorate in education and has worked in the field of education for over 20 years. She has been a teacher, grant writer, program director, and higher education instructor. She is a freelance writer specializing in education, and education related content. She writes for We Are Teachers, School Leaders Now, Classroom, Pocket Sense, local parenting magazines, and other professional academic outlets. Additionally, she has co-authored book chapters specializing in providing services for students with disabilities.