Applying for Financial Aid

You are attending San Francisco State University (or are thinking about attending) and want to know what kind of financial aid you qualify for. Where do you start?

Start off by submitting a FAFSA or CA DREAM Application.

All students must submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or a California DREAM Application every year. Doing so will allow us to start the process of evaluating your eligibility for different types of financial aid.

Who can apply?

FAFSA: U.S. Citizens and eligible non-citizens.
CA Dream Application: Students who are eligible for AB 540/AB 2000/SB68. For more information, see our AB 540 page.

Don't know which application to complete? See our Dream Act vs FAFSA page to find out what application you should be completing.

International students on an F-1 or J-1 visa are not eligible for any state or federal financial aid, but some scholarships may be available. Please see our scholarships page for information on international students and scholarship opportunities.

When do I apply?

FAFSA and CA Dream Applications open on October 1, with a State Priority Deadline of March 2 each year. Students must re-apply for financial aid each year.

Do not miss the March 2 deadline!

The State Priority deadline is March each year, for both the FAFSA and CA Dream applications. Applications submitted after March 2 may not be evaluated for any state-based aid. 

  • If you are applying for admissions in the Spring semester, the State priority deadline of March 2 still applies.
  • If you miss the March deadline, you may still fill out a FAFSA application to be evaluated for federal aid only. 

What to know when you're applying:

  • Send your application to SF State. Select "San Francisco State University" and the school code "001154" in the "Colleges to Receive Information" section. If you do not add SF State, we will never receive your application and therefore cannot evaluate you for any aid.
  • You will be asked to report tax information for two years prior (ex: 2020 tax information is required for a 2022-2023 application). For FAFSA, we recommend using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to automatically transfer your tax information to your FAFSA. 
  • If students already filed a FAFSA the previous year, they can select the Pre-fill data process, formerly known as "Renewal FAFSA on the Web", which will help to move data from the previous year to the current year's application using the same site above.

After submitting an application:

  • Look out for an email from the Office of Student Financial Aid. If we need to contact you, we will email your SF State email address. You can also check your Financial Aid status online by logging into your SF State Gateway account. 
  • After filing the FAFSA, you may be selected for verification. Submit the verification documents to our office as soon as possible, so we can review and process your award offer.

Helpful Resources:

Completing the FAFSA by Mobile App - A "How To" video.

3 Types of FAFSA Deadlines You Should Pay Attention To by the official blog of the U.S. Department of Education.

9 Myths about the FAFSA Form and Applying for Financial Aid by the official blog of the U.S. Department of Education.

The 5 Most Helpful Federal Student Aid Blog Posts by the official blog of the U.S. Department of Education.