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Financial Aid for First Year Students

Financial Aid for First Year Students

You have many financial aid options available to help you pay for college. The federal government offers need-based grants, work-study opportunities and low-interest loans. ASU offers scholarships and several financial aid programs for Arizona residents including those from low-income families and foster youth. ASU also offers student employment as a convenient way to earn extra income to help cover expenses.

How are students affording college?

When it comes to paying for college, everyone’s story is a little different. See how other students fund their education then check out some of the financial awards you could be eligible for and consider what works for you.

Below you will find detailed information about applying for and using your financial aid. If you have questions, your ASU admissions representative can help you.

You will need to create your FSA ID in order to electronically sign and submit your FAFSA, as well as to make any needed corrections later. And if you are a dependent student, your parent will need his or her own FSA ID, too. Do not allow someone to create your FSA ID for you, and you should not create one for someone else. Not even for a family member. This can cause problems with your financial aid down the road.

Students can apply for financial aid before they apply for admission to the university; however, students must be admitted to a degree-seeking program of study in order to be offered financial aid. See undergraduate admission information.

The 2022-2023 FAFSA can be filed beginning October 1, 2021. Submit your FAFSA before ASU's priority filing date of January 15 to maximize the amount of aid you receive. Eligible students who apply by this date have a greater chance of receiving need-based aid. We encourage you to submit your FAFSA even if the priority filing date has passed. The exception to this is the Obama Scholars program for Arizona students which has implemented unique deadlines for new participants. See Obama Program for details. The FAFSA is a free application; avoid online scams requesting payment to complete the FAFSA. Note: The 2021-2022 FAFSA references your 2020 taxes, therefore, you will not need to go back in and update your FAFSA once you’ve filed your 2021 taxes.

coa - efc = need After filing your FAFSA, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) listing all the information you provided in the online application. Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) will be included in the SAR. ASU then calculates your estimated Cost of Attendance (COA). Your EFC is subtracted from your COA to determine your eligibility for need-based aid. Please review your SAR for accuracy and make any necessary corrections online. Contact the U.S. Department of Education if you do not receive your SAR or have questions regarding your SAR.

If your family's financial situation changes after you submit your FAFSA, you may request a review of your eligibility by submitting the appropriate Parent Review form and/or Student Review form.

Need-based scholarships require completion of the FAFSA. Note deadlines (most occur between December and March) and requirements. Continue searching for scholarships throughout the year as new scholarships are posted regularly.

Start earning financial aid while still in high school

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a chunk of change to help pay for college before you even start? The microscholarship program does exactly that — it allows you to earn money for college based on your high school achievements. Beginning in 9th grade, simply reach goals in high school that you’re already aiming to reach, such as get an “A” in a course or taking an AP class. You’ll earn a microscholarship for each benchmark you hit, which you can use toward tuition at ASU. Learn more.

If you are selected for financial aid verification by the federal processor, your Student Aid Report will have an asterisk next to your Expected Family Contribution and information will follow in the SAR acknowledgment letter, which will be included with your SAR documents. ASU will also send an email to your ASU email account notifying you to check your Priority Tasks on My ASU for a current list of requested items, including instructions and/or forms needed to complete your file. Please complete any Priority Tasks on My ASU promptly since financial aid processing can only continue once you have submitted all requested financial aid documents. February through September are peak processing times, please allow up to four weeks for ASU to process submitted items. Check your Priority Tasks periodically as new requests for items may arise throughout the year.

Not all students are selected for verification so please do not submit additional information unless requested by ASU. If you have questions related to the completion of any requested item, please contact Financial Aid and Scholarship Services.

The awarding process for new first year students usually begins the first week of March. After all requested items needed for verification are processed by Financial Aid and Scholarship Services, you will receive a Financial Aid Notification (FAN). Your FAN lists your offered financial aid for the entire academic year (fall through spring). Offered awards are contingent upon full-time enrollment (12 credits for undergraduates) and are based on your academic level, estimated cost of attendance, need and application completion date. If your enrollment changes, we will prorate your awards through the 21st class day of the semester. Please see our Census Policy for complete details on how your enrollment affects your awards.

Our primary method of communication is through your ASU email address. If you are a new student, we will both mail and email you a copy of your FAN once your financial aid offer is determined. If you are a continuing student, you will receive an email directing you to sign in to My ASU to view your FAN online. All students can view their FAN through My ASU once a financial aid award offer has been made.

Think carefully before accepting private student loan offers. Please be careful when considering private student loan offers you receive as unsolicited direct mail or email offers from banks and other private lenders. Also carefully consider how much you need to borrow and avoid borrowing more than you really need. When borrowing, be sure to check terms and conditions before accepting any loan and be sure you understand how much you will need to repay. Private student loans can be very expensive and could adversely affect your eligibility for other financial assistance.

ASU encourages you to accept your financial aid on My ASU by the national commitment date of May 1 in order to reserve your financial aid. If you are awarded after May 1, accept your financial aid as soon as possible. Accepting your aid after July 1 could delay your fall semester disbursement.

In order to accept your financial aid, you must use My ASU to accept any grants (except the Federal Pell Grant), ASU scholarships and loans (except the Parent PLUS Loan). Decline any loans you do not plan on borrowing. You may also reduce your offered loan amounts if the loan has not been disbursed. Once any amount of the loan has disbursed, this option will not be available online and you must request a change in person at one of our office locations.

If you and your parents are planning on accepting the Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan, follow these instructions. The PLUS loan process can take 3–4 weeks to complete. Be sure to plan ahead so your funds are disbursed in time for your fall semester.

Incoming first year students not planning to attend ASU must notify us of your decision. All other students not planning to attend ASU should notify Financial Aid and Scholarship Services in writing and also initiate a complete university withdrawal.


If your financial aid award for the semester is greater than your university charges (tuition, fees, housing and meal plan), you will get a refund for the difference that can be used toward other educational costs. We recommend enrolling in direct deposit through My ASU so funds post directly to your bank account. Otherwise, any financial aid refund will be mailed to your local address no sooner than a few days before the start of each semester. See the Financial Aid Calendar for disbursement dates. Allow up to two weeks for your direct deposit enrollment to activate. Check with your bank to ensure your funds are available in your account before drawing on your refund. Visit the Student Accounts Office if you have questions regarding your direct deposit enrollment.

If you are considering applying for the Federal Direct Parent PLUS loan, you and your parents will want to start the process about a month before the start of the semester to avoid delays in the disbursement of loan funds. The PLUS loan process can take 3–4 weeks to complete; starting early will help ensure you have funds once the semester begins.

If you have accepted loans, you will need to complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Loan Entrance Counseling for each type of loan you have accepted before your funds can be disbursed. If you have already completed an MPN and/or Loan Entrance Counseling at another school, you must still complete them at ASU.

ASU awards more than $40 million in student employment funds each year. A job is a great way to meet educational and living expenses while gaining valuable work experience. The skills you obtain from working complement your academic performance and communicate to future employers your ability to succeed in a professional setting.Search for a job at ASU.

Receive Your Financial Aid
To receive your financial aid refund during the week before classes, you must register for classes, complete your financial aid file (submit any missing documents listed as Priority Tasks on My ASU) and accept your awards at least two weeks before the semester begins. Financial aid disbursement will begin no sooner than a few days before the start of each semester. The amount that is disbursed is determined by the number of credits you are enrolled in at the time of disbursement (see our Census policy for details). Available financial aid will begin paying your ASU charges at that time. If your credited aid is in excess of your university charges, you will receive a financial aid refund for the difference either by direct deposit to your bank account or by check. If you do not enroll in direct deposit, any refund owed will be mailed to you no sooner than a few days before the start of the semester. Sign in to My ASU to confirm and/or update your local address. If you need your check to be re-issued, please see Re-issuing Checks for further information.

Paying Tuition with Financial Aid
Your financial aid will be applied to your current ASU charges first. If financial aid is canceled or does not pay all tuition and fees, you will be responsible for these remaining charges. Tuition and billing correspondence will be sent to your official ASU email account. ASU expects students to check their ASU email frequently to stay current with university-related communications, including e-billing notifications. View your account balance and make a payment on My ASU.

If tuition and fees are not fully covered by financial aid, ASU will not drop your classes and your account balance must be paid using one of these options. If your ASU account is not paid by the tuition payment deadline, you will automatically be enrolled in the Tuition Installment Plan (including a non-refundable fee). Students are required to pay all tuition and fees for any registered course unless they officially withdraw from the university.

Buying Books with Financial Aid
Only students who have been awarded a Federal Pell Grant are eligible to use their financial aid to purchase required books and supplies from Sun Devil Campus Stores (in-store purchases only). If you are a Pell Grant recipient, you must present your ASU ID and inform the cashier you want to pay with financial aid at time of check out. Campus Store charges will be applied to your ASU account. This payment option is available during specific times at the start of each semester. See the financial aid calendar for details. View all Campus Store payment options.

As a financial aid recipient, you are required to continue eligibility by maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), filing a FAFSA each year, completing all requested financial aid items on your Priority Task checklist on My ASU and maintaining all other eligibility criteria. Your SAP status appears in the Finances section of My ASU at the top of your financial aid award information.