Student Registration & Financial Services

FAFSA, Verification & Award Information

The first step in applying for financial aid is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). To file the FAFSA, you must be a U.S. citizen or national, a permanent resident, or an eligible non-citizen. If you are not, please see "Eligibility for Specific Populations" section below. 

Once the FAFSA is submitted to St. Cloud State University (SCSU) and you are admitted to SCSU, the Financial Aid Office will review the results, request additional information if needed, and prepare either a Preliminary Financial Aid Award or an Official Award Notification. You can check your Financial Aid Status on e-Services

FSA ID - Create and Manage

The Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID is your username and password that lets you access all FSA online systems, including your FAFSA, student loan counseling, and signing your federal loan agreement. 

You will use personal information (e.g., name, social security number, date of birth, email, etc.) to create and manage your FSA ID. No one is authorized create an FSA ID for you or another person.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

How do I file for financial aid?

The Federal Student Aid (FSA) website provides helpful information on how to get started filing the FAFSA including information on creating an FSA ID. An FSA ID is required for both students and parents to sign the FAFSA and use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT).

  • Complete the FAFSA at (FAFSA) or the myStudentAid app from the Apple App Store (iOS) or Google Play (Android). Watch the video “How to Fill out the FAFSA”. Include St. Cloud State University’s school code 002377 on your FAFSA. 
  • Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) to import parent and student tax information into the FAFSA. The IRS DRT is the best way to verify tax information. In most cases, no further documentation is needed to verify income information if you transferred your tax information into the FAFSA using the IRS DRT and you did not change the information after using the IRS DRT. NOTE: Both student and parent will need an FSA ID to use the IRS DRT.
  • After submitting the FAFSA, you (the student) will receive an email from Federal Student Aid with a link to the Student Aid Report (SAR). Review your SAR carefully for accuracy. If you need to make corrections, login to your FAFSA with your FSA ID. Save the changes and resubmit your FAFSA for re-processing.
  • You apply for financial aid each year by filing a FAFSA. If you filed a FAFSA the previous year, you may be able to complete the Renewal FAFSA, which pre-populates many of your answers from the previous year's FAFSA.

Transfer students: If you've already filed your FAFSA for your other school, remember to:

  1. add SCSU (school code 002377) to your FAFSA, and
  2. ask the school you are transferring from to cancel any pending financial aid for the term you are transferring to SCSU. 

REMEMBER: The first word in FAFSA is FREE! High school counselors and financial aid administrators offer FAFSA assistance and advice for free and are not considered a preparer. If you use a paid preparer to complete your FAFSA, the federal Higher Education Opportunity Act requires paid preparers to include their name, company name (if applicable), address or company address, and either SSN or the company Employer Identification Number (EIN, assigned by the IRS). The preparer must also sign the FAFSA.

Am I a dependent or an independent student for financial aid purposes?

If you are considered a dependent student for financial aid purposes, you need to provide information about your legal parent(s) on the FAFSA.  Watch this video to understand the Department of Education’s standards for determining dependent and independent status.

Who is my legal parent for the FAFSA?

Legal parents are biological, adoptive, or as determined by the state (e.g., parent listed on your birth certificate). People not considered your legal parents (unless they legally adopted you): grandparents, foster parents, legal guardians, brothers or sisters, aunts or uncles, and widowed step-parents

What if I change my name? 

If you have legally changed your name, before you file your FAFSA be sure to complete the following: 

  • Update your legal name with the Social Security Administration (SSA) 
  • After the SSA has updated your name, update your FSA ID. NOTE: If you update your FSA ID before your name is correct with the SSA, reverification of your information with the SSA will not be successful. 

Verification or Missing Information

Once a  FAFSA is submitted to St. Cloud State, the Financial Aid Office will review the results. If you are selected for verification (about 30 percent of students are) we will send you a letter via U.S. mail requesting additional information and documentation. You can also follow your financial aid status in your e-Services under the "Financial Aid" link.

Eligibility for Specific Populations


St. Cloud State is committed to supporting its student veterans in their educational plans. Whether you are eligible for federal benefits, state benefits, or both, you will find information on the Veterans Resource Center website that will assist you with using military benefits to finance your education.

Undocumented Students

Eligibility for federal and state financial aid depends on your status as the student.

  • If you are a U.S. citizen or national, a permanent resident, or an eligible non-citizen - even if your parents are not - you are eligible to apply for federal and state aid and should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  • If your parents do not have a valid social security number (SSN), they should enter 000-00-0000 (all zeros) as their SSN on the FAFSA. The parents should not use a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) or an SSN that is valid for work purposes only.

Federal financial aid is not available for undocumented students. State financial aid may be available for certain eligible, undocumented students. There may also be private scholarship and loan options to assist with your educational costs.

International Students

If you are or will be in the U.S. on a non-immigrant visa, you are not eligible for federal student aid. A non-immigrant visa includes: F-1, F-2 or M-1 Student Visa, B-1 or B-2 Visitor Visa, J-1 or J-2 Exchange Visitors Visa, H series or L series Visa (which allow temporary employment in the U.S.), or a G series Visa (pertaining to international organizations). Individuals with only a “Notice of Approval to Apply for Permanent Residence" (I-171 or I-464) cannot receive federal student aid. However, you may qualify for other forms of assistance.

  • Academic and Cultural Sharing Scholarship
  • Student Employment: International students are limited to working on-campus and must be enrolled full-time. Some exceptions may apply for international students to work off-campus; contact the St. Cloud State Designated School Official (DSO) with any questions about exceptions. Student employment positions are posted online in Handshake. You must have a current profile in order to be able to search for open positions.
  • Loans: Private loans may be available to international students. Many of these loans require a credit-worthy cosigner who is either a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident. Contact the individual lender for specific information.

Transfer Students

There are many resources for transfer students on the Transfer Admissions website.

Remember to include St. Cloud State University’s school code (002377) on your FAFSA.

Post-Secondary Enrollment Option (PSEO)

Students enrolled in the PSEO Program are not eligible for federal or state financial aid as these students are considered to be enrolled in a secondary school pursuing a high school diploma. 

Eligible Non-Citizen

If you are an eligible non-citizen, you are eligible to apply for federal and state financial aid. Generally, you are an eligible non-citizen if you are:

  • a U.S. permanent resident and have an Alien Registration Receipt Card (I-551);
  • a conditional permanent resident (I-551C); or
  • an other eligible non-citizen with an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services indicating any of the following designations: "Refugee," "Asylum Granted," "Indefinite Parole," "Humanitarian Parole," or "Cuban-Haitian Entrant."

Other Language Resources

Financial Aid Award Information

Preliminary Financial Aid Award

If you are a first year or transfer student entering St. Cloud State University in the fall semester, have submitted your FAFSA to St. Cloud State University, and have satisfied any additional information requests, the Financial Aid Office will send a Preliminary Financial Aid Award to your permanent address in by the end of January. The Preliminary Financial Aid Award provides you with an estimate of your financial aid eligibility to help you understand the costs of attending St. Cloud State University relative to your estimated financial aid award.

Current or returning students do not receive a Preliminary Financial Aid Award.

Official Financial Aid Award Notification

In early July, if your financial aid file is complete, the Financial Aid Office will send an email to your St. Cloud State University email account to review and respond to your award notification in your e-Services. This is your official Financial Aid Award Notification. Watch the "Review and Respond to Your Award Notification" video for more information.

The SCSU Award Guide is an extension of this financial aid award notification. It is your responsibility to read and understand the Award Guide. 

2020-2021 Award Guide (PDF) (fall 2020, spring 2021, summer 2021)

2021-2022 Award Guide (PDF) (fall 2021, spring 2022, summer 2022)

If you need to borrow loans, determine what you need by taking your actual costs minus your financial aid. Use this resource to help figure it out. If it is your first time borrowing Federal Direct Loans, you are required to complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Loan Entrance Counseling. You must complete these requirements before your loan funds are disbursed to your account.

If you were awarded student employment on your award notification, you will see more information on how and when to apply for an employment position. All positions are listed online at Handshake. You will create a login and upload a resume in order to apply for open positions.

Special or Extenuating Circumstances

Sometimes the information provided on the FAFSA is not an accurate picture of the family’s current resources or ability to pay for college because the family’s financial circumstances have changed due to special or extenuating circumstances. The Department of Education requires individual Financial Aid Offices to take these situations into consideration on a case by case basis; below are some examples of situations that may be reviewed:

  • Parent’s loss of employment;
  • Student/Parent becomes divorced, separated or widowed;
  • Income reduction of 20% due to factors beyond the person’s control;
  • Significant income reduction due to loss of child support;
  • Unusually high medical expenses paid in the tax year reported on the FAFSA;
  • One time increase in parent income due to IRA distribution, pension withdrawal, or something similar.  

Please contact the Financial Aid Office to determine if your circumstances might warrant a review of your situation. You will be asked to provide written documentation with your request.

St. Cloud State University
Financial Aid Office