Preparing to Apply

Financial aid applicants should ensure that they, their parent(s) or spouse have filed their federal income tax return(s) for the appropriate year prior to completing their FAFSA. This will allow students and prospective students to use the IRS FUTURE Act Direct Data Exchange (FA-DDX) when completing the FAFSA. This tool will save you time and increase the accuracy of your FAFSA information. The FA-DDX is also the fastest and most secure solution for meeting verification requirements, if applicable. It should also be noted that all contributors to the FAFSA will be required to provide consent and approval to retrieve and disclose federal tax information. More information on consent and approval can be found here: FAFSA Consent and Approval.

You can also find out more information and get tips for FAFSA success from Federal Student Aid.

Programs Not Eligible for Federal Student Aid at CSU

Students must be enrolled in an eligible program at CSU to receive Federal Student Aid (FSA). Programs listed below are not eligible for FSA.

Term Enrollment

Students using FSA at CSU are required to attend in only one Term and Track at a time within the LifePace Learning Model. This enrollment option will give students the flexibility to complete assignments on their own schedule while working within the time frame of the Term. FSA students may not start a new term early or switch between learning tracks. Students using FSA can complete 5 or 6 Terms per year, with each Term being nine weeks long. Students using FSA are required to participate, by completing coursework, within Week 1 of the Term to remain eligible for aid.

For more information about the LifePace System, please visit the University catalog and student handbook.

Attendance Policy

CSU is a not required to take attendance; however, prior to receiving FSA disbursements, CSU will verify participation (census date) in each registered course at the end of Week 1 in the term. The discussion board posting or Unit I assignment must be submitted to verify participation and all Unit I assignments are due by the end of Week 1 to receive credit. Students who choose not to attend the first week will be institutionally dropped from the course and receive a grade of DN for the course. Students will be awarded based on actual scheduled hours in which attendance was verified. As a result, students choosing to attend half-time may have an adjustment made to their Federal Student Aid award at the end of Week 1 in the term.

Dropping or Withdrawing from Courses

Dropping or withdrawing from courses can affect a student’s enrollment status which, in turn, affects eligibility for FSA. If a student’s status drops below half-time as a result of a drop or withdrawal during the term, the student may become ineligible for Federal Student Aid, including funds that may have already been disbursed for the term. For further information, review the Official Course Drop/Withdrawal Policy in the Academic Policies section of the Student Handbook.

Incomplete Course

Should circumstances prevent regular, on-time course completion within the term period, students have the option to request an Incomplete or withdraw from the course. Academic and financial consequences should be noted when withdrawing from a course beyond the first week of the term period.

Students are advised to review the Course Drop/Withdrawal Policy and the Incomplete Course Policy in the Student Handbook; in addition, academic advisement should be sought.

Applying for Federal Student Aid

New students wishing to enroll at CSU for the first time using Federal Student Aid (FSA) should complete the steps listed below and remain aware of all deadlines and requirements to avoid a delay in funding. Please note that some student applications for financial aid take longer to process than others as a result of factors beyond the control of CSU. Students who do not receive their aid award by the last day of registration will need to pay out-of-pocket or delay registration for the following term.

  1. Apply for Admission

    Complete your application for admission. There is no fee for the application.

    Please check the box indicating that you desire to use Federal Financial Aid as your payment method.

    If you need assistance with obtaining your official transcripts, CSU will obtain transcripts on your behalf. We will contact the prior colleges and/or universities you've attended to secure all the transcripts needed to make sure you receive maximum transfer credit.

    You may download the following form to start processing your transcript request(s): Request for Official Transcript Form

  2. Complete the FAFSA Form

    Fill out and submit the FAFSA form. Make certain to indicate the CSU school code of 041215 on the FAFSA. If you have already completed a FAFSA, retrieve it and add the CSU school code.

    Monitor your email for important notifications concerning your financial aid application. The CSU Office of Financial Aid will contact you with next steps, required documentation, and other information. View the Financial Aid Deadlines for 2024-2025.

    If you have any questions about applying for FSA, please contact the Office of Financial Aid at or 800-977-8449.

  3. Log-in to the myCSU Applicant/Student Portal

    Once your application is processed, you will receive an email along with instructions to complete the financial aid process in the myCSU Applicant/Student Portal. All forms, transcripts and other required documents submitted to Columbia Southern University will become the property of the University and will not be forwarded to another institution or returned to the student.

  4. Submit Term Enrollment Agreement

    Once transcripts are received, and your Evaluation is completed, you will receive an Academic Evaluation Report. You will be reminded to submit your Term Enrollment Agreement. Make sure that you select Financial Aid as the payment option and that all components of the financial aid process are completed for the most efficient processing of your enrollment. Although your file will be reviewed and confirmed without this form being submitted, you will need to submit it prior to the end of the registration period. In the event you later decide to cancel your enrollment, you may do so without penalty prior to the end of the drop period.