General Application FAQ

What is Financial Aid?

Financial Aid is a general term for different types of money available to students for educational costs. There are grants, work-study, loans, scholarships, and the California College Promise Grant (CCPG).


How do I apply for Financial Aid?

You can apply for Financial Aid through Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or Dream Act. CCSF also offers scholarships, which require separate applications.


Do I submit a FAFSA or a CA Dream Act?

The FAFSA is available to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, T-Visa Holders, and eligible non-citizens. The CA Dream Act is available to AB 540/AB 2000/SB 68 students who are not eligible for the FAFSA, such as DACA recipients, U-Visa Holders, and TPS recipients. You are only eligible to submit either the FAFSA or the CA Dream Act based on your citizenship status, so you should not submit both applications. 


Do I qualify for the CA Dream Act?

To qualify you must have AB 540/AB 2000/SB 68 status. Under these assembly bills, you must meet the following:

  • Attend a California high school for a minimum of three or more years; OR

  • Attend a California elementary, middle, and/or high school for a combination of three or more years; OR
  • Attend or attain credits at a California high school, California adult school, and/or California Community College for a combination of three or more years (only two years maximum of a California Community College can be used);  AND
  • Graduated from a California high school; OR
  • Received a GED or passed the California High School Proficiency Exam; OR
  • Complete or will complete an Associate’s Degree from a California Community College; OR
  • Complete or will complete the minimum transfer requirements at a California Community College for transfer into the CSU or UC system;  AND
  • Are registered or enrolled at a California Community CollegeAND


Do I need parent information on my FAFSA or CA Dream Act?

You must meet certain dependency requirements to be considered Independent on your FAFSA or CA Dream Act. If you do not meet at least one of these requirements, parent information will be required on your FAFSA or CA Dream Act. 


My parents are separated or divorced and living separately. Who should fill out my FAFSA or DREAM act application?

The parent you lived with most during the last year. If you did not live with one parent more than the other, then the parent who provided the most support in the last year or, the parent who most recently provided support.


My parents live in another country or are not citizens, do I still have to report their information?

Yes, you still have to report their personal and financial information until you meet the dependency requirements to be an Independent student. If your parent earned foreign income and/or filed foreign taxes, please make sure to convert their income information into U.S. dollars. If your parents do not have social security numbers enter all zeroes (000-00-0000) for that question on the FAFSA or DREAM Act application.


What is the EFC?

When you submit the FAFSA or CA Dream Act, the tax & income information provided creates an Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is viewable on your Student Aid Report (SAR). It is the estimated amount of money the student /family is responsible for contributing toward the student’s educational costs per year. This amount is used by the Financial Aid Office to determine financial aid and overall grant eligibility. 


How often do I submit the FAFSA or CA Dream Act?

You must reusubmit your financial aid application every year. The FAFSA and CA Dream Act application becomes available every October 1 for the next school year. 


When is the deadline for the FAFSA and CA Dream Act?

Students should submit their FAFSA or CA Dream Act within the October 1 - March 2 filing dates to be considered for the Cal Grant; however, the financial aid application can be considered throughout the academic year to qualify for other types of financial aid .


What is Selective Service?

All males between the ages of 18 and 25 who apply for Financial Aid must register for Selective Service regardless of immigration status. Registering for Selective Service does not mean you are joining the military, but rather in the event of an emergency draft, the registration may be used to determine possible recruits. 


Where can I find a glossary of commonly used Financial Aid terms and acronyms?

Browse glossary of commonly used Financial Aid terms and acronyms


How do I apply for Cal Grant?

The deadline to apply for Cal Grant is March 2. You must submit two forms: a complete FAFSA or Dream Act application AND a GPA verification form. Community College students have until September 2 if funds are remaining. You can find more Cal Grant information with the CA Student Aid Commission


Where can I get help filling out the FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application?

You can get personal help by visiting our Financial Aid Office at MUB 270 or scheduling an appointment at our Financial Aid Lab. Our staff can help you with specific questions, workshops are also available.


I have submitted my FAFSA or CA Dream Act online, when will I receive my Financial Aid?

The FAFSA and CA Dream Act are just the first step. The Financial Aid office should receive your electronic financial aid application from the US Department of Education within a week of your online submission.  Go to myRAM and log in to the CCSF Web4 Portal and check your Financial Aid Status. The Web4 Portal tells you what forms and requirements you need to submit to our office. If there are no requirements listed as “Unsatisfied,” then you must confirm with the Financial Aid Office that your file is complete. When the file is complete, you can view our Disbursement Schedule to see when you will receive your funds.


What is the status of my Financial Aid application?

How to locate the status of your Financial Aid application online:

  1. Go to and click on myRAM, then on Login to SSB (Web4). 

  2. Click on the Financial Aid tab.

  3. Select “Financial Aid Status” and select the academic year you applied for. Complete all unsatisfied student requirements.

  4. Submit ALL requested forms at one time to the Financial Aid office. Incomplete forms will not be accepted and will delay the completion of your file.


Will I be notified by mail about my Financial Aid?

No, everything is online. You must check your Financial Aid status frequently through the myRAM student portal.


Is there an income limit required to get Financial Aid?

No, there is not an exact income limit, as the Financial Aid process looks at many different variables besides income to determine eligibility. Since the FAFSA and CA DREAM Act are free applications, you should submit a financial aid application to see if you are eligible for awards, including scholarships and non-need based federal student loans. 


I didn’t graduate from high school, can I still get Financial Aid?

Effective July 1, 2012, new students who enroll in a program of study must have a high school diploma, GED or its equivalent in order to be eligible for Financial Aid. Students who completed a homeschooling curriculum are considered to have received a high school diploma or its equivalent. Students no longer have the option of becoming eligible for federal student aid by passing an approved Ability to Benefit test or completing at least six credit hours of post-secondary education.

However, students who were enrolled in an eligible educational program of study or qualified for Financial Aid (prior to July 1, 2012) by passing the ATB test or completing 6 degree applicable credit hours will continue to be eligible for aid due to a grandfathering clause.

If a student did not receive a high school diploma or its equivalent, you can still be considered for the California College Promise Grant (formerly BOGW) and scholarships.


I want to take classes for job skills or to improve my language skills, can I get Financial Aid? 

We can consider you for the California College Promise Grant but not for federal and other state aid. Federal and state aid is reserved for students who are pursuing a college degree or certificate. 


Do I qualify for Financial Aid if I am an International Student?

No, international students are not eligible for federal or state aid.


Do I qualify for aid if I have a Bachelor’s Degree?

You may be eligible only for the California College Promise Grant, as you are no longer grant eligible after receiving your first Bachelor's Degree.