Step 1. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You can apply over the Internet at fafsa.ed.gov instead of using the paper form. All students requesting financial aid must file a FAFSA.
Step 2. Your application is then submitted to the Central Processing Service (CPS) for processing.
Step 3. The CPS processes the application and COS receives an Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR). The copy documents the student's/family's resources and financial need.
Step 4. The CPS makes a determination of Federal Pell Grant eligibility and notifies the student directly. If the student applies for a Cal Grant, the CPS submits documentation to the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC); the Commission will then determine if the student is eligible for a Cal Grant and so informs the student and COS.
Step 5. Once COS has received the document from the CPS, the Financial Aid Office evaluates the information and requests all necessary supporting documents from the student (tax returns, etc.).
Step 6. Once the student's financial aid file is complete (the Pell Grant eligibility document, and all supporting documentation), the file is given a completion date and is entered into the processing cycle.
Step 7. The completed file is reviewed again for accuracy and then prepared for packaging. Packaging is the process whereby the student is considered for all grants and employment programs for which he/she is eligible. In order to meet the student's total financial need, a variety of programs are used (for example, Federal Pell, FSEOG, and Federal Work Study).
Step 8. Once packaged, an award letter is generated by computer and mailed to the student. In addition to the amount and type of award, the award letter contains a schedule of payments.
Step 9. The student receives his/her grant payment on the next regular or supplemental grant disbursement date or the financial aid is applied to fees owed in your student account.