Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the application that you must complete to determine your eligibility for federal, state, or institutional student aid, such as Federal Pell Grant and federal work-study opportunities. Complete the FAFSA even if you are not sure that you are eligible for aid. You could be eligible for more than you expect.

Need help completing the FAFSA?

Attend our FAFSA Workshop and get assistance from a Central Piedmont financial aid expert.

About the FAFSA

The FAFSA determines families’ eligibility for federal grants, federal work-study, low-interest student loans, and some scholarships. It is tough to predict exactly how much money your family will receive, but complete the FAFSA even if you are not sure you will get financial aid. If you wish to apply for Central Piedmont scholarships and many other scholarships, you need to complete the FAFSA. Additionally, if your family’s financial situation changes while you are in school, it will be easier to determine if you qualify for any resources if you have completed the FAFSA.

Find out what you need to do to complete the FAFSA.

FAFSA Simplification Act and 2024-25 FAFSA 

FAFSA is changing for the 2024-25 academic year. The FAFSA itself will be simplified and is planned to open December 2023, instead of October as in past years. 

Visit FAFSA Simplification and Changes to learn more.

How is the FAFSA used?

Your FAFSA is also used to determine whether you’re eligible for other financial aid, such as many need-based scholarships. To determine your eligibility for financial aid and your financial aid award, we calculate your demonstrated financial need. Need is the difference between the cost of education and what you and your parents might reasonably be expected to contribute to meet college costs. Due to the availability of funds, state grants, federal work-study, and scholarships are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis based off the priority date. These contributions are determined by using the federal methodology as administered by the U.S. Department of Education. The expected parental and student contributions are calculated based on the financial information provided by parents and students on the FAFSA and a Federal Income Tax Return. The analysis system attempts to judge how much a family can realistically afford to contribute, not how much they will pay. The system is concerned with objective facts of a family's financial position and not with the family's financial practices. The analysis procedure is used to determine an expected family contribution based not only upon income, but upon a variety of other variables as well, such as family size, number of family members attending college, taxes paid, investments, and so forth.

If you are classified as a dependent student by FAFSA guidelines, but you consider yourself to be an independent student, you can apply for financial aid as an independent student only in extreme cases. Examples of this would be the death of your parents, or cases of abuse or neglect by your parents. Documentation of your situation is required and you must show how you currently meet your living expenses.

Note that all financial aid awards are subject to verification for accuracy. Adjustments may be needed after documents are submitted.

Apply Early and On Time

The FAFSA is now easier to file and available early, giving you a better opportunity to receive federal funds for school. File your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) today. The Central Piedmont School Code is 002915. Be sure to complete the financial aid process by the Central Piedmont financial aid office's suggested deadlines. You will not be considered for any financial aid or scholarships until all required documents are completed and returned to the Central Piedmont financial aid office. Applying early will allow you to submit the FAFSA as early as October 1 using prior year information. Applying earlier will allow you to ensure classes are covered by financial aid much sooner, and will help you avoid processing delays.

Paper applications are being phased out and are no longer available in the financial aid office. You may request a paper FAFSA by contacting 1.800.433.3243 (1.800.4FED AID).

    Complete the FAFSA

    • Apply for a FSA ID

      The FSA ID allows students and parents to access and electronically sign the online version of the FAFSA, Free Application for Federal Student Aid, with a user-selected username and password. The FSA ID is a username and password that has replaced the Federal Student Aid PIN and must be used to log in to certain U.S. Department of Education websites. Your FSA ID confirms your identity when you access your financial aid information and electronically sign federal student aid documents. If you do not already have an FSA ID, you can create one when logging in to, the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS®), and

      This login process is secure, eliminating the need for students and parents to provide personally identifiable information (such as name, date of birth, and social security number) every time they access U.S. Department of Education websites. It also permits self-service password retrieval by email and name changes (e.g. marriage). The new FSA ID will provide a single sign-on for accessing all of the Department of Education's student and parent websites, such as FAFSA on the Web, National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS), and

      Additional information on the FSA ID is available on the Federal Student Aid website. Create your new FSA ID here or follow the steps provided on the Federal Student Aid website.

    • Documents Needed to Fill Out FAFSA

      You will need records of income earned in the year prior to when you will start school. You will need the following information and documents to complete the FAFSA:

      • Your Social Security card. It is important that you enter your Social Security number correctly.
      • Your driver's license (if any)
      • W-2 forms and other records of money earned
      • Your (and if married, your spouse's) 2018 federal income tax return.
      • IRS 1040, 1040A, 1040 EZ
      • Foreign tax return, or
      • Tax return for Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Marshall Islands, the Federal States of Micronesia, or Palau
        • Your parents' federal income tax return (if you are a dependent student)
        • Your most recent untaxed income records
        • Your current bank statements
        • Your current business and investment mortgage information, business and farm records, stock, bond and other investment records
        • Your alien registration or permanent resident card (if you are not a U.S. citizen)

      You may also need records of your parents' income information if you are a dependent student.

      To organize your information, you can print and complete a FAFSA on the Web Worksheet before you begin entering your information online. However, you are not required to do so. FAFSA on the Web will guide you through the questions that you must answer, and you can save your application and return to it later if you don't have the information you need to answer any of the questions.

      Keep these records! You may need them again. Do not mail your records to Federal Student Aid.

      Reminder: If selected for verification you will need to provide tax transcripts instead of tax returns to the Financial Aid office.

    • Tips on filling out the FAFSA

      1. File early and on time. Don’t wait to apply for financial aid when it is time to register for classes.
      2. Mistakes on the FAFSA can delay the processing of your application. One easy mistake is leaving blank fields that don’t apply to you. Always be sure to write an “0” instead in such instances. The online version of the application will help alert you when you have improperly left fields open.
      3. Create an FSA ID for yourself and log in to your account. Make sure your name, birthday, and social security number are correct. If you are a dependent student, your parent(s) will also need an account.
      4. Log into your FAFSA using your FSA ID, and complete the online application. If possible, click "Link to IRS" to import your tax information electronically to your FAFSA. It will fill in most of your tax information automatically if successful.
      5. Make sure you include Central Piedmont Community College’s school code (002915).
      6. Answer the dependency status questions. In the dependency status section, you’ll be asked a series of specific questions to determine whether you are required to provide parent information on the FAFSA form. The dependency guidelines are set by Congress and are different from those used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Even if you live on your own, support yourself, and file taxes on your own, you may still be considered a dependent student for federal student aid purposes. If you are determined to be a dependent student, you’ll be required to report information about your parent(s). If you’re determined to be an independent student, you won’t have to provide parent information and you can skip the next step.
      7. If you are considered a dependent student, fill out the parent demographic section.  Remember it does not matter if you do not live with your parent(s); you still must report information about them. Find out who counts as your parent when you file your FAFSA®
      8. Though the FAFSA asks more than 100 questions, there’s no opportunity on the form to explain specific family circumstances, like a recent job loss or high medical bills. If there are more facts you think financial aid officers need to know, make an appointment to discuss your situation with a financial aid representative.
      9. If you need help, click in the box you have a question on. The side bar on the right side of the screen will have a help box to explain the question in more detail.
      10. For additional information, visit FAFSA ®: Applying for Aid
    • Corrections

      Making corrections online (fast and easy):

      • Review your student aid report for errors.
      • If you are unsure if corrections are needed, have a Financial Aid Counselor review your data.
      • After corrections are determined, submit a correct data and sign with FSA ID.
        • If you are a dependent student, you and your parent must both sign with your individual FSA ID.
      • Allow five days for processing of corrections.

      Making corrections by mail:

      • Review your student aid report for errors.
      • If you are unsure if corrections are needed, have a Financial Aid Counselor review your data.
      • After corrections are determined, make necessary corrections and sign the student aid report as indicated.
        • If you are a dependent student, you and your parent must both sign the form.
      • Return by mail to address designated on form.
      • Allow 2-4 weeks for processing of corrections.
    • Processing Times and Checking Your Status

      You should hear back about your FAFSA by email within 1-3 weeks after submission. In MyCollege, you can:

      • view your financial aid status/award letter status by year
      • view your financial aid satisfactory academic status by term

      To check your status:

      1. log in to MyCollege
      2. under Financial Aid and Veterans, click on Manage Your Financial Aid
      3. upload any missing information or documents to MyCollege or fax them to 704-330-5053

      For financial aid purposes, if all your documents show “Received” or “Waived” for the current school year, your file is complete and our staff is working on awarding your financial aid. Once a file is complete, you will receive an email and you can view your financial aid award letter in MyCollege. If you have problems accessing MyCollege, contact the Central Piedmont ITS Service Desk.

      Be sure to review your student aid report carefully for accuracy.

      If you do not receive an update in 3 weeks, call 1-800-433-3243.

    • Changes

      If you are no longer working or your situation has changed, adjustments may be made to the income reported on your FAFSA if your loss of income was due to circumstances beyond your control. Complete the reconsideration request form and provide requested documentation to the Financial Office. A Financial Aid counselor will review the documentation provided and make adjustments to previously reported data. If all requirements are met, a correction will be sent to the Department of Education. A revised award letter will be sent if the award is adjusted.

      Students or parents requesting reconsideration for the 2022-23 academic year need to include documentation of their completed 2020 and 2021 federal tax returns to show changes of income from previous year.

    • Renewal Requirements Information

    • Transferring to Another College

      Federal regulation prevents students from receiving financial aid at two or more institutions at the same time. Financial aid does not automatically transfer from Central Piedmont to another school. If you wish to transfer to another school from Central Piedmont and be considered for financial aid, visit and add the new institution's school code on the FAFSA. Once the school code has been added and the FAFSA re-submitted, or if the school is already listed on the FAFSA, contact the new institution's office of financial aid for further guidance.