FAFSA Tutorial Step #3: School Selection


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In Section 2 of the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), students may list up to ten schools to which they want their information sent. The paper FAFSA allows only up to four schools. A student can apply for financial aid at more than ten schools by updating the FAFSA with a new list of up to ten schools after the student receives the SAR (Student Aid Report).

Financial aid is awarded by each individual college or university campus. Therefore, each campus to which the student is applying for financial aid must be listed separately in Section 2 of the FAFSA. (Students who are transferring to a different college will need to add the new college to their FAFSA.)

There are some additional features in this section of FAFSA on the Web that allow students to find more detailed information about each school, such as graduation rates and loan default rates.

FAFSA School Selection

Federal School Codes

Students will need a Federal School Code for each of the schools they list in Section 2 of the FAFSA. Students can look up their school codes when they are completing this section of FAFSA on the Web. Entering the state where the school is located will make the search for the name of the college or university easier.

The city name is optional, but may help narrow the search. Generally, the city name is the city name that appears in the mailing address of the college, not the name of the local community. For example, the city name for the University of Pittsburgh is Pittsburgh even though the University of Pittsburgh is located in the Oakland area of Pennsylvania.

The FAFSA on the Web recognizes many common abbreviations for school names, such as Caltech and MIT.

Federal School Codes may also be found in the financial aid section of a college’s web site.

Please note that the federal school code number is different from the code numbers used with the SAT, ACT and CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE. The Federal School Code begins with a letter or number (the number 0 or the letter G, B or E) followed by five digits.

The Federal School Code list is updated four times a year: February, May, August and November.

FAFSA School Selection Summary

Housing Plan

For each school, the student must select the housing plan that best describes the type of housing he or she expects to have while attending the school. There are three options:

  • On campus
  • With parent
  • Off campus

The student should list “On campus” if they are unsure whether they will live with their parents.

The student’s choice of housing may affect the amount of financial aid for which they are eligible. It is usually more expensive to live on or off campus than with parents or relatives.

Please note that selecting the on campus housing option is not an application for on-campus housing. Ask each college or university about its application process for on-campus housing.