Application Timeline

September to October:
Apply for scholarships & use aid calculators to budget for college

Where to look

We encourage you to start looking near home at local foundations, chambers of commerce and businesses. Many of these organizations offer scholarships to students staying in the area or going away to college.

Search for other scholarships available from departments on HSU's campus and private organizations. HSU's Scholarship Management System has information on over 200 scholarships. Click the Scholarships button on your myHumboldt portal to get started!

Check online for scholarships through search engines like:

Never pay for a scholarship search; there are plenty of Internet-based services that do it for free. Watch out for scholarship scams.

Scholarship deadlines vary, late fall and early spring dates are common, so start your research early and pay attention to application due dates.

Many scholarships require additional information such as personal essays, letters of recommendation and interviews. Be sure you fulfill all entry requirements to improve your chances of earning scholarship prizes.


Use the calculator provided on the FAFSA4caster to determine how much your family's expected contribution will likely be.

Use the calculators at to get an idea of other colleges expenses. Keep in mind calculators only provide estimates and are not promises of aid.

Apply for aid with the FAFSA and apply for a Cal Grant

About the application

The first step to receiving financial aid from Humboldt State University is filling out the Federal Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Submit the FAFSA online as early as possiblefor best consideration in aid programs. March 2 is the priority deadline for Cal Grant.

Go to FSA ID to get an FSA ID. Both you and your parent(s). if you are a dependent student, must obtain an FSA ID, as it serves as an electronic signature and provides access to your personal records.

Parents will need to electronically sign any FAFSA filed online if they provide income information.

To reduce the possibility of spam or junkmail filters diverting receipt of the Federal PIN via email, the U.S. Dept of Education suggests listing the following in your email address book:

We encourage you to file the FAFSA early, even if you and your parent(s) have not filed your taxes. You should estimate your most current financial information and use those figures to complete the FAFSA. You do not want to miss the priority deadline and you can always correct your FAFSA later.

List Humboldt State University and our school code number, 001149, along with any other campuses you want to receive your FAFSA information.

If you are applying for a Cal Grant and listing multiple schools on your FAFSA, it is recommended that you list the costliest 4 year California school first (example: first Stanford, second HSU, third California Community College, fourth Oregon State University).

Applying for a new Cal Grant
  • The state of California offers the Cal Grant Program to eligible HSU students. Begin by filling out the FAFSA and have your aid information sent to Humboldt State University.
  • You will need to have your high school or California Community College submit your GPA to the California Student Aid Commission before March 2 using the GPA Verification Form.

This can be accomplished in two ways:

  1. Obtain a Cal Grant Verification Form by logging onto the Commission website and downloading the form. You complete the student section; your school completes the "School Use" section. Be sure to follow directions carefully.
  2. If your school submits your GPA electronically, it is not necessary to mail the paper GPA Verification Form; be sure to check with your school to determine the appropriate method.

Renewal Cal Grant awards do not require the GPA Verification Form and are evaluated by the school where you will be enrolled in the fall. You must always file the FAFSA and indicate the California school you plan to attend. Inform HSU if your Cal Grant is withdrawn for any reason.

If you file by the March 2 deadline, you will receive a letter from the California Student Aid Commission regarding your eligibility for a grant.

If you have filed a FAFSA, you can go online and check the status of your Cal Grant application by logging on to WebGrants for Students. This secure site will let you view the status of your Cal Grant application, your Chafee application, check your award status, update your address, view payment history or make a school change.

If you have any questions about the Cal Grant application contact the California Student Aid Commission at:

California Student Aid Commission Student Support Services P.O. Box 419027 Rancho Cordova, CA 95741-9027 Phone: (888) CA GRANT (224-7268) FAX: (916) 526-8002
Renewal Cal Grant

It is recommended you f ile a FAFSA prior to March 2. Only new Cal Grant applicants are required to file by the March 2nd deadline, however, we recommend renewal applicants file early to meet the priority date for other aid funding. Do not submit a GPA verification form.

Indicate on the FAFSA the California school you plan to attend, notify the Student Aid Commission if you are changing schools.

February – March:
Review your Student Aid Report (SAR)

The Federal Processor will send you a Student Aid Report (SAR) via email or postal mail, depending on what you indicated on your FAFSA.

Your SAR will contain information you entered in your FAFSA. It also allows you to make corrections to the information and reports the amount of money the Office of Federal Student Aid expects your family to contribute to your education the Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

The SAR will indicate if you may be Pell Grant eligible and state that your school will determine other aid program eligibility, as well as give comments regarding reviewing and correcting the information.

The federal processor will send your SAR to the email address you provided in about two weeks. If no email is provided, the SAR will be mailed to the address listed on your FAFSA in approximately 4 weeks. (If you inadvertently provide an incorrect email address, the federal processor will NOT be able to follow up with a paper SAR, so be sure to provide a valid email address on your FAFSA.)


March – June:
Final SAR review / Accept your aid / Review your California Aid Report

Make any necessary corrections to your FAFSA at by reviewing all SAR materials, especially if you provided estimated tax information and your tax forms have been completed.

In approximately mid-April HSU begins the student aid award process. After HSU receives your SAR information from the federal processor, our office will email you either a request for necessary documents, and/or an award notification. It is vital for the student to have a valid email address in Student Center, and to frequently check for emails from Humboldt.

Early FAFSA filers receive earlier responses. Those selected for verification are encouraged to provide any necessary documents as soon as possible; award results generally follow within four to six weeks of receipt.

Your award in Student Center will let you know which grants, work study and loan programs are being offered, and you can accept and decline awards online.

HSU scholarships are generally awarded in the late spring and recipients will be notified by email.

You can accept the full amount or reduce the amount of awarded funds, particularly loans, if you do not think you will need it. When considering reducing a recommended loan offer, remember subsidized loans are preferable to unsubsidized loans, and unsubsidized loans are always reduced first.

You will be notified directly by the California Student Aid Commission of your Cal Grant eligibility. Students who are selected to receive a Cal Grant will be sent a California Aid Report (CAR).

Verifying your income

About one third of students who file a FAFSA will be asked to very their and/or their parent's income. Your SAR will inform you if you are selected. The HSU Financial Aid Office will notify you both by email if you have required documents posted to your To Do List on Student Center. Check your To Do List frequently.

Forms are available on the Financial Aid Office Forms page.

HSU reserves a percentage of its aid dollars for students selected for verification. However, delaying the verification process may jeopardize your financial aid. It is recommended that you use actual figures from the tax return when completing the FAFSA rather than estimating; however, we do not recommend delaying past the priority filing date March 2 so use estimates if necessary to file on time.

Respond to any requests for more information from HSU's Financial Aid Office in a timely manner. Observe deadlines; notify us in writing prior to any stated deadline for a possible extension if the deadline cannot be met.

Keep your mailing address current using Student Center . Name changes must be reported to the Office of the Registrar.

Notify the Humboldt State University Financial Aid Office, in writing, of all changes and corrections, including any non-HSU educational awards such as scholarships.

June – August:
Finalizing your aid

If you are graduating from high school or are transferring to HSU, be sure your latest academic transcripts have been submitted to the HSU Admissions office.

Check your To Do List on the Student Center to make sure all requirements have been met. For instance, to check your admissions status, or for new requirements such as Loan Entrance Counseling or Direct Loan Promissory Notes, which may have posted (you will be notified by email when new requirements post).

Although the aid award may have included Direct Loan or Direct PLUS (Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students), and these loans may have been accepted by the student and/or parent (PLUS), the Financial Aid Office generally does not originate loans with the federal processor until early July for the upcoming award year.

Financial Aid resources fall short of the cost? After assessing financial aid funds awarded, and determining the actual amount of family contribution (including any Direct PLUS Loan the parent will pursue), and you feel it falls short of meeting your needs, you may consider applying for private alternative student loans. These are private loans from private institutions (typically banks and educational lending institutions) and carry their own rules and regulations.

Our Alternative/Private Educational Loans page offers tips for researching loan products as well as the HSU procedure and requirements a student must meet prior to our certification of an alternative/private loan.

We recommend you carefully consider the impact of additional borrowing and never accept a private/alternative loan without waiting at least 24 hours to think it over. Never accept a loan that does not ask for attendance verification and certification by the HSU Financial Aid Office. Please be very cautious of the direct-to-consumer marketing of "educational loans" as it is almost always in student's best interest to apply for federal and state aid before ever considering this type of private funding.

Note that the combination of student aid and other educational resources (such as non-HSU scholarship or alternative loan) cannot exceed the cost of attendance.

August – September:
Getting your money and keeping it

If all requirements necessary to disburse funds have been satisfied, all required documents received and reviewed, admissions status finalized, and HSU courses registered for you can expect to receive your first financial aid disbursement, minus University charges, seven to ten days after classes begin.

Enroll in Direct Deposit via your Student Center account to ensure timely receipt of funds.

We discourage you from paying money to cash your checks at a check cashing service.

Registration and on-campus room and board charges are subtracted automatically from your financial aid award before your check is sent out. Consequently, you can spend your aid on any education-related item, such as books and transportation, listed in the cost of attendance. This also means you are solely responsible for budgeting throughout the semester.

When you accept financial aid, you accept several responsibilities. For starters, you must be admitted to, enrolled in and attending classes in an eligible program at Humboldt.

You must also complete the number of units for which aid disbursed and you must maintain at least a “C” (2.0) grade point average. You may become ineligible for future financial aid if you fail to meet any of these requirements.

If you receive a scholarship or other non-HSU educational resource, you must notify the Financial Aid Office in writing as soon as possible; previously awarded aid may be adjusted once newly reported resources are coordinated. You may also need to provide the scholarship source with verification of your enrollment, which is available from the AIR Center, first floor Student Business Services Bldg.

Freeze dates

Once a semester, our office takes a "snapshot" of the number of units you're enrolled in. This is because federal and state grants are based, in part, on the number of units you are taking. If you drop units and the snapshot is taken on a day when you are enrolled in fewer units than the amount for which aid was disbursed, your financial aid award will be reduced retroactively ... meaning you may be required to pay our office back.

Aid is awarded for full time, full year attendance; if you cannot take a full-time unit load, please complete a Change Form or notify our office in writing, in advance of aid disbursement, with the number of units you plan to take each term. Some programs require full-time attendance, so check with our office if you have questions about attending less than full-time.