How to Apply for FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)

1. Process at a glance

Requirement Documentation/Process
Gather the documents you need. Social Security Card
Driver’s License
Income tax returns
Bank statements
Investment records
Print a FAFSA on the Web Worksheet Write in your answers and gather your parents’ information then transfer the data to FAFSA on the web
Plan how to sign your FAFSA Sign electronically with a Personal Identification Number (PIN) or by mailing in a signature page.
Apply for a PIN now! Speed up the process by signing your FAFSA electronically with your PIN.  Your parent can sign electronically too.
Check your eligibility for federal student aid

2. What Documents are needed to complete the FAFSA?

For the 2010-2011 school year you will need financial information from 2009. You will need to refer to:

  • Your Social Security Number. Be sure it is correct!
  • Your driver's license (if any)
  • Your 2009 W-2 Forms and other records of money earned
  • Your (and your spouse's, if you are married) 2009 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 Parent's 2009 Federal Income Tax Return (if you are dependent student)
  • Your 2009 untaxed income records
    • Veterans non-education benefit records
    • Child support received
    • Worker's compensation
  • 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)

3. How to Apply: A Step by Step Guide

Apply online for financial aid (Free Application for Federal Student Aid: FAFSA) as soon as possible after January 1st for the following school year. Since Unitek College has rolling enrollment processing there are many opportunities to complete your financial aid package and begin attending each year.

Applying online is the fastest way to get your information to Unitek College.

1. Apply online at FAFSA. The college code for Unitek College is 04169700. If you do not have Internet access, you may use the available computers around campus during normal business hours.

2. In two to five days, you will receive an acknowledgement of receipt from the processor. Read the SAR (Student Aid Report) or email carefully and contact our Financial Aid office at 510-743-2752 or 510-743-2702 regarding any questions or corrections.

3. You will have other paperwork to complete and you may be asked to provide additional documentation, such as 2008 and 2009 tax returns and/or household information forms.

4. The SAR addresses only federal aid. We evaluate your Financial Aid Packet for any state or institutional monies you may be eligible to receive.

5. Once we review your paperwork and you are accepted for admissions, or currently attending classes, we will notify you of your financial aid eligibility.

6. You may also qualify for a Direct Student Loan. If you are interested in a loan, you will need to follow additional directions on the Data Packet so that we may determine the amount for which you qualify.

To be considered for financial aid, students must generally meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen. An eligible non-citizen is a U.S. permanent resident who has documentation from the Immigration and Naturalization Service verifying that their stay in the U.S. is for other than a temporary purpose.
  • Demonstrate financial need.
  • Be making satisfactory progress in a course of study leading to an AA or AS degree, certificate, or transfer to a baccalaureate degree program.
  • Have a valid Social Security number.
  • Not be in default on a Perkins Loan (formerly National Direct Student Loan), Stafford Loan (formerly Guaranteed Student Loan), or Supplemental Loan for Students (SLS) or Parents Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)at any school the student attended.
  • Not owe a refund on a Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) or State Student Incentive Grant (SSIG).
  • Be registered with the Selective Service if required to do so
  • Be enrolled as a regular student in an eligible program.
  • You must have a high school diploma, GED, State equivalency certificate.

4. Time to Complete Application

Federal Student Aid estimates that it will take an average of one hour and fifteen minutes for an applicant to compile the necessary information and complete the online FAFSA form; an average of fifty-five minutes for an applicant to compile the necessary information and complete the pre-filled FAFSA form; and average of twenty-one minutes to complete the correction form. Specifically, these estimated times include time to: read instructions, search data sources, gather the data needed, complete, review the application and make copies of output documents for future reference.

Plan ahead
Gather required information like your Social Security Number, driver´s license, income tax returns and investment records before you begin.
Sneak a peek
Print a FAFSA on the Web Worksheet to see how the FAFSA is organized; ask your parents to provide you with the information requested of them (if you are a dependent student).
Take it one step at a time
Once you begin filling out your FAFSA, you can save it whenever you want, and then complete and submit it later at your convenience.
TIP: The information you save will be secure and available for you to retrieve and edit for 45 days. Saved applications are erased after 45 days or after the federal application/correction deadline date.

5. PIN Information

A PIN is a 4-digit number that is used in combination with your Social Security Number, name, and date of birth to identify you as someone who has the right to access your own personal information on Federal Student Aid Web sites, such as FAFSA on the Web.

The security of your PIN is important because it can be used to:

  • Electronically sign Federal Student Aid documents
  • Access your personal records, and
  • Make binding legal obligations.

You and your parents (if you are a dependent student) will need to sign your FAFSA. We cannot process your FAFSA until we receive your signature(s). Using a PIN to sign your FAFSA electronically is by far the fastest and most reliable way. However, you can print, sign and mail in a signature page, or provide signature(s) on your paper Student Aid Report (SAR).

Tip: You may use your PIN for the duration of your school experience and beyond. The PIN stays the same.

If you or your parents do not already have a PIN, we encourage you to apply for one. You can apply for a PIN while completing a FAFSA on the Web application, or you can go to the Federal Student Aid PIN Web site at to apply.

Important Note: A PIN that is selected or viewed instantly online or is sent to you in an e-mail is considered to be conditional until your information is verified with the Social Security Administration (1-3 days from the date you first apply). You may sign your FAFSA with it, but nothing else. Once we complete this verification, you will be able to use your PIN for other purposes (such as correcting your SAR or accessing other Federal Student Aid Web sites).

6. Speed up the process - apply for you pin online

Speed up the process by signing your FAFSA electronically with your PIN. Your parent can sign electronically too, go to the Federal Student Aid website to apply.

Stafford Loan Process

ALL borrowers, both new and returning students, must:

Go to and log in using FAFSA pin number you generated at the site, then.

Step 1:

Choose option: Complete Master Promissory Note

Step 2:

Students borrowing loans for the first time at Unitek College must also: Complete Entrance Counseling.

*Please note: our office will assume that you decline the Stafford loan(s) if these steps are not completed within ONE MONTH of awarding.

Your electronic Master Promissory note (E-MPN) will be transmitted directly to the United States Department of Education through a secure server. After submission you will be given instructions on how to print a copy of the E-MPN.

If you exit the E-MPN process before submission you will have to start from the beginning when you re-enter.

Please have the following information in front of you prior to beginning the E-MPN process so that you don't have to exit before completing the E-MPN:

1. The PIN from the United States Department of Education that you created earlier. If you do not have a PIN you will be given the option of going to the PIN web site to obtain a PIN.

2. Your permanent address and telephone number.

3. Your e-mail address (optional). If you have an e-mail address we strongly suggest that you provide it so you will receive an e-mail confirmation of your E-MPN submission.

4. Your full legal name and Social Security Number (you may wish to have your Social Security card in front of you).

5. Your Driver's license number, if applicable (you may wish to have your Driver's license in front of you).

6. Complete name, addresses, and telephone numbers of two references who have known you for at least three years. One reference should be a parent or legal guardian if available. The references must be two different people at different addresses within the United States.

7. Complete the exit counseling at the web link listed Web site
As a reminder, first-time borrowers are required to complete Direct Loan Entrance Counseling prior to receiving the first disbursement of a Direct Loan. However, a borrower who is receiving his or her first Direct Loan is not required to complete entrance counseling if he or she has previously received the same type of loan through the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program.

What happens next?

The financial aid office usually receives new applications within 5 days of being processed by the federal processor. Once we have received an application from the federal processor it will be analyzed and a letter will be generated and sent to each applicant telling the applicant what additional paperwork must be submitted to complete the financial aid process. We will then review the data to determine if any additional documents (i.e., tax returns, citizenship documentation, etc.) are needed. This review is undertaken to ensure the accuracy of the information reported.

Please do NOT send information or documents that are not requested.
If additional documents are requested, you may submit them:

  • In person at the Financial Aid

Once all additional paperwork has been received by our financial aid office we can process your forms and secure your award.

Consumer Information for Financial Aid Applicants

Frequency of Disbursements

When financial aid is awarded it is awarded for the academic year. Usually this means 2 eligible payments of financial aid for 2 semesters. The financial aid award is required to be split equally between the semesters. Financial aid is paid to a student's account when the following conditions are met.

1. The student is determined to be eligible and is awarded.

2. Stafford Direct loan funds have been received for the payment period.

3. The student is enrolled in the correct number of credit hours in the payment period.

4. The student is determined to be maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress.

5. The disbursement date for the term has been reached. In practice this means that the first time that aid can be released to a students’ account is one week before the term starts, and only if the student has satisfactory completed the prior term, and, If all the other conditions have been met. Unitek College will continue to release funds throughout the term to student accounts as students are awarded and as funds arrive from the lenders.

If you qualify for the Federal Direct Stafford Loans (Sub & Unsub), please be aware that the federal government charges a loan fee. The Federal Direct Stafford Loans are required by law to provide a range of flexible repayment options, including, but not limited to, income-based repayment (IBR) and income-contingent repayment (ICR) plans, and loan forgiveness benefits, which other student loans are not required to provide; and Federal Direct Stafford Loans are available to students regardless of income.

Private student loans are not federal student loans. Private loans are credit based and may have, either, a variable or fixed interested rate. Private student loans can offer variable interest rates that can increase or decrease over time, depending on market conditions. Private student loans have a range of interest rates and fees; students should determine the interest rate of, and any fees associated with the private student loan before accepting the private loan. The student should contact the lender of the private student loan if they have any questions about the private student loan. The private student loan interest rate may depend on the borrower's credit rating. The student has the ability to choose any lender.