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How to Apply

First Steps

To be considered for federal financial aid at COD, students must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and list College of the Desert's Title IV School Code on the application (001182). Students should complete the FAFSA (www.fafsa.gov) online beginning October 1st of each year. The FAFSA should be completed and submitted to the processing center as soon as possible after October 1st for the next academic year. Students not able to complete a FAFSA can now apply for state financial aid. To be considered for state financial Aid, students MUST meet AB 540 requirement and submit a California Dream Act Application (dream.csac.ca.gov).

What to Expect After you File Your FAFSA

After you have completed your FAFSA, you will receive an email notification from the U. S. Department of Education confirming your submission. Please read this information carefully. After COD has received your information electronically from the federal processor, the Financial Aid Office will contact you, via MyCOD email, to let you know if there are additional forms you may need to submit such as copies of federal income tax return transcripts, verification of family size, number of family members in college, untaxed income and other information you reported on your FAFSA.  After all forms and documents are reviewed and processed, you should receive an estimated Financial Aid Award Notification email indicating what financial aid you are eligible to receive at College of the Desert. 

Verification and the IRS Data Retrieval Tool

The Dept. of Education selects students for a process called verification.  As part of this process financial aid offices are required to collect IRS tax return transcripts for both students and their families.  In order to expedite the process of your application, it is recommended that students and their families use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool so that tax return transcripts do not need to be submitted as these could take several weeks to receive from the IRS.  
If a Tax Return Transcript must be submitted it must be ordered from the IRS, there are three options available for students to obtain a tax return transcript:

 How to get a copy of a tax transcript


Priority Consideration

Students should complete their FAFSA application and other related materials as soon as possible each year, but no later than March 2nd to ensure that they are awarded in a timely manner and receive any subsequent refunds. 

BOG Fee Waiver

For California/AB 540 residents eligible for the BOG Enrollment Fee Waiver you will only need to complete the 2016-2017 FAFSA or Dream Act(Ab 540 student only) application for the Summer 2016, Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 semesters. For more information about the BOG fee waiver click here​.

 What is the BOG Fee Waiver?


Cal Grants

The Cal Grant application requires both a FAFSA application (or CA Dream Act Application) and the GPA Verification form, the latter which can be downloaded from the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) website (www.csac.ca​.gov​). Please note that College of the Desert transmits GPA information to CSAC each February for current or former students enrolled with 24 units or more units of college coursework completed. The application deadline for the Cal Grant is March 2nd of every year for the upcoming year and there is an additional deadline date of September 2nd for community college students.

 Cal Grant


COD Scholarships

The COD Scholarship Application will be available in November and close on March 2, for scholarships awarded to students for the following school year. For more information please go to the Scholarship Information​ page.