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Apply for Aid - Getting Started

Going to college can be both exciting and financially challenging. The Office of Student Financial Assistance is dedicated to helping you navigate the steps in the student financial aid process.

To apply for financial aid from federal and state sources, including student employment, follow the steps below. Please remember: Many scholarships require you to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as well!

Step 1: Create an FSA Account

Federal Student Aid recommends that students and parents of dependent students create their accounts before they start completing the FAFSA form. The account username and password combination, called an FSA ID, gives you access to certain information online and allows you to sign your FAFSA form and promissory notes electronically. While you can get your FSA ID as you are completing the FAFSA form online, getting it ahead of time and using it to fill out the FAFSA form at cuts down on errors and delays. Click here to Create an Account.  

Important note: If you’re a , one of your parents whose information is reported on the FAFSA form will also need an FSA ID so that he or she can sign your application electronically. If your parent doesn’t have a Social Security number (SSN), your parent cannot create an FSA ID (which requires an SSN). This means you’ll have to select the option to print a signature page when you get to the end of your FAFSA form on 

Federal Student Aid Video on How to Create an FSA ID

Step 2: Complete the FAFSA

Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online annually. It becomes available each October 1 for aid in the following award year. The earlier you apply, the better chance you have of being considered for maximum available funds. Important: The priority deadline for NSU is March 15! The NSU Federal School Code is 001509.

IRS Data Retrieval System

The FAFSA allows you (and your parent) to access your (your parent’s) IRS tax information and have it automatically imported to the FAFSA. Using the IRS Data Retrieval tool is quick, easy, and helps avoid conflicting information.

If you have already completed your FAFSA without using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, you can update your FAFSA and import your federal tax information directly from the IRS. 

A Special Note About Summer Aid (Traditional Undergraduate Day Students):
Financial aid awarded to NSU undergraduate students is typically based on the traditional academic calendar comprised of the fall and winter semesters. To be awarded for the summer semester, students must submit a request for summer financial aid each year. This is not a requirement for undergraduate students in the College of Nursing and the Pallavi Patel College of Health Care Sciences, as they are automatically awarded offered summer aid.

Step 3: Identify and Apply For Scholarships

Institutional and external scholarship opportunities are available to assist you in meeting your educational goals. The best resource for up-to-date information is the NSU scholarship website. You will find information on how to apply, as well as resources to help you identify scholarships. Commit to continuously identifying and applying for scholarships. This type of financial aid does not have to be repaid.

Step 4: Plan for Housing and Meal Expenses 

Your financial aid budget includes a housing and meal component. Please ensure that you budget for these expenses if you intend to live on campus. For information regarding on-campus and off-campus, housing visit Residential Life & Housing.

Step 5: Complete NSU State Aid Application (Florida Residents)

You only need to complete the NSU State Aid Application if you qualify as a Florida resident and are an undergraduate student seeking your first bachelor's degree or if you are a graduate student entering your first semester with possible Florida Bright Futures credits available.

Exception: Students who have received EASE, FSAG and/or Florida Bright Futures Scholarship funding in the prior year (i.e., received aid in the 2021-2022 academic year at NSU and are applying for 2022-2023), and did not have a break in enrollment for more than 12 months do not have to complete the NSU State Aid Application.

Step 6: Review your Student Aid Report 

If you provided a valid email address at the time you completed the FAFSA and your application has been processed successfully, you will receive an email notification with instructions on how to retrieve your Student Aid Report (SAR). You must have your FSA ID to retrieve your SAR.

The SAR summarizes the information you included on your FAFSA. It contains your official Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which is used in determining your federal student aid eligibility. It also shows if the information you have provided on your FAFSA is in conflict with any information held at the federal government (e.g., mismatch of social security number and name; discrepancies in citizenship information). If there is an asterisk next to the EFC on your SAR, your application has been selected for verification.

A copy of the SAR will be sent to all schools you indicated on the FAFSA. If necessary, make changes or corrections to your FAFSA. Your corrected SAR will be sent to the institutions you indicate.

Step 7: Submit Additional Documentation 

Some students may be required to submit additional documents to complete the financial aid process prior to being awarded. You should check your financial aid status via SharkLink regularly to view any outstanding requirements.

Access your financial aid file by following the steps below:

  • Log in to SharkLink. If you do not know your SharkLink ID or password, visit the "My NSU Identity" page.

  • Navigate to "My Finances" on the home page and click on the "Financial Aid" tab. 

For step-by-step instructions on how to view your outstanding requirements in SharkLink, visit the Your Online Financial Aid Account page. 

Step 8: Register for Classes

You need to familiarize yourself with the enrollment requirements defined by your program office, as well as by the financial aid program through which you are receiving aid. Enrollment requirements for federal and state grants vary. Students awarded federal direct loans must be enrolled at least half time in courses that are required for degree or certificate completion. Half-time enrollment is defined as 6 credits per semester for undergraduate students. For graduate and first-professional students, half-time status varies by program. Be sure to register as early as possible to ensure timely disbursement of your financial aid fund.

Once you have received your financial aid award notification, visit the Your Financial Aid Award page.

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