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Applying for Financial Aid

How do I apply for financial aid? You should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after October 1. You can complete the FAFSA online at: https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa. The web version guides you through the application and assists you in providing the right responses. Consequently, there are fewer errors with this method and therefore, fewer delays in processing your student aid. It is best to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. 
Clayton State University’s school code is 008976.

Please remember that you must apply for financial aid each academic year. The 2021-2022 academic year consists of Fall Semester 2021, Spring Semester 2022, and Summer Semester 2022.  The 2020-2021 academic year consists of Fall Semester 2020, Spring Semester 2021, and Summer Semester 2021.


How long does the financial aid process take? Awards are made in the order in which files are completed. The Financial Aid Office has no way of predicting how many people may complete their files in any given week. Processing may take up to 6 weeks after your file is complete and may take longer during peak times.

Some students are randomly selected for verification by the Department of Education and will be required to submit other documents. The additional time required will also depend on how quickly the additional documents requested are submitted to the Financial Aid Office. Please keep a copy of any documents that you submit to the Financial Aid Office as copies cannot be provided for you at a later date. Make sure all documents are signed in appropriate places.


What if I make changes to my FAFSA? Once you have completed your FAFSA form, please note that making additional changes to your FAFSA may result in a delay in you receiving your financial aid awards.


What if I applied for financial aid but did not attend for a semester that I was awarded financial aid? Students will need to contact the Financial Aid Office at FinancialAid@clayton.edu to let the office know of your future plans for attending. Your financial aid awards will be adjusted accordingly within that particular academic year. Please note that financial aid does not roll over from one academic year to another. Fall always begins a new financial aid year.


What is verification? Why was I selected? Verification is a process in which the Financial Aid Office is required to verify certain information listed by the student on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Common information to verify includes Federal Income Tax information, number in household, number of students in college, and untaxed income information. The Department of Education randomly selects applicants for the verification process. If a student is selected for verification, they must provide all the requested documentation in order to receive financial aid.

To review and submit your required documention visit https://clayton.verifymyfafsa.com  
Enter your CSU email and password and upload required docs.

Once all docs are e-signed and uploaded, click SUBMIT, then click FINISH. You must see CONGRATULATIONS!! If you don't, we don't have the submission. (Verification can take up to 30 days to complete during peak time).

Your verification paperwork will be reviewed for completeness. If any of the materials are missing or incomplete, you will be contacted as to what is needed. The Financial Aid Office may request additional documents from students and parents (of dependent students) after your file is reviewed. Because financial information is student specific, the Financial Aid Office cannot know exactly what is needed until the initial review is made. Additional documents may be requested from students and parents (of dependent students) when they meet certain circumstances that are not common to every student. The Financial Aid Office is required by the U.S. Department of Education to resolve any conflicting information. In these situations, explanations and/or additional supporting documents may be requested.


Are post-baccalaureate students eligible for financial aid? A student must be enrolled as a regular student in an eligible program to receive federal student aid funds. A regular student is someone who is enrolled or accepted for enrollment to Clayton State University for the purpose of obtaining a degree or certificate. Students admitted as post-baccalaureate students are not eligible for federal student aid funds or VA education benefits because these students are taking courses for career development or personal enrichment only and are not seeking a degree or certificate from Clayton State University.


Are international students eligible for financial aid? Please see the information regarding international students on our website.


Can I use my W-2 to fill out the FAFSA? No. You should complete your tax forms (1040, 1040A, 1040EZ, etc) first and use that information to complete your FAFSA.


How can I get a copy of my federal tax return?

Need a copy of your Tax Return Transcript to complete your financial aid file? You have three easy and convenient options for getting copies of your federal tax return information (tax return transcript).

1. Request a copy of your Tax Return Transcript by mail from the IRS's website

  • In the Tools section click "Get a Tax Transcript"
  • Click "Get Transcript by mail"
  • Enter tax filers identifying information
  • Click "Continue"
  • In the Type of Transcript field select "Return Transcript" and in the Tax Year field select appropriate aid year.

2. Request transcripts by calling 1-800-908-9946 and following the prompts. At the appropriate prompt, you will need to enter:

  • Enter social security number and the numbers in your street address
  • Select Option 2, IRS Tax Return Transcript, and enter the appropriate tax year.

3. Order by mail using IRS Form 4506T (Request for Transcript of Tax Return). The IRS does not charge a fee for transcripts. Allow two weeks for delivery.

Tax Transcripts must be mailed to your home address not to Clayton State University.


Must I be enrolled full-time to receive financial aid? No. HOPE Grant and HOPE Scholarship will be paid according to the number of hours for which you are enrolled.

Pell Grant and other federal grants will be prorated according to Department of Education’s calculation if a student is less than full-time. Student loan eligibility mandates that a student be enrolled for at least half-time (6 semester hours). Please note that financial aid will only pay for classes required for your major as identified on the DUCK. Refer to your course outline before you register for classes. When you register for classes, verify that the classes are in your major listed on the DUCK.


Are student loans considered financial aid? Yes, loans are a form of financial aid. You must complete the FAFSA and go through the regular application process. You should indicate on the FAFSA that you are interested in loans. Notification of your eligibility for loans will be on your award letter. You must complete the online loan acceptance form after you are awarded if you decide to accept a loan. However, you must be enrolled in at least 6 hours to be eligible for a student loan.


If I’m not living at home with my parents, am I considered an independent student for financial aid purposes?

A student's dependency status is determined by questions in the Student Portion of the FAFSA Form. It does not matter if you live with your parents, if you claimed yourself on your tax returns, or if you pay your own bills. You must meet certain criteria to be declared an independent student for the purposes of the FAFSA:

  • Be 24 years of age or older by December 31 of the award year;
  • Be an orphan (both parents deceased), ward of the court, in foster care or was a ward of the court when 13 years or older;
  • Be a veteran of the Armed Forces of the United States or serving on active duty for other than training purposes;
  • Be a graduate or professional student;
  • Be a married individual;
  • Have legal dependents other than a spouse;
  • Be an emancipated minor or in legal guardianship;
  • Be a homeless youth

If you are considered a dependent student, your parents must answer the parental questions on the FAFSA.


How do I check the status of my financial aid online? You can check the status of your financial aid on the DUCK.  See the instructions below based on your admission status:

  • If you have not yet applied for admission to the university, you can check the status of your financial aid by logging into the DUCK.   To login to the DUCK, use your Laker ID and your generated PIN to access your information.  Your PIN is your 6 digit date of birth, MMDDYY.
  • If you have applied for admission to the university, you can check the status of your financial aid by logging into the DUCK through the SWAN and log on using your User Name and Password, then click on the Duck icon.

After you have been awarded, you will be able to see your award letter in the DUCK Message Portal.

If you have difficulty with your log-on or password, contact the HUB at http://www.clayton.edu/hub, e-mail TheHub@clayton.edu, or call (678) 466-4357. Your password cannot be changed by an email or phone request. To have your password changed or reset, you must go to the HUB and show a picture ID.