Complete the FAFSA

FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The application is used to determine if you qualify you for need-based assistance programs such as government grants, institutional scholarships and and federal subsidized loans.

New and returning students must complete a FAFSA every year in order to be considered for need-based financial aid.

When filling out your FAFSA, please be sure to use Cal Lutheran's FAFSA code: 001133.


Watch a Tutorial

For an in-depth guide to completing the FAFSA, we recommend watching a brief tutorial video. This, and other easy to follow videos, are developed by Federal Student Aid (FSA), and we feel that they are a great resource to assist students and parents in understanding how to complete the FAFSA.

If you have further questions, please contact the Office of Financial Aid instead.

Watch the tutorial


When a student completes a FAFSA, he or she may get selected for verification, which means the Federal Government wants the Office of Financial Aid to “verify” that the information provided on the FAFSA matches the student (and spouse, if applicable) and/or parents’ actual data on tax returns and other documents.

Learn about Verification
The Verification Process

When an applicant's FAFSA is selected for verification, Cal Lutheran will send the student a letter outlining the documents that must be received by the school to complete the verification process. The notification will provide instructions on which verification form is required and how to access the form online. The verification forms contain step-by-step instructions and identify any necessary supporting documents. Students have 30 days to submit all required documents. Financial aid award packages will not be finalized until the verification process is complete.

Financial aid staff will compare the information provided on the verification documents to the student's FAFSA for accuracy. If corrections are necessary, the FAFSA will be updated and submitted to the Department of Education (DOE). Applicants will be notified of changes to their FAFSA with an updated Student Aid Report (SAR) sent to the email address on their FAFSA application. Students will be notified of changes to their financial aid award package, if changes were necessary, with an email through their Cal Lutheran email account.

Please note that applicants are required to give complete and true answers to all questions on the FAFSA and verification forms. If we suspect that a student, employee, or other individual has misreported information or altered documentation to fraudulently obtain federal funds, we will report the suspicions and provide any evidence to the Office of Inspector General.

Verification Requirements

You and your parents may be asked to submit documentation or clarification of information for one or more of the following data elements on the FAFSA:

  • Adjusted Gross Income
  • Taxes Paid
  • Income Earned from Work (for non-tax filers)
  • Certain Untaxed Income Items
  • Number of family members in the household
  • Number of family members enrolled in college (excluding parents for a dependent student)
  • High School Completion
  • Identity and Statement of Educational Purpose
  • Any other inconsistent or conflicting information (including name, date of birth, social security number, etc.)
Verifying Income

Students and/or parents who are asked to verify their income must:

Use IRS Data Retrieval Tool 

  • If the student has already filed their FAFSA, they can still update their application with the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. To do so, the student must login to and select the link to "Make FAFSA Corrections". When making the correction, update your status to “Already Completed” and use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (if eligible) to update your tax information.


Submit a Tax Return Transcript from the IRS

  • Please be advised that if the student's FAFSA is selected for verification and the student and/or  the parent(s) are not eligible or choose not to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, then a Tax Return Transcript or signed, completed tax return will be required for verification purposes.  (see below for more options.)
  • Please view our form on how to Request a Tax Transcript for further instructions.
  • Please make sure to request a Tax Return Transcript. DO NOT request a Account Transcript or Record of Account unless directed by our office to do so.
  • Once the Tax Return Transcript is received from the IRS, the student and/or parent will need to submit a copy of it to the Office of Financial Aid

NOTE:  The process of requesting and receiving the Tax Return Transcript may delay your Financial Aid Award because it takes time for the IRS to send the transcript.


Submit a SIGNED and DATED IRS Federal Tax Return and all W-2s and 1099 Forms. Please include all schedules with the tax return.


In order to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool or obtain a Return Transcript from the IRS, you must have already filed your Federal Tax Return.

  • If your Federal Tax Return was submitted electronically to the IRS, you must wait approximately 14–21 days before you can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool or obtain a Return Transcript from the IRS
  • If your Federal Tax Return was submitted via regular mail to the IRS, you must wait approximately 4–6 weeks before you can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool or obtain a Return Transcript from the IRS