Help your Student Apply for Aid

The Application Process: Completing the FAFSA/WASFA

  • The first step in applying for aid is for you and your student to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), or if a DREAMER student, complete the WASFA (Washington Application for State Financial Aid).
    • The FAFSA determines eligibility for state, institutional, and federal aid, including student loans.
    • The WASFA determines eligibility for several Washington State financial aid programs.
    • Students and parents complete the FAFSA/WASFA once for the academic year, and must renew their application each year they plan to receive aid.
    • The FAFSA determines the status of your student as dependent or independent based on the answers to specific questions on the FAFSA. By regulation, parents of dependent students must provide financial information on the FAFSA, even if your student does not live with you, you do not claim your student on your taxes, and/or you provide no support for your student.
    • Unless you legally adopted your student, guardians and other relatives do not provide information on the FAFSA.
    • If your student has no contact with at least one parent, your student may qualify to complete the Petition to Apply for Aid without Parent Information. Contact the Financial Aid Office or come to Student Central for more information and access to the petition.
  • To receive aid, your student must complete the Admission Process, and submit the BC Financial Aid Application.  After admission, your student should set up a NetID and email account. We send all communications to your student via the BC Email address.
  • After submitting the FAFSA/WASFA, we send your student an email explaining next steps and information about other forms and documents your student must submit to the office.
  • Ask your student to use the Financial Aid Portal to see if information or documentation is missing.

Review of Application Files

  • We review, process and then award application files in the order completed. A complete file means that your student submitted all required documents and information to our office.
  • Check the Academic calendar for the application file deadlines for the quarter in which your student wishes to begin taking classes. Missing the deadline means that your student must pay tuition and fees, and purchase required books for that quarter. Reimbursement of these costs occurs based on your student’s eligibility for aid, and once we review, process and then award the application file.
  • We generally begin processing files for the upcoming year in March or April. This means it may take several months before your student receives an award letter email indicating the types and amounts of aid provided. We also send an email if your student is not eligible for aid.
  • Ask your student to use the Financial Aid Portal to view award information and amounts by quarter.
  • Sometimes during the review process, we find that we need additional information. If this happens, your student does not lose the original date of file completion. Once your student submits the required information, the review process continues within a week.

Last Updated October 8, 2019