5 Steps to Apply for Financial Aid

Step 1 – Apply for an FSA ID

If you are a first time FAFSA filer, go to the US Department of Education’s FSA ID webpage at fsaid.ed.gov and apply for your FSA ID.  You will use your FSA ID to sign your FAFSA on the Web.  If you are a dependent financial aid applicant (this means that you must have parents complete information on the FAFSA and one parent must sign your FAFSA), have one of your parents go to the FSA ID website and apply for a parent FSA ID of their own.


Applicants and parents of dependent applicants can sign the FAFSA form by printing, signing, and mailing a signature page. The student signature should match the student name printed on the signature page. The parent signature should be from one of the individuals whose information was provided in parental FAFSA data fields. Signature pages must also contain an original signature (no photocopies of signatures are acceptable).

For the 2019–20 school year, signature pages should be mailed to:

    Federal Student Aid Programs
    P.O. Box 7656
    London, KY 40742-7656

For the 2020–21 school year, signature pages should be mailed to:

    Federal Student Aid Programs
    P.O. Box 7652
    London, KY 40742-7652

When FSA receives a paper signature page via U.S. mail, the signature page is evaluated to determine if signatures are valid before they are designated as received in the system. Signature pages are rejected if they do not contain applicant or parent signatures OR if the signatures on the page do not meet specific rules and guidelines.

The next two sections provide more information on what is considered a valid or invalid signature.

Valid Signatures on the Signature Page

A valid signature requires a minimum of a title, first name or initial, and a last name. Acceptable signature examples for an applicant or parent named “June H. Brown” include Mrs. Brown, June Brown, J.H. Brown, J. Brown, or J.H.A. Brown. The only exception is when the student or parent only has a first name or last name and indicates this in writing on the signature page.

Additional acceptable and valid signature types include the following:

  • An X, thumbprint, fingerprint, or mark will be construed as a legal signature if noted as such on the document, as long as it is also noted and supported by one witness.
  • Printed (non-cursive) signatures are accepted.
  • Signatures that run together with no spaces (i.e., “JaneSueDoe”) are accepted.
  • Signature accompanied by a power of attorney document is acceptable, provided power of attorney is not limited. If power of attorney is questionable, the signature page is referred to Federal Student Aid for further evaluation.
  • A signature from an FAA or a high school counselor is an acceptable substitute for a parental signature if due to one or more of the following:
    • Parent(s) is not currently in the U.S., and unable to be contacted by normal means of communication.
    • The whereabouts of the parent(s) is unknown.
    • Parent(s) is mentally or physically unable to sign.

    Note: A parenthetical or attached note indicating why the FAA or counselor has signed on behalf of the parent is required for this to be considered a valid signature.

Do not include any other documentation with the mailed signature page unless noted above.

Invalid Signatures on the Signature Page

The following types of applicant or parent signatures will result in a rejected signature page:

Last name or first name only, unless student or parent has indicated he/she has only one name (i.e., signature page only shows one name for student or parent and there is a notation on the form by student or parent that indicates they only have one name);

  • Initials only (i.e., “JHS”);
  • Typed or stamped name;
  • Photocopied signature;
  • The words “father,” “mother,” or “dead” instead of signature;
  • Comments like “none” or “not applicable”; and
  • Signature of a legal guardian.
Additional Signature Options

The FAFSA form can also be signed electronically by the applicant and/or parent using an FSA ID during the completion of the application process. This is the most common means of conveying applicant and/or parent signatures associated with fafsa.gov submissions.

Alternatively, if the FAFSA form is rejected due to missing signatures, the applicant can contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) at 1‑800‑4‑FED‑AID (1‑800‑433‑3243) to request a copy of the Student Aid Report (SAR), which can be signed, as needed, and mailed back to process the required signatures.

Contact Information

If students or their parents have questions regarding the fafsa.gov website or the signature page process, they can contact FSAIC 1‑800‑4‑FED‑AID (1‑800‑433‑3243) or by email at FederalStudentAidCustomerService@ed.gov. TDD/TTY service is also available at 1‑800‑730‑8913.

If you do not have a U.S. SSN, you will not be able to register for an FSA ID and electronically sign your FAFSA; however, you can still sign your FAFSA via a paper signature page. Please note the valid signature rules above.

Step 2 – Complete your FAFSA

Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by applying as soon after October 1st as possible.   The earlier you apply prioritizes you for certain funding opportunities.

Who’s My Parent When I Fill Out My FAFSA®? (text format)

Tips for filling out the FAFSA® form without a parent:
Under section 475(f) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA), as amended, the FAFSA is completed for the divorced or separated parent of record as follows:

(A) Include only the income and assets of the parent with whom the student resided for the greater portion of the 12-month period preceding the date of the application.
(B) If the preceding criterion does not apply, include only the income and assets of the parent who provided the greater portion of the student’s support for the 12-month period preceding the date of application.
(C) If neither of the preceding criteria apply, include only the income and assets of the parent who provided the greater support during the most recent calendar year for which parental support was provided.

You will note that the first criterion is not half support; it is the parent with whom the student lived most during the past 12-month period. The fact that a student lived with one parent more than the other during the prior year does not change. However, a student may switch living arrangements from year to year and, therefore, report a different parent from one year to the next.

Separation of Income Google Sheet

Important information for residents of the Freely Associated States

Freely Associated States FAFSA Responses

Step 3 – List Eastern Oregon University on your FAFSA

Make sure that you list Eastern Oregon University on your FAFSA.   EOU’s federal school code is 003193.

Step 4 – Review your Student Aid Report (SAR)

Within a few days of submitting your FAFSA on the Web, you will receive an email from FAFSA letting you know that your Student Aid Report is ready to review.  Your Student Aid Report (SAR) summarizes the information you provided on your FAFSA form. Check to make sure all of your info is correct. Here’s how to get a copy.

Step 5 – Check your email often

Watch your email or mail for communication from Eastern Oregon University. Sometimes additional documents will be needed before your financial aid offer can be finalized. See our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page for information about what happens after you apply.

About to tackle your New Year’s fitness resolutions? Well first, download the new myStudentAid app and fill out the FAFSA form right on your phone ( iOS / Android ). It’s the best way to get your financial aid in shape.
But First, FAFSA Morning Run
— Federal Student Aid (@FAFSA)
Most people forget to do number three.

— Federal Student Aid (@FAFSA)
So you submitted the FAFSA form – great! Here’s what happens next. 👇

— Federal Student Aid (@FAFSA)