March 2 is the priority deadline for current and prospective students to file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid form (FAFSA) or Dream Act Application to be considered for financial aid for fall 2016. The FAFSA application is free and can be completed online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Students who qualify for an AB540 nonresident tuition exemption can file the California Dream Act application online at www.caldreamact.org.

“Students who apply by March 2 for all financial aid programs have a better chance of receiving the limited funds that are available from federal, state and institutional sources, including the Cal Grant, federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity (SEOG) grant and Work-Study, and the institutional State University and Educational Opportunity Program grants,” according to Dean Kulju, director of Student Financial Aid Services at the California State University, Chancellor’s Office.

Last year, more than $4 billion in financial aid was provided systemwide to eligible students. And, the average loan debt for CSU baccalaureate recipients was half that of the national average - $14,388 in 2014 as compared with the national average of $28,950.

The availability of potential student aid for qualified applicants was further enhanced last year by the record number of philanthropic gifts -- $315 million in new, non-state resources supporting scholarships and academics as well as other vital campus needs.

The CSU offers one of the most affordable undergraduate degrees in the nation with 80 percent of students receiving some form of financial aid. “Sixty-one percent of undergraduates have their fees fully covered by grants or waivers,” Kulju added.

Students with greater financial resources may still qualify for many forms of aid, including grants, scholarships, work-study and subsidized or unsubsidized loans.

For more information on financial aid and eligibility, visit http://www.csumentor.edu/FinAid/.

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About the California State University  The California State University is the largest system of senior higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, 47,000 faculty and staff and more than 470,000 students. Half of the CSU’s students transfer from California Community Colleges. Created in 1960, the mission of the CSU is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever changing needs of California. With its commitment to quality, opportunity, and student success, the CSU is renowned for superb teaching, innovative research and for producing job-ready graduates. Each year, the CSU awards more than 100,000 degrees. One in every 20 Americans holding a college degree is a graduate of the CSU and our alumni are 3 million strong. Connect with and learn more about the CSU at CSU Social Media.