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How to Apply

First Steps

To be considered for federal financial aid at COD, students must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and list College of the Desert's Title IV School Code on the application (001182). Students should complete the FAFSA ( online beginning October 1st of each year. The FAFSA should be completed and submitted to the processing center as soon as possible after October 1st for the next academic year. Students not able to complete a FAFSA can now apply for state financial aid. To be considered for state financial Aid, students MUST meet AB 540 requirement and submit a California Dream Act Application (

What to Expect After you File Your FAFSA

After you have completed your FAFSA, you will receive an email notification from the U. S. Department of Education confirming your submission. Please read this information carefully. After COD has received your information electronically from the federal processor, the Financial Aid Office will contact you, via MyCOD email, to let you know if there are additional forms you may need to submit such as copies of federal income tax return transcripts, verification of family size, number of family members in college, untaxed income and other information you reported on your FAFSA.  After all forms and documents are reviewed and processed, you should receive an estimated Financial Aid Award Notification email indicating what financial aid you are eligible to receive at College of the Desert. 


The Dept. of Education selects students for a process called verification.  As part of this process financial aid offices are required to collect a 2015 Signed Tax Returns​ or IRS tax return transcripts for both students and their families.  Please note: The IRS Data Retrieval Tool is currently unavailable to students and families completing the FAFSA. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool is expected to be back up and running October 1, 2017.


Priority Consideration

Students should complete their FAFSA application and other related materials as soon as possible each year, but no later than March 2nd to ensure that they are awarded in a timely manner and receive any subsequent refunds. 

California College Promise Grant (formerly BOG) 

For California/AB 540 residents eligible for the California College Promise Grant you will need to complete the 2018-2019 FAFSA or Dream Act(Ab 540 student only) application for the Summer 2018, Fall 2018 and Spring ​2019 semesters. For more information about the California College Promise Grant click here​.

Cal Grants

The Cal Grant application requires both a FAFSA application (or CA Dream Act Application) and the GPA Verification form, the latter which can be downloaded from the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) website (​.gov​). Please note that College of the Desert transmits GPA information to CSAC each February for current or former students enrolled with 24 units or more units of college coursework completed. The application deadline for the Cal Grant is March 2nd of every year for the upcoming year and there is an additional deadline date of September 2nd for community college students.

COD Scholarships

The COD Scholarship Application will be available in December and close on March 2, for scholarships awarded to students for the following school year. For more information please go to the Scholarship Information​ page.