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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 January 1st of each year. The FAFSA should be completed and submitted to the processing center as soon as possible after January 1st for the next academic year. To be considered for state financial Aid, students who qualify for AB540 status may apply for the 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 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.
Verification and the IRS Data Retrieval Tool
The Dept. of Education selects students for a process called verification.  As part of this process financial aid offices are required to collect IRS tax return transcripts for both students and their families.  In order to expedite the process of your application, it is recommended that students and their families use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool so that tax return transcripts do not need to be submitted as these could take several weeks to receive from the IRS.  
If a Tax Return Transcript must be submitted it must be ordered from the IRS, there are three options available for students to obtain a tax return transcript:

1. Online: Go to​​
  • Under Tools, select:   “Get a Tax Transcript by Mail”
  • Select  “Get Transcript by Mail”
  • Follow instructions on page
  • Under “Type of Transcript”, be sure to order a “Return Transcript” for the required Tax Year

2. By phone: Call 1-800-908-9946

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. 

BOG Fee Waiver
For California residents eligible for the BOG Enrollment Fee Waiver you will only need to complete the 2014-2015 FAFSA application for the Summer 2014, Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 semesters.
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 courswork 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. For additional information on Cal Grants, visit CSAC's website.
COD Scholarships
The COD Scholarship Application will be available in November 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.

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