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). An FSA ID is needed to electronically sign the FAFSA. Students can contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center if they have any issues related to their FSA ID at 800-433-3243.

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.

Throughout the process, be sure to pay close attention to the financial aid deadlines, failure to do so may result in not being able to receive financial aid.

What to Expect After you File Your FAFSA/California Dream Act

After you have completed your application, you will receive an email notification confirming your submission. Please read this information carefully. After COD has received your information electronically, 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 application. 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.

Corrections to your SAR

If you find an error in the information you submitted you can correct your application online. Details on submitting FAFSA corrections to your SAR are located on the Federal Student Aid website. Details on submitting Dream corrections to your SAR are located on CSAC's website.


The Department of Education (California Student Aid Commission for Dream Act students) selects students for a process called verification. As part of this process financial aid offices are required to collect additional information. Students will be notified to their MyCOD email if there are missing documents that need to be turned in.

Priority Consideration

Students should complete their 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. Learn more information on deadlines.

California College Promise Grant (formerly BOG)

For California/AB 540 residents eligible for the California College Promise Grant you will need to complete the 2023-2024 FAFSA or Dream Act (AB 540 student only) application for the Summer 2023, Fall 2024 and Spring 2024 semesters. Get more information about the California College Promise Grant.

Cal Grants

The Cal Grant application requires both a FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application, and the GPA Verification form which can be downloaded from the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) website. 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 that completed a FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application.

COD Scholarships

The COD Scholarship Application will be available in the fall semester and closes during the spring term for scholarships awarded to students for the following school year. For more information please go to the Scholarship Information page.