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All about the FAFSA

All about the FAFSA

All financial aid at Chestnut Hill College begins with your filing of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This is the only financial aid application that Chestnut Hill College requires for Undergraduate, Graduate and Adult Degree students. The FAFSA must be submitted each year you attend CHC. 

Learn More about the 2024-25 FAFSA Form

What's Changed for the 2024-25 FAFSA Form

What Does It Mean to Provide Consent and Approval on the 2024–25 FAFSA® Form? 

How Do I Create a StudentAid.gov Account If I Don’t Have a Social Security Number? 

How Do I Complete the 2024–25 FAFSA® Form If My Parent Is a Noncitizen? 

Who is Eligible to Submit a FAFSA?
  • You must be a matriculated student in a degree granting program at Chestnut Hill College.
  • You must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen.
  • You must have a valid Social Security Card on file with the Social Security Administration (SSA).
When Should I File?

Please keep in mind that you must file a FAFSA each academic aid year. For all newly admitted students, we suggest that you file by February 15th. For returning students, we suggest having your FAFSA filed by March 15th.

Steps to Complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)

The FAFSA is located at: studentaid.gov.  You will be asked for the college code.  Chestnut Hill College's Federal Code: 003245 

Below are the steps for submission: 

  • Both the student and parent must apply for an FSA ID from the U.S. Department of Education, at studentaid.gov/fsa-id. A FAFSA is not considered complete until the student and parent (if required) have electronically signed. Once you have an FSA ID, complete the FAFSA online, www.fafsa.ed.gov. Be sure to include Chestnut Hill College's Federal Code: 003245 
  • When filing your FAFSA on the Web, you will be encouraged to use the IRS DRT (Data Retrieval Tool), which allows the US Department of Education to access your tax year data directly from the IRS, rather than having you provide the data. This will ensure the most accurate aid award for you and may satisfy the need for further tax information if selected for Federal Verification.
  • After the FAFSA has been submitted, you will receive notification from the Federal Government in the form of a Student Aid Report, (SAR). The Student Aid Report will contain your Expected Family Contribution and will also indicate your Pell Grant eligibility as well as Federal Direct Loans. Be sure to review and correct any errors that you may find. Please closely review the information that is sent back after filing the FAFSA on your Student Aid Report. If there is a problem on the FAFSA, this will be indicated in that report.
  • Corrections can be made by going back into the FAFSA at any time. This may also indicate that you have been selected for a Verification Review. Pay special attention not to make any errors when filing your FAFSA.
  • Please verify all personal information you input, including the Social Security number and date of birth. If this information does not match up with the Social Security Administration, this can cause delays in financial aid awarding. Please note, if you enter the wrong Social Security Number and/or Date of Birth, FAFSA will not be able to confirm your information with the Social Security Administration.  You will need to submit a new FAFSA with the correct information.
Step by Step
Dependent vs. Independent Student Status

When you apply for federal student aid, it must be determined if you are considered as a dependent or independent student. 

Independent Student Criteria

The U.S. Department of Education has specific criteria that determines your status. The FAFSA will ask a series of questions that will help you determine your status. In order to be considered an Independent Student, one of the following criteria must be met:

  • Be 24 years of age
  • Be in a graduate program (beyond a Bachelor's Degree)
  • Be married
  • Have children you support
  • Have legal dependents
  • Be an orphan or ward of the court
  • Be a verteran
  • Be emancipated other than for child support purposes
  • Be an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or at risk of being homeless

Dependent Student Criteria

You are considered a Dependent Student if your parent's claim you on their income taxes. Federal aid programs are based on the concept that a dependent student's parents have the primary responsibilty for their children's education. If you do not meet the Independent Student criteria listed above, parent information is required. 

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Federal Direct Loans

Federal Direct Loan eligibility is based on your FAFSA, Expected Family Contribution (EFC), and year in school. 

Direct Subsidized Loans, if eligible, are need-based, interest-free loans offered to eligible undergraduate students.  The US Department of Education (ED) pays the interest while you’re in school at least half-time, for the first six months after you leave school, and during a period of deferment.  The school determines the amount you can borrow.  (This is pulled straight from studentaid.gov)

Direct Unsubsidized Loans accrue interest while you are enrolled. You can choose to pay the interest each month while in school, or allow the interest to accrue.

Borrowing Limits

Borrowing limits for each academic year depend on your class level: 

$5,500 Freshmen (maximum $3,500 may be subsidized)
$6,500 Sophomores (maximum $4,500 may be subsidized)
$7,500 Juniors/Seniors (maximum $5,500 may be subsidized)
$20,500 Graduate Students, all in unsubsidized loans   

Interest Rates: 

Direct subsidized:  

0% interest rate while enrolled in college at least half-time level, and during a six month grace period after you leave school
4.66% interest rate during repayment for undergraduate loans.

Direct unsubsidized loans have a 4.66% fixed interest rate.

Each loan disbursement on or after July 1, 2012 will have a net fee of 1.073% deducted from each disbursement.

No credit check is required. If you are not in default on a prior educational loan, do not owe a repayment of federal grant funds, and meet federal aid eligibility requirements, you will be approved to borrow Federal Direct Loans.

NOTE:  Once you are approved for a loan, it is very important to recognize that the loan dollars will not be disbursed to you until you electronically complete both Entrance Counseling and sign the Master Promissory Note (MPN). Both of these can be completed by visiting www.studentloans.gov. You will need to have your Personal Identification Number (PIN) and your Social Security Number available to complete this process. Your PIN was assigned to you when you filed your FAFSA. If you have forgotten it, you may retrieve it by visiting  www.pin.ed.gov

No payment is required while you are enrolled at least half-time. Repayment begins six months after graduation or if you drop below half-time status. The standard repayment is ten years. You can apply for an additional deferment of payments if you enroll in graduate school at least half-time, additional information can be found by visiting www.studentloans.gov 

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After You File

After you send your FAFSA application to the U.S. Dept. of Education, you will receive a Student Aid Report in the mail (if you applied by paper application) or by the WEB (if you applied online). The SAR is a hard copy of the information you provided on the FAFSA. This report:

  • tells you your Expected Family Contribution (EFC);
  • gives you the opportunity to correct any errors or update your data. If you estimated your financial information when you originally filed, you must log-in to the FAFSA to make corrections with your updated tax information. Don't forget if you are a depentent student to have your parent sign the form in addition to yourself.
  • provides a list of colleges that will receive your financial information. Important: Be sure that the Chestnut Hill College code, number 003245, is listed on the SAR. 


One third of all the FAFSA's submitted to the Department of Education will be randomly selected for verification. Verification is a process by which Student Financial Services is required to review the information you submitted on your FAFSA. If you are selected, you and your parents must supply documentation to confirm the data reported on your FAFSA form. You must submit the verification worksheet and copies of your and your parents' federal income tax forms. Student Financial Services will notify you regarding the necessary documentation that is required to satisfy the verification requirement, but it is also available for you to download electronically here. No federal financial aid may be credited to your account until this process is completed.

"C" Flags

When you submit your FAFSA, the U.S. Department of Education checks your information with other federal agencies. "C" Flags indicate inconsistent information or information that could not be verified by the USDE system. All "C" flags are identified on the Student Aid Report (SAR) with an explanation on Part I of the SAR. All "C" flag issues must be resolved before Student Financial Services can disburse any financial aid. Resolution can occur through the assistance of certain federal agencies. You will be notified by Student Financial Services of the documentation or actions required to remove the "C" flags.

Selective Service

Men aged 18 through 25 are required to register with the Selective Service System in order to receive federal funding. If you are between the ages of 18-25 and have not registered, please register at www.sss.gov as soon as possible. If you are over the age of 25 and have not registered for the Selective Service, please contact Student Financial Services immediately.

Financial Aid Consultants

Be careful when dealing with financial aid consultants. Many charge from $300 to $800 per year to complete the FAFSA application. This form can be completed by you and your parents. If you have any questions, you are more than welcome to contact our office at 215.248.7182.

Additional Information