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Make sure to complete the following steps in order to see what kinds of financial aid you qualify for.


1. Determine Your Eligibility

In order to be eligible for federal financial aid, you must:

  • Be a citizen of the United States or an eligible non-citizen.
  • Have a high school diploma or GED.
  • Have a valid Social Security Number.
  • Enroll at least as a half-time student in an eligible degree program for Direct Loan Program funds.
  • Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).
  • Not owe a repayment on a grant or be in default on a student loan.
  • Submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  • Register with Selective Service, if required and if male.
  • Attend a Title IV–approved institution (such as DigiPen).
  • Work toward a degree or a certification program.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

In order for a student to receive and continue receiving financial aid funds, you must meet and maintain the standards set forth in DigiPen’s Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy. In addition to other criteria, a student must meet the following terms to meet SAP standards:

  • Grade Point Average: GPA of 1.8 or greater for the first 50% of credits received at DigiPen; GPA of 2.0 or greater for the last 50% of credits received at DigiPen.

  • Academic Pace: Passing grades in at least 67% of credit hours attempted.

Students who fail to meet SAP standards are placed on Financial Aid Warning for the next semester. If you do not meet SAP standards by the end of the next semester, future financial aid is terminated starting the next semester. If your financial aid is terminated, you may appeal to the Financial Aid Appeals Committee for reinstatement of financial aid.

The full text of DigiPen’s SAP policy can be found in the DigiPen Course Catalog.

Enrollment Status by Credit Load

The amount of credit hours you pursue per semester determines your enrollment status.

Credits per SemesterEnrollment Status
Undergraduate: 12+ creditsFull-Time Student
Undergraduate: 9-11 creditsThree-Quarter-Time Student
Undergraduate: 6-8 creditsHalf-Time Student
Graduate: 9+ creditsFull-Time Student
Graduate: 6-8 creditsHalf-Time Student

Financial Aid Eligibility by Enrollment Status

Your enrollment status determines the types of financial aid you are eligible to receive.

Financial Aid TypeMinimum Enrollment Status Required
Direct LoansHalf-Time Student
Federal Pell GrantAward prorated based on enrollment
Federal Work Study (FWS)Half-Time Student
DigiPen ScholarshipsFull-Time Student
Other ScholarshipsDetermined by Donor

Drug Convictions

Students who are convicted of a federal or state drug crime are disqualified from receiving Federal Student Aid (FSA) funds. A conviction that occurs during a period when a student is not enrolled does not affect FSA eligibility unless the student is denied federal benefits as a part of sentencing.

The chart below illustrates a convicted student’s period of ineligibility for FSA funds depending on whether the conviction is for sale or possession and whether the student has committed previous offenses.

OffensePosession of Illegal DrugsSale of Illegal Drugs
1st Offense1 year from date of conviction2 years from date of conviction
2nd Offense2 years from date of convictionIndefinite period
3+ OffensesIndefinite period

A student regains eligibility for FSA funds the day after the period of ineligibility ends. A student may also regain eligibility upon completion of a qualified drug rehabilitation program or by passing two unannounced drug tests conducted by such a program.

Dependent or Independent?

Throughout the financial aid process, you will see many references to “dependent students” and “independent students.” These terms are used to determine your eligibility for Federal Student Aid (FSA) programs, including Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct PLUS Loans.

Most students applying to attend DigiPen right after high school are dependent students and must submit their parents’ financial information with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

If you meet any of the following criteria you are considered an independent student and do not need to provide your parents’ information on the FAFSA:

  • You are 24 years of age or older by December 31 of the award year.

  • You are married.

  • You are a veteran.

  • You are a ward of the court.

  • You are a graduate or professional student.

  • You have children or legal dependents (other than a spouse) who live with you and receive more than half their support from you.


2. Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

To apply for financial aid, you must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You must submit a FAFSA or Renewal FAFSA each year for which you are seeking financial aid. To submit a FAFSA or Renewal FAFSA, follow the instructions on the FAFSA website, where you will also register for a Federal Student Aid ID (required to submit the FAFSA).

Beginning with the 2017-18 application year, you can submit your FAFSA as early as October 1 the year before you plan to attend college.

You should submit your FAFSA as soon as possible, even if you have not applied for admission to DigiPen Institute of Technology. This will allow the Office of Financial Aid to determine your financial aid award eligibility and amounts. You must be enrolled in college to actually receive financial aid funds, but you can apply for financial aid any time, even if you are unsure whether or not you will enroll.

Please note that the Federal School Code for DigiPen Institute of Technology is 037243.

By providing the DigiPen school code on your FAFSA, the U.S. Department of Education will send DigiPen’s Office of Financial Aid a copy of your FAFSA, which will enable DigiPen to create your award offer letter.

After submitting your FAFSA, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) in your mail or email. Once you receive it, ensure all the information on your SAR is correct. Your SAR includes your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). This number is calculated from the information submitted on your FAFSA and is used to determine the amount and type of financial aid for which you may be eligible. After submitting your FAFSA and being accepted to DigiPen, you will receive an award offer letter from DigiPen detailing your financial aid offer. Review this letter, note any changes you’d like made, and send it back to DigiPen’s Office of Financial Aid. You will then need to log on to www.studentloans.gov to complete entrance counseling and sign your Master Promissory Note acknowledging that you will repay your federal student loans (if any). After completing these steps, as long as you have no outstanding documents to submit, you will receive your financial aid at the beginning of the school year.

Some students may be required to complete verification before receiving an award offer letter. Verification is the process schools use to confirm the accuracy of the information submitted on the FAFSA. The Office of Financial Aid will contact each student who has been selected for verification and request additional documentation. Once this process has been completed, an award letter will be sent to you for review.

FAFSA Checklist

In order to make sure the application process goes as smoothly as possible, make sure to have the following documents ready when you begin to fill out your FAFSA.

  • Your Social Security Number

  • Your parents’ Social Security Numbers if you are a dependent student

  • Your driver’s license number if you have one

  • Your Alien Registration Number if you are not a U.S. citizen

  • Federal tax information* or tax returns including IRS W-2 information, for you (and your spouse, if you are married), and for your parents if you are a dependent student

  • Records of your untaxed income, such as child support received, interest income, and veterans noneducation benefits, for you, and for your parents if you are a dependent student

  • Information on cash; savings and checking account balances; investments, including stocks and bonds and real estate but not including the home in which you live; and business and farm assets for you, and for your parents if you are a dependent student

*You may be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on the FAFSA website to automatically import your tax information from the IRS into your FAFSA. This option is encouraged.


3. Search for Scholarships

Throughout the financial aid process, search for private scholarships for which you are eligible and which are relevant to your skills and interests. DigiPen offers a number of scholarships for incoming and current students, some of which you will automatically be considered for and some of which you must submit a separate scholarship application.


4. Accept Your Financial Aid Award

Once your FAFSA has been submitted and processed by the Department of Education and DigiPen’s Office of Financial Aid, you will receive a financial aid award letter notification via email around the same time that you receive your letter of acceptance to DigiPen. You must accept or decline the award letter on the Student Records System (SRS) through the Student Portal.

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