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Students should make sure to complete the following steps in order to see what kinds of financial aid they qualify for.

1. Determine Eligibility

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

  • File a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  • 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.
  • Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).
  • Enroll at least as a half-time student in an eligible degree program for Direct Loan Program funds.
  • Not owe a repayment on a grant or be in default on a federal student loan.
  • Be making progress in a degree program.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

In order for a student to receive and continue receiving financial aid funds, they 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 required SAP standards:

  • Grade Point Average: GPA of 2.0 for undergraduate students and GPA 3.0 for graduate students.

  • Academic Pace: Passing grades in at least 67% for undergraduate students and 50% for graduate students of credit hours attempted.

Students who fail to meet SAP standards are placed on Financial Aid Warning for the next semester. If they do not meet SAP standards by the end of the following semester, future financial aid is terminated for all future enrollments. If a student’s financial aid is terminated, they may appeal to the Financial Aid Appeals Committee to be considered for reinstatement of financial aid.

The full text of DigiPen’s SAP policy can be found in the Financial Aid Handbook.

Enrollment Status by Credit Load

The amount of credit hours students pursue per semester determines their 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: 7-8 creditsThree-Quarter-Time Student
Graduate: 5-6 creditsHalf-Time Student

Financial Aid Eligibility by Enrollment Status

A student’s enrollment status determines the types of financial aid they 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
Washington State AidAward prorated based on enrollment
DigiPen ScholarshipsAward prorated based on enrollment
Other ScholarshipsDetermined by Donor

Dependent or Independent

Throughout the financial aid process, one may see many references to “dependent students” and “independent students.” These terms are used to determine one’s 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 a student meets any of the following criteria, they are considered an independent student and do not need to provide their parents’ information on the FAFSA:

  • They are 24 years of age or older by December 31 of the award year.
  • They are married.
  • They are a veteran.
  • They are a ward of the court.
  • They are a graduate or professional student.
  • They have children or legal dependents (other than a spouse) who live with them and receive more than half their support from them.

Please contact the Office of Financial Aid for help determining dependency status.

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

To apply for federal financial aid, students must complete a FAFSA. A FAFSA or Renewal FAFSA must be completed each year for a student to be awarded federal financial aid. To submit a FAFSA or Renewal FAFSA, follow the instructions on the FAFSA website, where students will also register for a Federal Student Aid ID (required to submit the FAFSA).

The FAFSA is changing! For the 2024-25 academic year, the FAFSA will not open on October 1 and will instead be available in December 2023. Read about changes to terminology, contributor requirements, and eligibility at our 2024-25 FAFSA Changes page.

Students should submit their FAFSA as soon as possible, even if they have not applied for admission to DigiPen Institute of Technology, in order to maximize financial aid consideration. This will allow the Office of Financial Aid to determine their financial aid award eligibility and amounts. They must be enrolled in college in order for financial aid funds to disburse, but can apply for financial aid any time, even if they are unsure whether or not they will enroll.

DigiPen Institute of Technology’s Federal School Code is 037243.

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

After submitting the FAFSA, students will receive a FAFSA Submission Summary (FSS) by email. If they complete a paper FAFSA or do not provide an email address, they will receive their FSS by mail. Once students receive their FSS, they should ensure all the information is correct.

A student’s FSS includes their Student Aid Index (SAI). This number is determined based on the information submitted on a student’s FAFSA including family size, income, tax information, and assets. The SAI is used as a variable in the financial need equation to determine the amount and type of financial aid for which a student may be eligible.

FAFSA Checklist

In order to make sure the application process goes as smoothly as possible, students should make sure to have the following documents ready when they begin to fill out their FAFSA.

  • FSA ID needs to be created for student and all contributors
  • Social Security Number for student and all contributors
  • Student’s driver’s license number, if applicable
  • Student’s Alien Registration Number, if not a U.S. citizen
  • Federal tax returns* including IRS W-2 information for student (and spouse, if married), or their parents, if a dependent student
  • Records of untaxed income, such as interest income, the untaxed portion of pensions and individual retirement account distributions (excluding rollovers), and the foreign earned income exclusion
  • Information on cash; savings and checking account balances; investments, including stocks, bonds and real estate; and business and farm net worth

*Students and their contributors (parent[s], stepparent, or spouse, as applicable) will need to provide consent to have their tax information from the IRS brought directly into the FAFSA through the Financial Aid Direct Data Exchange in order to calculate the student’s SAI and be eligible for federal financial aid.

3. Additional Documentation

Throughout the financial aid process, the Office of Financial Aid may request additional documentation to resolve conflicts or verify information on a student’s FAFSA. Please submit only the documentation that is requested by the Office of Financial Aid.


Verification is the process by which the Office of Financial Aid compares the information on a student’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) with documents provided by the student to confirm the accuracy of their FAFSA.

When a student is selected for verification, the Office of Financial Aid will notify the student and send (via email) a verification worksheet along with instructions for any additional necessary documentation.

4. Search for Scholarships

DigiPen offers a number of scholarships for incoming and current students, some of which they will automatically be considered for and some of which they must submit a separate scholarship application.

Throughout the financial aid process, students should also search for private outside scholarships they are eligible for which are relevant to their skills and interests. DigiPen has collaborated with Scholarship Manager to provide students access to outside scholarship opportunities. Students can access the Scholarship Manager database using their DigiPen credentials.

5. Accept Financial Aid Offer

Once a student’s FAFSA has been submitted and processed by the Department of Education and DigiPen’s Office of Financial Aid, they will receive a financial aid award offer notification via email. They must accept or decline the offer through the Colleague Self-Service Student Portal.

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