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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

Starting with the 2024-25 academic year, some financial aid eligibility is based on enrollment intensity, which is the percentage value of enrolled credits versus full-time enrollment. Other financial aid is determined by enrollment status.

Undergraduate Credits per SemesterEnrollment StatusEnrollment Intensity
12 or more creditsFull-Time100%
Graduate Credits per SemesterEnrollment StatusEnrollment Intensity
9 or more creditsFull-Time100%

Financial Aid Eligibility by Enrollment

A student’s enrollment intensity or enrollment status determines the types of financial aid they are eligible to receive.

Financial Aid TypeEnrollment Required
Direct LoansEnrolled at least half-time
Federal Pell GrantAward prorated based on enrollment intensity
Federal Work Study (FWS)Enrolled at least half-time
Washington State AidAward prorated based on enrollment intensity
DigiPen ScholarshipsAward prorated based on enrollment intensity
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, stay updated on changes to terminology, contributor requirements, timelines, and eligibility on 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 review requirements, upload forms and supporting documentation, and view instructions in the Required Documents section of Colleague Self-Service (CSS).

Visit our Forms and Documents page to locate files associated with additional documentation. Examples include:


Verification is the process in 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.


If your U.S. Citizenship could not be confirmed on your FAFSA, the Office of Financial Aid will need to collect your Department of Homeland Security or U.S. citizenship/nationality documents. You will need to complete this requirement in person or with a notary public.

Washington State Aid

Students that are preliminarily awarded Washington State Aid on their financial aid offer will need to supply documentation during their first eligible semester confirming their residency in Washington.

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 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 offer notification through email. You will be able to view, as well as accept or deny, your financial aid offer in the My Awards section of Colleague Self-Service.

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