College School Codes for Federal Student Aid

Find out what college codes are, how to locate and choose the correct college code, and how to narrow your search if the original search results in too many options.

What Are College School Codes?

Because schools use the nationally recognized Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to make their own financial aid decisions, a copy of your form must go to the individual schools as well as the federal government. In order to prevent students from having to fill out and submit a new form for every institution, the Department of Education will automatically submit a copy to up to ten schools for you. This is where college school codes come in.

How to Find College Codes

These codes, which are unique to each institution, tell the federal aid system where your forms need to go. You can find the college code for each school that needs your form by going to the FAFSA website and clicking on 'School Code Search'.

Choosing College Codes

It's important to note that the codes are subject to change each year. In order to ensure that you're choosing the right code, select the year for which you would actually receive the aid, not necessarily the current school year. For example, if you're filling out the FAFSA in January 2016 for the next school year, then you would select 2016-2017. After you've selected the correct school year, enter the state in which your college resides and click 'Search'.

Narrowing Your Search

If you come up with too many results to sort through, try narrowing it by the optional 'City' field. You can also enter the school's name, but because the federal database may use a slightly different version of the name than you do, this can often result in narrowing the search results too far. You may also find that there are multiple codes for your school for different programs or departments. If this comes up, be sure to select the one that most closely matches your field.

You'll need to run the search again for each school. Write down the school codes as you find them so that you can enter them on your FAFSA. If you choose to fill out the form online, you'll find that the school code search is integrated into the online system.

If you follow these step-by-step instructions on finding and using college codes, you should have no problem filling out the college selection area of the FAFSA form. This will ensure that the schools you wish to apply to will receive the correct information for financial aid purposes.

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