Financial Aid Information

  • Financial Aid and Scholarship Guide

    Free Application for Federal Student Aid FAFSA

    Seniors planning to attend ANY postsecondary school next fall need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form (FAFSA) to determine eligibility for aid. Priority funding deadline for the FAFSA is April 15. If you plan to mail your FAFSA, you must do so 6-8 weeks prior to the deadline. If you plan to submit your FAFSA online, allow 5-7 days prior to the deadline. This will ensure maximum consideration for federal, state, and institutional aid. Prior to completing the FAFSA, your student and at least one parent will need to request PIN numbers. You can request your PIN number at the link below (see Step 1). You will need a PIN to sign the FAFSA application electronically.

    You are strongly encouraged to complete the FAFSA online at the link below (see Step 3). Information is based on parents' income tax figures for the year 2015. There is no charge to complete the FAFSA online or by mail.

    When you complete the FAFSA online you are strongly encouraged to select the option for IRS Data Retrieval. Allow two weeks after you complete your taxes for your information to be made available through the IRS Data Retrieval system. It is important if you select the IRS Data Retrieval option that the name and address on your taxes match exactly the name and address on the FAFSA. If not, the IRS Data Retrieval system will be unable to match the information. If you do not select this option, your student's FAFSA will be tagged for verification which means that you will need to request an IRS Transcript of your taxes. This will delay the processing of the FAFSA

    Do not pay to complete the FAFSA. Please use the links below to apply online. Other sites may charge.

    Steps To Apply for Financial Aid

    1. Apply for a Personal Identification Number (PIN) with the Department of Education at You will need a PIN to sign the FAFSA form. Parents and students both need a PIN. You may apply for a PIN at any time. You will use the same PIN during all of your college years.

    2. Complete the admissions application for the college you plan to attend. If possible, March 1 is suggested as a deadline.

    3. Complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after January 1. Priority funding deadline for some programs (i.e. North Dakota State Student Incentive Grant Program) is April 15th. The options to complete the FAFSA:

    Go to to apply online OR
    Go to to download a paper FAFSA.

    Note: The quickest and easiest way to complete the FAFSA is online. Paper copies of the FAFSA are available in Student Services at Bismarck High School.

    4. Watch for an email within 3-5 days after completing the application saying it has been processed and how to access your Student Aid Report (SAR) online. Be sure to check your junk email in case it is sent there.

    5. Respond to any requests for information.

    6. Inquire whether there are any scholarships you may be eligible for at the college you plan to attend. Bismarck High School maintains a listing of those scholarship announcements sent to them under "Scholarships".

    7. Accept or decline your award online through CampusConnection (check with the college you plan to attend for the website) once you have received your award packet. If you have any questions regarding your award packet, contact the Financial Aid Office at the college you plan to attend.

    8. If you are receiving a Federal Direct Student Loan you will need to go to to complete the Entrance Counseling and Sign the Master Promissory Note. You will need your PIN number to complete these steps.

    9. You will want to periodically check your holds and to do lists on your CampusConnection. If you have any questions, contact the Financial Aid Office at the school you plan to attend.

    10. Consistently check your email for financial aid correspondence.

    These easy steps apply to Bismarck State College and may apply to other North Dakota public postsecondary institutions. Check with the school you plan to attend for their specific procedures and deadlines.

    Top Ten List of Financial Aid Tips

    Tip 1: Prioritize your efforts, starting with the federal government. Then turn to the private sector for additional assistance.
    Tip 2: Learn all you can about the college financial aid process. Be sure to meet with the college financial aid officer and establish a relationship.
    Tip 3: Submit a FAFSA, even if you don't think you qualify for aid. Being rejected for federal aid is sometimes a prerequisite for private awards.
    Tip 4: Apply for aid as soon as possible after January 1. The early bird always gets the worm -- and sometimes the scholarship.
    Tip 5: Inform financial aid administrators about atypical expenses. Certain allowances may be made to assist you.
    Tip 6: Take advantage of tuition prepayment discounts. Some colleges offer up to a 10% discount for early payment.
    Tip 7: Money from grandparents should be paid in your name directly to the school. This avoids the gift tax liability.
    Tip 8: Investigate company-sponsored tuition plans. Many employers will invest in the education of their employees.
    Tip 9: Apply! You cannot win awards or receive funds for which you do not apply, so pay attention to the deadlines.
    Tip 10: Use scholarship search engines like FastWeb to help you find the private sector assistance you need.

    North Dakota/Minnesota Reciprocity
    Reciprocity application for ND students planning to attend MN campuses. 2009-2010 application will be available as soon as the 2009 Legislative Session ends this spring.

    Western Undergraduate Exchange Program (WUE)
    Offers reduced tuition rates in certain programs at participating colleges in the following states: AK, AZ, CA, CO, HI, ID, MT, NV, NM, OR, SD, UT, WA, and WY. More information is available at:
    Western Undergraduate Exchange Program

    Midwest Student Exchange Program
    Students may be eligible for reduced tuition in certain programs at participating schools in KS, MI, MN, MO, NE, and WI. For more information go to:
    Midwest Student Exchange Program

    The American Legion Need A Lift
    Scholarship and financial aid information is available at the link below.

    The Ultimate Guide to College Scholarships
    This website gives tips and tricks to use when applying for scholarships.

    Video About the Types of Financial Aid and How to Apply

    The College Planning Center at Bank of North Dakota has created a short video that explains the types of financial aid and how to apply. This informative video is just over 16 minutes.
    BND Video