The Financial Aid Process

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Submit Your Application

If you are an Undergraduate Student, youmust submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the  CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE® ("Profile").  If you are a Graduate student,  you will only submit theFAFSA.  The CSS/Profile is not required for graduate programs. Both applications are available October 1 for the following academic year.  Students are encouraged to submit both applications as early as possible. 

Filing Dates and Deadlines:   Please remember that you must resubmit your applications each academic year.

Academic Year Applications Available Priority Filing Date (Incoming students) Priority Filing Date (Returning Students) Filing Deadine for Fall/Spring Terms Filing Deadline for Summer '22
2022-2023  Oct. 1, 2021 Feb. 15, 2022 April 15, 2022 April 30, 2022 June 30, 2022
2023-2024 Oct. 1, 2022 Feb. 15, 2023 April 15, 2023 April 30, 2023 June 30, 2023

 Students and parents are strongly encouraged to use the Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) to automatically import tax information from the IRS to the FAFSA. Using the DRT saves time, reduces data entry errors as well as being selected for verification.   All other FAFSA data fields may be corrected manually, if necessary, once you receive the Student Aid Report.  Corrections to the CSS/Profile must be made by the Financial Aid Office.  Contact your Financial Aid Advisor for help correcting the CSS/Profile.  .

Make sure to keep all the records you use to file the FAFSA such as your tax documents, W-2's, child support payment records, etc.  If you are selected for verification, you will be required to submit all of these documents to the Financil Aid Office. 

The FAFSA will be used to determine your eligibility for federal and state aid.   The CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE® will be used to determine eligibility for SMU need based aid.  Information on scholarhips offered by SMU can be found here.  Also, students are encouraged to research local organzations or club affiliations. 

Review your Student Aid Report (SAR)

You will receive your Student Aid Report (SAR) from the Department of Education a few days after you apply. Please review the information on the SAR carefully and make corrections as soon as possible, if needed. If you have questions, call the Department of Education at (800) 433-3243 (4-FED-AID). You can check the status of your FAFSA application by logging in to the website.  

Set up your SMU email account

Open your SMU e-mail account as soon as you receive instructions. Your SMU email is the primary method of communicating with students regarding official buisness which includes Financial Aid Award notifications.  Please check your SMU email often for information regarding your financial aid and other official information.  

Watch for your financial aid award notification

The Office of Financial Aid will begin sending financial aid award offers to incoming, first year students in April.  .

New students will receive their initial financial aid notification by paper. Subsequent notifications will be sent by email.

Summer and Fall term transfer students will begin receiving award offers in April.   Spring transfers will receive award offers in October.   

Continuing students will begin receiving award offers in June.  

To ensure timely processing of your financial aid package be sure to check your student dashboard in My.SMU for missing "to-do" items.  

View your financial aid in my.SMU

Your financial aid notification will include instructions on how to accept your aid in my.SMU. You will be able to view your aid and take actions to accept, decline or reduce offered loans.


***Aid may be reviewed and/or revised so check SMU e-mail often.***

If your FAFSA is selected for verification, the  Office of Financial Aid will notify you via e-mail and list documents needed on the Student Homepage. To prevent any delays in processing your financial aid, please send all requested documents promptly. Financial aid awards are subject to change upon review. Student will be notified of any changes via their SMU e-mail address.

Any outstanding items will be listed My.SMU student dashboard.  

Estimate your costs for a year at SMU with our Net Price Calculator

Additional financial resources

  • Apply for a Federal Direct Parent PLUS loan
    Parents of dependent students may apply for the Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan at This is a credit based loan in the parent's name and must be credit approved by Direct Lending.
  • Apply for a Grad PLUS Loan
    Graduate students who file the FAFSA may be eligible for the Grad PLUS loan, which requires credit approval.
  • Apply for a private alternative loan
    Private or alternative loans are credit based loans in the student's name and may require a cosigner.

Still have questions?

Please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions on our website. If you do not find what you are looking for, please contact our Enrollment Resources Team at 214-768-3417 or via email at