The Financial Aid Process

To keep apprised of scholarships, deadlines, and other information, please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.

Apply for financial aid

Students wanting to apply for financial aid can complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE® ("Profile") as early as October 1, for the following school year.  So for example, students who wish to apply for financial aid for the 2021-2022 academic year, are able to submit their FAFSA and PROFILE applications as early as October 1, 2020.   

SMU encourages students and parents to utilize data retrieval service for importing tax information from the IRS to update the FAFSA application. If you need to correct your Profile, you must contact your SMU financial aid advisor for further instructions.

Keep all the records you use to file the FAFSA, tax documents, W-2's, child support payment records, etc. Copies may be requested as needed by the SMU Financial Aid Office.

The FAFSA will be used to determine federal and state aid eligibility, such as Pell Grant, Federal Direct Loans and Work Study. The CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE® will be used to determine eligibility for SMU need based aid.

In addition to filing the FAFSA and CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE®, an independent scholarship search can be done here. If you belong to an organization, it is also recommended to ask them if they offer scholarships.

Remember: File a new FAFSA and CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE® each year prior to the priority deadline listed below.

  • First year students: February 15th
  • Returning and transfer students: April 15th

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 application online.

Set up your SMU email account

Open your SMU e-mail account as soon as you receive instructions. Important official Financial Aid notices will only go to your SMU email account.

Watch for your financial aid award notification

Beginning in April, the Financial Aid Department sends award letters to incoming freshmen notifying them of their financial aid awards.

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

Continuing and incoming transfer students will begin receiving award letters in June. To ensure timely processing of your financial aid package be sure to check the Student Homepage for missing documents.

View your financial aid in my.SMU

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

Enroll in classes via my.SMU

New students that have decided to attend SMU and paid their deposit will be allowed to enroll in AARO session beginning in May. AARO is SMU's Academic Advising, Registration, and Orientation and sessions are usually held in July and August. Contact Admission Counselor for more information.


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

If your FAFSA is selected for verification, the Financial Aid Department 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 through the "Tasks" panel located on the My.SMU Student Homepage.

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 Services Department at 214-768-3417 or via email at

Remember we are here to help you sort through the financial aid process.