How do you apply for Financial Aid?

The first step in applying for Financial Aid is to create your Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID and complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), please see our tutorials for detailed instructions.  The FAFSA is used to apply for federal aid programs such as Federal Direct Loans and Federal Pell Grants.  The State of Minnesota also uses your FAFSA to determine your eligibility for the Minnesota State Grant.  Other grants and scholarships may also require the completion of the FAFSA.

The FAFSA collects information about you and your family’s income and assets, your dependency status and other related information.

If you cannot find the answers to your FAFSA questions here, or on our tutorial page, please contact the Financial Aid Department.

Riverland's FAFSA School Code:  002335

Please review the Riverland Financial Aid process 

  1. Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at .                                                                           You will need the following for you and your parents (if you are a dependent student):
    • social security numbers,
    • 2021 Federal Income tax return for the 2023-2024 academic year
    • current bank and brokerage statements,
    •  FSA IDs. If you do not have an FSA ID, you will be able to create one as you start the FAFSA.  If you prefer, you can sign up for one by clicking here. If you are a dependent student, your parent will also need an FSA ID. The FSA ID allows you to sign the FAFSA electronically rather than submitting a paper signature page.
  2. Within the FAFSA, you may be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT), to securely transfer your tax data from the IRS.  The DRT ensures the information from your tax return is accurately transferred into your application from the IRS, be sure the name and address you enter in the DRT matches your tax return exactly. This option will not be available to you if you indicated that you filed an amended, Puerto Rican, or foreign tax return; if you filed in the last 3 weeks; or if your marital status is married and your tax filing status is "Married Filing Separately", "Single" or "Head of Household".
  3. You will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) when your FAFSA has been processed. If you entered an email address, you will receive an email notifying you when your FAFSA has been processed. If you did not enter an email address, you will receive a paper SAR in the mail within 4 weeks. When you receive the SAR, review the information to make sure that it is correct. If you find an error, log back into your FAFSA and submit corrections.
  4. Once your FAFSA application is processed, the information will be sent to all the colleges you listed on the FAFSA.
  5. If you have already applied to Riverland, you can log in to your e-Services account using your StarID and password to review the status of your financial aid application.  Click on “Financial Aid” on the left side, then “Aid Application Status”. Here you will be able to see if you are required to submit additional information to the Financial Aid office. You may be chosen for a process called "Verification". There are a number of students randomly selected for verification each academic year. This means Riverland is required to document the information submitted on your FAFSA was correct.  If you are chosen for verification, we will not be able to continue processing your financial aid until we receive all the information required.  If you are chosen for verification, you will be required to do one of the following:  use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) in your FAFSA, request a Tax Return Transcript from the IRS or submit a SIGNED copy of your tax return. If your status says “Ready for Payment”, you will be able to see your award letter.
  6. While in your e-Services account, click on “Financial Aid ” to see your financial aid package. Be sure to read the letter carefully because it contains important information regarding financial aid. The “Award Letter” will state your eligibility for Federal Pell Grants, SEOG grants (if eligible and funding is available), MN State grant, and Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans. If you have applied for other grants and/or scholarships, they may not appear initially on your award letter. Examples of these types of aid would be the Postsecondary Child Care grant, MN GI Bill, MN Indian Scholarship, Veterans funding, and Riverland Foundation Scholarships.  Grants are aid that does not need to be repaid. loans need to be repaid plus interest.
  7. The amount of aid you are able to use from the eligible amounts listed in your "Award Letter" may depend upon how many credits you are enrolled in, to receive full aid you will have to be enrolled full-time, which is 12 credits or more.  Once you are enrolled in classes the grant amounts you can receive will apply directly to your tuition and fees after the 10th day of the semester.  Federal Direct Loans have additional steps.

After enrolling:

As stated above, grants will automatically be applied to your tuition and fees after the 10th day of the semester.  Loans and Work Study funds require additional paperwork if you choose to accept these awards. 

Work Study funds are awarded on a first come, first served basis. If Riverland runs out of funds, we will start a waiting list. Please speak to an Academic Advisor if you are interested in being added to this list. If you are awarded Work Study, you can find the list of available positions on our website by clicking here. Once you have been hired for a position, there is additional paperwork that will need to be filled out with your supervisor.

If you choose to take out student loans, you will have another process to complete in order to receive those loans.  Log in to e-Services, go to Financial Aid from the left side menu, click “Loans” to start the process. There are four tabs: Loan Period, Pre-Requirements, Loan Application and Loan Status.

  • Loan Period- choose the correct academic year for which you are using the loan funds
  • Pre-Requirements- click on the link to, (under Complete Aid Process) to complete Entrance Counseling and a Master Promissory Note (MPN).  Your loans cannot be applied to your account without completing these.
  • Loan Application- choose the amount that you want to borrow and if you want that amount for either Fall or Spring or you can choose both semesters. Keep in mind; if you choose both semesters, the funds will be split between the two semesters. If you are taking out funds for one semester only, the disbursement will be split in two for that semester.
  • Loan Status- check to see if your loans are still being processed or if they are certified.

Once the loan process is complete, you will see the red lights on each tab have turned green. The loans will also say “Certified” rather than “Estimated” or “Accepted” under the “Awards” section of e-Services. Your loans will not be available to use for tuition, books, fees or other charges until all these steps are complete.

Upon enrolling for classes you will receive instructions on how to select a refund preference through BankMobile Disbursements. Riverland Community College delivers your refund with BankMobile Disbursements, a technology solution, powered by BMTX, Inc. Visit this link for more information:

All students can charge up to $800.00 in books at the Riverland Bookstore. If the cost of your books exceeds $800.00 you may be able to use your financial aid to charge your books to your student account. Compare your award package to the charges on your account, (under Bills and Payments in e-services). If the amount of your awards exceeds the amount of your charges, you will be able to charge your books against your financial aid. Charging books against your financial aid is only available for a limited time, so it is important to have your financial aid complete before the semester starts. You can find the dates that you are able to charge books here or on the bookstore's page .  Reminder: You cannot include your loans in your total award until you have completed the loan process. Also, work study is not calculated in the award amount when calculating eligibility for book charging.

After the 10th day of the semester, any credits that you are registered for are considered for your enrollment level for financial aid purposes. Financial aid awards will be posted to your account and then disbursed with BankMobile Disbursements on the 11th day of the semester.  Exception:  first time students receive first disbursements the 30th day of the semester.