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Residency | FAFSA | Applications

For Parents

As parents, we know you want your students to have all the resources they need to be prepared for college. During this time we encourage and support high school seniors in completing three important college enrollment steps: Residency, FAFSA, and Applications.

Remember, your student will need some of your personal information when preparing for college. Reviewing the sections below will help you know what information is needed.


In order to qualify for in-state tuition, state grants, and certain financial aid, students must show they are a resident of North Carolina. Proving residency is vital in helping to cut down on tuition costs and for financial aid eligibility.

In North Carolina, residency is based on where parents live and their residency information, so you will need to assist your student with this important step. Understanding the basics will help you understand what information you will need to provide to determine residency.

Getting this done early ensures timely processing of your child’s residency. Remember, RDS and CFNC share the same account login information.


FAFSA Form and FSA ID Tips for Parents

One of the smartest ways to make college more affordable is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA gives your student access to the largest sources of financial aid to pay for college, enabling your student to apply for federal student aid, such as federal grants, work-study programs on campus, and loans.

A dependent student will need to have one of his or her legal parents sign the student’s FAFSA form, so one parent needs an FSA ID as well. An FSA ID can be created before NC Countdown to College, so go ahead and get a head start by visiting the FSA ID site. As a parent, if you do not have a Social Security Number, you will not be able to get an FSA ID. In that case, you will need to print, sign, and mail in a paper signature page.

For faster FAFSA completion, use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to import your tax return information.


Before your student starts applying to any colleges, you should help them research and decide which admissions stream is right for them - Early Action, Early Decision, or Regular Admission.

Use CFNC's College Search to help them research colleges. There you can learn about a college’s average incoming GPA and test scores from last year so you can feel confident about when you want your student to apply.

List of Participating Colleges