Expert Advice: How to Apply for Need-Based Financial Aid

A Note of Introduction from AdmissionsDaniel: From time to time, I have asked colleagues, friends, students, and even my Mom to act as guest authors for the Hopkins Insider. These guest author requests have not been because I am lazy. Rather, since I am far from an expert in all fields, I have asked for assistance with the blog to provide you all with the best information possible.

Today, I turn to a friend and colleague in the Office of Student Financial Services to discuss the all important topic of how to apply for need-based financial aid to Johns Hopkins University. Associate Director Ellen Ostendorf has been with JHU for 12 years all in the office of financial aid. Prior to this position she was a financial aid advisor at a school in Indiana. She is a clear expert in the field and does profess that the best part about working in financial aid is interacting with the students and parents. Without further adieu, I present Ellen and her expert advice.

So, your application for admission is in.  Have you and your family talked about paying for a Hopkins education if you are accepted??  Now is the time to talk and to do something about it!

The time to apply for need-based financial aid is now. Financial Aid.1

The deadline for regular decision applicants to apply for financial aid is March 1.  It’s easy to apply.  Don’t wait for the 2009 federal income tax returns to be completed, use your best estimates and meet the March 1 deadline!  Don’t wait until after you are accepted to the university.  Institutional funding may not be available.  Students who don’t receive institutional funding as an incoming student will not be funded in future years.

Here’s what you need to do if you are a U.S. Citizen, permanent resident, or other eligible non-citizen:

(1) CSS PROFILE– submit this document online at  Be sure to complete the entire PROFILE.  Don’t forget to add the JHU CSS CODE (5332).  JHU will receive the information electronically.

(2) Apply for a Federal PIN online at You and your parent(s) will need a Federal PIN to sign the FAFSA electronically.   You may use your PIN for the duration of your school experience and beyond. The PIN stays the same.

FAFSA(3) Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) – submit this document online at    Add the JHU school code (E00473 or 002077) and the data will be sent to JHU electronically.

(4) Submit signed copies of the 2009 Federal income tax returns (yours, if you file and your parents) to the College Board IDOC service.Other supporting documents may also be required (e.g.: CSS Business Farm Supplement if your parents own a business or farm, non-filing statement, if you will not be filing a federal income tax return, etc.).  After you complete the CSS PROFILE, you will receive an email from the College Board with information about submitting the documents to IDOC.   Submit the required documents in one packet with the IDOC Cover Sheet prior to March 1.

It’s that easy.

So, you have some questions because your family circumstances are a bit different or you just want to know more about the process.  We’ve compiled answers to some of our frequently asked questions.  The questions and answers are on our website at  So click and read on.

International students can find out about the financial aid application process online at

Still have questions, send us an email ( and we’ll be happy to answer your questions. 

Hopefully, this information is helpful to you.  Remember that you can always visit our website, for all the information you need regarding financial aid at Johns Hopkins University.