What is the deadline for applying?
Usually, it takes four to six weeks for the FAFSA to be processed by the federal processor. Therefore, we recommend very strongly that you file your aid application no later than April 1. You may file on-line at www.fafsa.ed.gov to reduce the processing time to 3-4 weeks.
What happens after you apply?
After you submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the Federal Student Aid will send you a Student Aid Report (SAR). A Student Aid Report (SAR) is a document you will receive after your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is processed. Your SAR will list all of the answers you provided on the FAFSA. You should review these answers carefully to make sure they are correct. If you need to make any changes, you can do so on the SAR and mail it back to the address provided, or you can go to http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/ and under “FAFSA Follow-Up 3” select Make Corrections to a Processed FAFSA from the FAFSA Follow-Up section.
The SAR will also contain your EFC (Expected Family Contribution). Your EFC is an index calculated by the Federal Student Aid from the information you report on the FAFSA and according to a formula established by law. The EFC measures your family’s financial strength and it is used to determine your eligibility for federal student aid during one school year and amount of federal student aid you are eligible to receive. Your family’s income (taxable and untaxed) and assets are considered in determining your EFC. Your family size and the number of family members who will be attending a college or career school are also considered. Your EFC is not the amount that your family will have to pay for college, nor is it the amount of federal student aid that you will receive.
If an asterisk (*) appears next to your EFC, it means the application has been selected for verification. Verification is a process in which the ECC Office of Financial must verify certain data reported on your FAFSA. The verification process requires you to submit additional documentation to the ECC Office of Financial Aid, to support what is reported on your FAFSA. Applicants selected for verification cannot be issued a financial aid award until all the requested documents/forms are submitted to the ECC Office of Financial Aid and your file has been reviewed and verified.
- If you do not provide electronic signatures or signature pages with the FAFSA, you must sign the SAR and mail it back to the Federal Student Aid at address provided.
- If you listed a valid e-mail address on your FAFSA, the Federal Student Aid will send you an e-mail, usually within 3 to 5 days, with instructions on how to access an online copy of your SAR.
- If you did not list a valid e-mail address on your FAFSA, your SAR will be mailed to you via regular mail within 7 to 10 days.
- If you listed ECC’s Federal School code (007107) on your FAFSA, we will also receive your FAFSA information electronically in approximately 3-5 business days.
Your Student Aid Report will either request additional information from you or will provide your EFC. If your SAR requests additional information:
- Complete or correct the requested information by selecting Make Corrections to a Processed FAFSA on the home page or by writing them on your SAR.
- Submit your completed or corrected responses online or via your SAR by mail.
How will I know that I have been awarded?
You must login to myecc.essex.edu to view your current financial aid status. Our office will regularly communicate with you by e-mail through the e-mail addresses you have provided on your FAFSA application, your ECC Admissions application, and your ECC Student e-mail address (once you are assigned a student e-mail address). Please check your e-mail addresses regularly and login to myecc.essex.edu to stay informed about your financial aid status. If we e-mail you requesting additional information, please submit the information to our office immediately to avoid delays in processing your financial aid. Remember to include your name and your ECC Student ID number on any documents submitted.
What happens if I change my enrollment status?
Your enrollment is checked before aid is disbursed. If you have withdrawn from any classes, your aid eligibility may be affected and disbursement will not occur until your eligibility is recalculated. If you have withdrawn from all classes or have dropped to less than six credits, you may not be eligible for aid and your scheduled disbursement will be cancelled.
How is eligibility for financial aid determined?
There are other criteria that may determine eligibility for financial aid, for example the Ability To Benefit Test (ATB) and academic standing. The major criteria for providing funds through Essex County College’s Financial Aid Office is financial “need” as shown on the financial aid form (FAFSA). Your need is determined by subtracting the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) from the Cost of Attendance (COA).
The Cost of Attendance (COA) is the total cost of the student’s education at ECC for each academic year including tuition, fees, books and supplies, personal and transportation costs. Expected Family Contribution is an estimate by the state and federal governments of the ability of the student and the student’s family to contribute toward educational cost. It is determined by evaluating the information you provide on the financial aid form, using a standardized, federally mandated formula of need analysis.
If you can answer Yes to any of the following questions, you are considered an independent student on the FAFSA:
- Were you born before January 1, 1988?
- As of today, are you married?
- At the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year, will you be working on a master’s or doctorate program (such as an MA, MBA, MD, JD, PhD, EdD, or graduate certificate, etc.)?
- Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training?
- Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces?
- Do you have children who will receive more than half of their support from you between July 1, 2011, and June 30, 2012?
- Do you have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and who receive more than half of their support from you, now and through June 30, 2012?
- At any time since you turned age 13, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care or were you a dependent or ward of the court?
- Are you, or were you an emancipated minor as determined by a court in your state of legal residence?
- Are you, or were you in legal guardianship as determined by a court in your state of legal residence?
- At any time on or after July 1, 2010, did your high school or school district homeless liaison determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless?
- At any time on or after July 1, 2010, did the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless?
- At any time on or after July 1, 2010, did the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?
If you are considered an independent student, your parent’s information is not required on the FAFSA. Students who do not fall into the above categories but who feel they have sufficient evidence to prove independence should visit the ECC Office of Financial Aid in Room 3220, at the Newark Campus or call us at (973) 877-3200. Each application will be reviewed on a case by case basis to determine an applicant’s eligibility status.