After the FAFSA® has been filed

Once the FAFSA® has been filed, your application will be evaluated for eligibility for Federal Student Aid by our office, and by HESAA for any State of NJ student financial assistance for which you have applied. In the course of the application review process, you may be asked for additional information to support your application for assistance, either from our office or from HESAA. You should immediately respond to any requests for additional documentation. In some cases, we may require you to provide documentation in person to our Newark office. Documents requested by HESAA should be provided to HESAA.

Packaging Financial Aid Awards

The cost of attending Essex remains highly affordable. Yet it is understandable that many students need financial assistance while working toward their degree. The Office of Financial Aid administers several different types of funds for students that include grants, scholarships, loans and work-study. Financial aid in the form of grants or scholarships does not have to be repaid. Work-study must be earned by the student through employment on campus. At Essex, financial aid is awarded to students based on financial need and/or merit. A student may have a combination of grants, scholarships, loans and work-study in their financial aid package. We encourage students to apply for financial aid. Funds are allotted from federal and State sources for this purpose. Information we receive on your application for financial aid is treated with utmost confidentiality.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is an estimate of your family’s financial strength and ability to contribute to your education. The EFC is measured by applying the official federal needs analysis formula to the data you submit on your FAFSA®.

Financial Need

Financial need refers to the Cost of Attendance (COA) minus the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Financial Need is the COA – EFC.  Financial aid at Essex is awarded based on financial need. If you are eligible for financial assistance based on your financial need, you may receive a combination of gift aid (grants or scholarships) and self-help aid (loans, which must be repaid or part-time employment on campus). Any combination of awards is referred to as your “Financial Aid Package.” Once your Financial Aid Package has been awarded, you can review it at any time on the MYECC Portal at  Eligibility for federal and state grants is based on the information on your FAFSA® and the general eligibility requirements of each program. Your financial aid package may also include work-study and private loans.

Revisions to Student Aid for Which You Are Eligible

Your award may require revisions due to additional information, changes in enrollment, failure to maintain academic progress, withdrawal from classes or outside aid received. Any revised award overrides all previous offers of aid, which means that you may have to repay funds already received.

Special Circumstances

Although the formula to determine financial aid eligibility is standard for all applicants, there is some flexibility in recalculating eligibility in light of special circumstances. These special circumstances may be as a result of your family experiencing an income reduction due to unemployment, disability, divorce, or death.  The Office of Financial Aid can have your financial aid eligibility recalculated using updated information.
Other special circumstances may include loss of non-taxable income (e.g., child support or social security benefits). In all cases, special circumstances must be fully documented with an IRS Tax Return Transcript, death certificates, court documentation, or letters (from appropriate agencies, individuals, or employers).
If there are other circumstances that affect the amount you and your family are expected to contribute toward your education, please contact the Office of Financial Aid immediately.   The reasons you report must be sound and you will have to provide adequate proof to support any monetary adjustments.

Verification Process

Verification is the process in which the Office of Financial Aid compares the information you reported on the FAFSA® with your prior-year tax return transcript, W-2 forms, and other financial documentation in accordance with based on federal and State regulations. If your application is selected for verification, you will receive an e-mail (through instructing you to submit certain forms and documents to complete verification.  The Office of Financial Aid must receive all requested documentation before federal and State aid can be disbursed. If there are differences between the data you provided on your FAFSA® and the verification documentation, corrections may be needed, and your application will be reprocessed.

If you are a New Jersey resident receiving state aid, the NJ Tuition Aid Grant (TAG) program may select your file for state verification. If you receive an “Applicant Information Request” (AIR) notice from the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA), you must forward all requested information and financial documents directly to HESAA in Trenton. In some cases, HESAA may request the same information that was requested by Office of Financial Aid. You must forward this same information and documentation to HESAA to avoid a delay in the disbursement of funds or loss of your State aid.

IRS Tax Documentation and Data Retrieval

The IRS Tax Transcript

The US Department of Education requires the Financial Aid Office to collect an IRS Tax Return Transcript for those selected for federal verification. You can obtain an IRS Tax Return Transcript online by following instructions on the IRS website:

IRS Data Retrieval

 To avoid having to request an IRS Tax Return Transcript, use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.  The FAFSA® offers you the option of importing your federal tax information directly from the IRS online while completing the FAFSA®.  Your data from IRS should be available within 1-2 weeks of electronically filing your taxes or within 6-8 weeks, if you filed a paper tax return.  Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to import your and your parents’ (if dependent) tax information into your FAFSA®.  It is a safe and convenient way to report your tax information on the FAFSA®.  If your file is selected for verification, Essex can use this information to confirm that you submitted accurate tax information in lieu of submitting an IRS Tax Return Transcript