Basic Requirements

Everything starts with the FAFSA®.

Student financial assistance for enrollment at Essex County primarily comes from the US Department of Education and the State of New Jersey via the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority. Both require the filing of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known by its acronym, FAFSA®, as a basic first step.

How to file the FAFSA®

Federal Student Aid

Go to to file the FAFSA®, or, if you have a smartphone, you can download the myStudentAid app, to file the FAFSA®.

To file the FAFSA®, an applicant must have a FSA ID. For information on how to obtain a FSA ID, see these resources:

How to fill out the FAFSA®
State of New Jersey Student Financial Assistance

If you are also applying for State of New Jersey student financial assistance, review the various student financial assistance programs administered by the NJ Higher Education Student Assistance Authority: See the tabs at the top of the page for Students and the tab for Parents.

You should set up a NJ FAMS account. Doing so will allow you to do the following:

  • Answer the specific state questions required by HESAA.
  • Review the status of HESAA processing of NJ-based student financial assistance, including any documentation they may need from you.

Login or create your account here:

If you are not a United States citizen or eligible noncitizen and meet all of the following criteria;

  • Attended a New Jersey high school for at least three (3) years
  • Graduated from a New Jersey high school or received the equivalent of a high school diploma in New Jersey
  • Registered for Selective Service (male students only)
  • Are able to file an affidavit stating that you will file an application to legalize your immigration status or will file an application as soon you are eligible to do so

You can apply for student financial assistance from the State of New Jersey by filing the NJ Alternative Financial Aid Application:

Cost Of Attendance

The Higher Education Act requires a student financial aid office to process student aid based on a “cost of attendance” budget. This is a budget that is constructed using general values for each required category, which includes: tuition and fees, room and board, transportation, and books and supplies, and an allowance for miscellaneous expenses. In short, “Cost of attendance is the total estimated price for one year of college before financial aid is applied: tuition and fees, housing, food, and other additional and personal expenses” (New America/uAspire, 2018, Decoding the Cost of College:

We construct cost of attendance budgets using actual data for tuition, and average data based on professional reports such as the College Board’s Living Expense Budgets.

ComponentsIn-County (Living w/ Parents)In-County (Living off Campus)Out of-County (Living w/ Parents)Out of-County (Living off Campus)
Tuition & Fees
Room & Board
Books & Supplies


Federal Deadlines

  • 2021–22 Academic Year: FAFSA® forms must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Central time (CT) on June 30, 2022. Any corrections or updates must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. CT on Sept. 10, 2022.
  • 2020–21 Academic Year: FAFSA forms had to be submitted by 11:59 p.m. CT on June 30, 2021. Any corrections or updates must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. CT on Sept. 11, 2021.

State Deadlines for Academic Year 2021-2022

Fall and Spring Terms

  • All renewal students: April 15, 2021
  • Non-renewal students: September 15, 2021
  • All EOF students (EOF award only): September 15, 2021

Spring Term Only

  • Renewal students: April 15, 2021
  • Non-renewal students: February 15, 2022
  • All EOF students (EOF award only): February 15, 2022

Incomplete Applications/Corrections/ Task Completion/Dependency overrides updates/Add a college

  • Fall Term-All students: November 1, 2021
  • Spring Term-All students: March 1, 2022
  •  Projected Year Changes for the Fall and Spring Terms: March 1, 2022

Essex County College Specific Deadlines

Federal Work-Study Dates:

  • April through August 19: Federal Work-Study applications for 2021-2022 available

Book Voucher Dates:

  • Summer II 2021: July 6, 2021 – July 26, 2021
  • Fall 2021: August 23, 2021 – October 15, 2021
  • Spring 2022: December 30, 2021 – February 18, 2022
  • Summer I 2022: May 1, 2022– May 25, 2022