How to Apply for Financial Aid
Read the following information very carefully, so you can get through the process of applying for aid successfully ...
The Financial Aid Office at Housatonic Community College has provided you with the information that follows, to complete the financial aid application process (FAFSA) successfully. It is important to read through the steps carefully! If you have any questions, please visit the Financial Aid Office or contact us at 203-332-5047. For more details on financial aid programs, regulations, and procedures, use the menu on the left.
Apply On Time
It is your responsibility as the student to complete your financial aid application (FAFSA) in a timely manner. HCC accepts financial aid applications throughout the year. However, in order to receive priority consideration it is very important that you complete your application by the following dates:
MAY 1 is the priority application deadline for the full Fall/Spring academic year
NOVEMBER 1 is the priority application deadline for the Spring semester only
Remember, you must complete a new FAFSA each academic year!
Step 1: Getting Ready To Apply
You will need to gather some information before you complete your FAFSA.
First, you will need to get an email address if you don’t already have one. The Department of Education will use email to keep you informed about your application. If you don’t have an email account you can get one for free at www.gmail.com or www.yahoo.com, as well as through other providers.
Next, you will need to gather your household’s financial and identification information. You will need:
- Your Social Security Number (or your permanent resident card, alien registration card, or other documentation if you are not a U.S. citizen)
- Your driver’s license (if any)
- Your W-2 forms and other records of money earned
- Your (and your spouse’s if you are married) Federal Income Tax 1040 filing information
- Your parents’ Federal Income Tax 1040 filing information (if you are a dependent student)
- Your parents’ Social Security Number and Date of Birth
- Your current savings and investment information (if any)
- Your current business and/or investment mortgage information (if any)
Step 2: Completing the FAFSA
You will complete the FAFSA online each year by going to fafsa.gov. You will need to list HCC’s school code, 004513 when you apply.
If you don’t already have an FSA ID, you can create one when logging into fafsa.gov. An FSA ID is a username and password you will use to sign the FAFSA electronically each year. Your parent will also need his or her own FSA ID to sign the FAFSA. It is important that only the owner of the FSA ID should create and use the FSA ID account, and that you never share your FSA ID. Be sure to save your FSA ID for future use. If you ever forget your FSA ID, you can go to fafsa.gov to create a new one.
Once you begin completing the FAFSA, take your time and make sure to answer all questions accurately. Read carefully to minimize errors, which can significantly delay your application and could cause you to lose out on financial aid.
For faster processing, you are expected to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool when completing the FAFSA. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool matches all of your tax information from the IRS directly to your FAFSA in just a few easy steps. Just follow the IRS Data Retrieval Tool instructions when prompted during the FAFSA process.
Be sure to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on your FAFSA because it allows you to complete your FAFSA more quickly, and because it helps to make your financial aid award available earlier. In some cases, you may not be eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. If you are not able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool you must enter your tax information manually.
Before you apply, make sure to read through these errors students commonly make when completing the FAFSA:
- Leaving blank fields: You should enter a ‘0’ or ‘not applicable’ instead of leaving a blank.
- Listing an incorrect Social Security Number or drivers license number: Double check these entries. If your parents do not have Social Security Numbers, enter 000-00-0000.
- Failing to use your legal name: Your name must be listed on your FAFSA as it appears on your Social Security Card.
- Entering the wrong federal income tax paid amount: You can obtain your federal income tax paid amount from your income tax return forms, not your W-2 forms. Remember, the amount you enter as your income tax paid on the FAFSA should be much lower than the amount you enter as your income on the FAFSA.
- Listing marital status incorrectly: Be sure to enter your correct marital status as of the day you sign the FAFSA.
- Listing parent marital status incorrectly: Be sure to enter your parent’s marital status correctly. If your parent has remarried, you’ll need his or her information too.
- Failure to report unborn children: If you have a child that will be born before or during the award year for which you are applying, and that child will receive more than half of its support from you, you must count that child as a member of the household.
- Failing to register with Selective Service: If you are a male, aged 18 to 26, you must register with Selective Service (you can do this as part of the FAFSA).
- Forgetting to list the college: If you don’t list the college’s school code on your FAFSA, the school will never get your application.
- Forgetting to sign the FAFSA: Make sure that you use your FSA ID to sign the FAFSA. Make sure that your parent also uses his or her FSA ID to sign the FAFSA.
Step 3: Getting Your FAFSA Results
Once your FAFSA is complete, the Department of Education may provide you with an estimated financial aid award. Remember, this is not your official HCC award.
Typically it will take two to three weeks for HCC to receive and process your FAFSA. In the meantime, make sure that you have completed the admissions process for HCC. The Financial Aid Office will not be able to process your application until admissions has accepted you into a degree or eligible certificate program.
You will be able to track the status of your financial aid application and award information by going to my.commnet.edu. To log in, you will need the NetID and password that you received during the admissions process. If you do not remember your NetID or password, contact the Registrar’s Office at HCC to get the information.
Additionally, the Financial Aid Office will email you to notify you of your financial aid award and to notify you of any additional requirements that you must meet before an award can be provided. Be sure to check your status via email or on the my.commnet.edu site frequently to stay current with your financial aid information.
Please note that you do not have financial aid until you have received an official award notice!