Please note that it is important to follow the steps as they are presented below:
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Step 1 – Get a PIN
Apply for a Federal PIN at www.pin.ed.gov, if you don’t already have one . You will need this PIN to electronically sign your FAFSA. If you are dependent, your parents will also need to get a PIN at www.pin.ed.gov to electronically sign the FAFSA. This will insure the quickest, most accurate filing process.
In addition, your PIN will also allow you to:
- View the status and results of a processed FAFSA application on the FAFSA Web site
- Make corrections to your FAFSA on the Web
- Access your Federal Student Financial Assistance information on the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) Web site
- Make address corrections to a Direct Loan account, calculate a repayment schedule, and get interactive counseling on deferment or forbearance for any Direct Loans on the Direct Loan Servicing Web site
- Complete Loan Entrance & Exit Counseling
- Sign your Stafford Loan Master Promissory Note
- Request a duplicate copy of your Student Aid Report (SAR)
Step 2 – File the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
To be considered for any type of financial aid (grants, loans, or scholarships), all students must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The CGCC Financial Aid Office recommends that applicants file the FAFSA electronically using FAFSA on The Web (www.fafsa.ed.gov), as it has proven to be the fastest, most efficient, and most accurate application method.
Results are sent to you and C-GCC usually in a week from filing if your application is electronically signed with a PIN.
C-GCC’s Federal school code (Title IV) is: 006789
Applicants may also file using a paper FAFSA which are available at the C-GCC Financial Aid Office. Results are usually provided within four to six weeks.
Please note that you must apply once every school year (usually after you file your yearly income tax forms). You must also be accepted into a degree program by Admissions and be in good academic standing.
Step 3 – Applying for the New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP)
If you are not a New York State Resident, please skip to Step 4.
The New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) is a financial aid grant for students meeting residence, income, academic, or other requirements, as established by state law. As a result of completing the FAFSA, your information will be forwarded to the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC). Electronic FAFSA filers who meet New York State residency requirements and who have listed a New York State college will be given an electronic link on the FAFSA website in order to complete their NYS Express Tap Application (ETA).
Paper FAFSA filers will be sent their ETA by mail if the student is a first-time state award recipient or if HESC requires additional information to process their application.
Upon completion, you will be notified by HESC of your award. Although an estimate of your eligibility may be included on your C-GCC award letter, applicants should be aware that notification from HESC is your official TAP award*.
If you need to make any corrections, follow the directions on the Change Form provided by NYSHESC. It is recommended that you keep a copy of the Change Form. If you need a duplicate ETA or Change Form, you can request one online at NYHESC site.
*Applicants should also note that official notification from HESC regarding TAP awards will not be sent until the New York State budget or a provisional spending agreement is approved by both the Governor and NYS Legislature.
Step 4 – Submitting the Columbia-Greene Financial Aid Application and Additional Information Requests
Complete and submit the Columbia-Greene Community College Financial Aid Application.
Additional Information Requests:
After your FAFSA is processed, C-GCC will be sent the information electronically. For electronic filers, the data is usually received in 1 to 2 weeks. For those who completed a paper FAFSA, the data is usually received in about 4-8 weeks.
Once your FAFSA data is received, you may be required to submit additional information to the C-GCC Financial Aid Office.
Additional information is often required for one or more of the following reasons:
- Database Mismatch – Your FAFSA data is matched against various federal databases (Social Security, Selective Service, Dept. of Veteran Affairs, etc.) to make sure you meet the basic eligibility requirements for federal financial aid. If it cannot be determined that you meet the basic eligibility requirements, you may be asked to submit any of the following:
- Copy of your Social Security Card.
- Copy of your birth certificate.
- Proof of U.S. citizenship.
- Selective Service registration confirmation.
- Copy of your alien registration card.
- Proof of being a veteran of the armed forces.
- Verification – One third of all federal aid applicants are randomly selected for a process called “verification”. If you are selected for this process, you will be required to submit the following to the C-GCC Financial Aid Office:
- Verification Worksheet
- Copy of student’s Federal tax return
- Copy of parent’s Federal tax return (Dependent students only)
Please be aware that all errors, mismatches, and verification issues must be resolved before your financial aid can be finalized and applied to your account.
Step 5 – The Student Aid Report (SAR)
After your FAFSA is processed, you will be sent a Student Aid Report (SAR). Electronic filers who provided an e-mail address will be sent an e-mail providing an electronic link to their SAR. Electronic filers who did not provide an e-mail address and those who completed a paper FAFSA will be sent a paper SAR in the mail.
Once you receive your SAR, you should review it for accuracy. If you need to make corrections to your SAR, follow the directions on the SAR and return it to the federal processor. Be sure to make a copy of the SAR for your records. Once the corrections are processed, you will be sent a revised SAR.
Step 6 – Additional Applications & Requirements
After your FAFSA and TAP applications are processed, C-GCC will credit any grants that you are eligible for towards your tuition charges. However, not every student will qualify for a Pell and/or TAP grant, or be eligible for a grant large enough to meet their educational costs.
Students who need additional funds to meet their financial need may apply for:
- The Work-Study Program (Federal Work Study & Columbia-Greene Work Study), which provides jobs for matriculated undergraduate students, allowing them to earn money to help pay educational expenses. You can pick up a Student Employment Contract at the Financial Aid office.
- The Federal Stafford Student Loan Program, which allows students to borrow money from the federal government through a lender to help pay for their educational expenses. For more information, see the Types of Financial Aid section of this web site. Download the Federal Stafford Student Loan Worksheet here Forms page.
- The Federal Parent Loan Program (PLUS), which allows parents to borrow money from the federal government through a lender, to help pay for their child’s educational expenses. For more information, see the Types of Financial Aid section of this web site.
Step 7 – Application Checklist
- Apply for a Federal PIN at www.pin.ed.gov
- Complete Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
- Complete the NYS TAP Application.
- Review your Student Aid Report (SAR). Make any corrections that are necessary.
- Respond to any request for additional information from the C-GCC Financial Aid Office.
File separate applications with the Financial Aid office, if you are interested in the following:
- Federal Stafford Student Loan Worksheet
- Work-Study (FWS & CGWS)
Students applying for a Federal Stafford Student Loan will also need to do the following:
- Complete a Loan Entrance Counseling session prior to the certification of their loan. The entrance loan interview must be completed on line at studentloans.gov (link opens in new browser window).
- Complete, sign (online) or mail the promissory note for their student loan.
To review, choose from the steps below: