Why should I complete the FAFSA?
The FAFSA is the only application that CCS uses to determine student eligibility for most need-based forms of financial aid from the federal, state and institutional aid such as grants, loans and work study. You also need to file a FAFSA to borrow federal loans like the federal Direct Unsubsidized loan and the Parent PLUS loan.
The only exceptions that require separate application are some state programs (as noted in Types of Financial Aid), supplemental loan programs (Parent PLUS & Alternative loans) and scholarships from private companies and organizations.
You don't need to complete the FAFSA to receive a scholarship from CCS, but filing the FAFSA may qualify you for additional need-based aid from the school.
You aren’t required to complete the application if you don’t want to be reviewed for financial aid eligibility, but it is recommended you do at least for the first year.
Are the eligibility requirements for receiving need-based financial aid?
To receive need-based financial aid funds through CCS and the federal and state governments, students must:
- Demonstrate financial need
- Be accepted for enrollment in a degree program
- Enroll in a minimum of six credit hours (for most programs)
- Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
- Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
- Be registered with Selective Service (or be exempt)
- Have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent
- Not owe a refund on previous Title IV funds received or be in default on any federal student loan
Students enrolled in credit classes through the CCS Continuing and Precollege Studies program are not eligible for financial aid.
When should I complete the FAFSA? Do I need to complete my tax returns first?
The FAFSA can be completed as early as October 1st - almost a full year before the start of the academic year.
The recommended filing date is March 1st, to ensure you are eligible for any aid available on a first-come first-served basis.
As of the 2017-2018 academic year the federal government began requesting “prior-prior” year income and tax data. For 2017-2018, 2015 data is requested. For 2018-2019, 2016 data will be requested. This ensures that almost everyone should have the income data for the requested year readily available.
What is the first step?
Start by creating an FSA User ID at www.fsaid.ed.gov. The FSA ID will be used to log in and sign your FAFSA each year.
If you are considered a dependent for financial aid purposes, both you and your parent will need an FSA ID. It is essential that each person creates their own ID themselves to ensure they know the username, password, email address and challenge questions. Without this information it can be difficult gaining access to your account and can delay filling out necessary paper work.
Each person creating an FSA ID will need their own email address.
The FSA ID serves as a legal signature and should not be shared with anyone, including family, school personnel, loan servicers or contact center agents.
Once the ID and password are created, it takes approximately 1-3 days before your identity is verified with the Social Security Administration and the ID is functional.
How do I complete the application? What’s on it?
Visit www.fafsa.gov for a FAFSA on the Web worksheet, which will help you prepare to complete the application, and to complete the FAFSA itself.
CCS’s school code is 006771.
Using the “Live Help” button on each page if you need assistance while completing the application, or contact the Federal Processor at 800.433.3243.
Review your application very carefully for accuracy before submitting it to the Department of Education.
Your FAFSA is not complete until it has been signed by BOTH the student and parent (if applicable). The FAFSA is signed with the FSA User ID and password discussed above, or by printing, signing and mailing a signature page.
If you listed CCS as one of your schools of choice we will receive your FAFSA information approximately 7-10 days after submission.
Once your FAFSA is received and you have been admitted to CCS your application will be reviewed to determine if we can go ahead and calculation your financial aid eligibility, or if additional documentation is required (see Verification).
New for 2017-2018!
Filling out your FAFSA will be even easier this year. For the 2017-2018 FAFSA, you will use your 2015 tax return information, which most students and families have already filed. This will let you file your 2017-2018 FAFSA earlier-starting October 1, 2016.
The government calls this change “prior-prior-year.” Instead of using the most recently completed calendar year, you will now report income and tax information for the year previous to that. So for…
2017-2018 Use your 2015 tax return information
2018-2019 Use your 2016 tax return information
..and so on.
Some important tips for both students and parents:
- While filling out your FAFSA, choose to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool when prompted. It significantly decreases the possibility of errors and will reduce the amount of follow up documentation we will need to request if you are selected for verification.
- For students and parents who were not required to file a federal tax return under the federal tax filing guidelines for the applicable year the system is not changing – you can still report “Will Not File” on your FAFSA.
- Note that while you will provide the 2015 data for tax and income information, some items should be based on current or academic year information. That includes the number of people in your household, the numbers of college student in the household, the value of cash, checking, and savings accounts, as well as the value of assets, investments and businesses.
- For 2017/2018 the State of Michigan is keeping the March 1 (2017) priority deadline for their funding, so that is still considered your goal to complete the application. We will keep you informed of any updates we receive for future years.
- For 2017/2018 the target date for returning student awarding is not changing significantly, as we normally wait for final grades to come in before starting the awarding process. Award notifications are scheduled to start going out in mid-May, as opposed to early June.
You can now file your 2017-2018 FAFSA as early as October 1, 2016. Early filing of the FAFSA will allow more time to follow up if additional documentation is needed for verification or to clarify an individual item on your application.
FSA User ID and Password: www.fsaid.ed.gov