How To Apply For Financial Aid

On The Web

Office of Finanacial Aid Home Page

Step 1 Obtain an FSA ID before Completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The FSA ID a username and password has replaced the Federal Student Aid PIN and must be used to log in to certain U.S. Department of Education websites. Your FSA ID confirms your identity when you access your financial aid information and electronically sign Federal Student Aid documents. If you do not already have an FSA ID, you can create one when logging in to If a parent is providing information on the FAFSA, your parent should also create an FSA ID so he/she can electronically sign your FAFSA. When logging in to the website, click the link to create an FSA ID. Create a username and password, and enter your e-mail address. Enter your name, date of birth, Social Security number, contact information, and challenge questions and answers. If you have a Federal Student Aid PIN, you will be able to enter it and link it to your FSA ID. You can still create an FSA ID if you have forgotten or do not have a PIN. Review your information, and read and accept the terms and conditions. Confirm your e-mail address using the secure code, which will be sent to the e-mail address you entered when you created your FSA ID. Once you verify your e-mail address, you can use it instead of your username to log in to the websites.

You can use your FSA ID to sign a FAFSA right away. Once the Social Security Administration verifies your information in one to three days, or if you have linked your PIN to your FSA ID, you will be able to use your FSA ID to access, and For help, visit Important: Only the owner of the FSA ID should create and use the account. Never share your FSA ID.

Frequently Asked Questions about the New FSA ID

What is an FSA ID?
An FSA ID is a username and password that you must use to log in to certain U.S. Department of Education (ED) websites. Your FSA ID identifies you as someone who has the right to access your own personal information on ED websites such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at

If you are a parent of a dependent student, you will need your own FSA ID if you want to sign your child's FAFSA electronically. If you have more than one child attending college, you can use the same FSA ID to sign all applications. Please note: Each FSA ID user must have a unique e-mail address.

Your FSA ID is used to sign legally binding documents electronically. It has the same legal status as a written signature. Don't give your FSA ID to anyone not even to someone helping you fill out the FAFSA. Sharing your FSA ID could put you at risk of identity theft!

What happened to the Federal Student Aid PIN?
The FSA ID replaces the Federal Student Aid PIN. If you already have a PIN, you can link your information to your new FSA ID by entering your PIN while registering for your FSA ID. (This will save you time when registering for your FSA ID.) However, a PIN is not required to create an FSA ID.

When should I get an FSA ID?
You, and your parent if you're a dependent student, can apply for an FSA ID at any time. If you don't have one by the time you fill out your FAFSA, you will be prompted to apply for one. However, if you think the Social Security Administration (SSA) might have the wrong name or date of birth for you in its records, go to now to find out how to correct any errors. Your information must be correct with the SSA before your FAFSA or FSA ID can be processed.

Can I create an FSA ID for my child, parent or spouse?
No. Only the owner of an FSA ID should create the account. The FSA ID serves as a legal signature and should not be shared with anyone.

Can I use my new FSA ID right away?
If you already have a Federal Student Aid PIN, you can link your PIN to your FSA ID. This allows you to immediately use your FSA ID to access your personal information on any of the ED websites that require an FSA ID. If you are creating an FSA ID for the first time, or if you don't link your FSA ID to your PIN, your FSA ID is considered conditional until your information is verified with SSA. You may use your conditional FSA ID to sign an original FAFSA, but nothing else. Once your information is verified with SSA (one-three days from the date you apply) you will be able to use your FSA ID to fully access your financial aid information.

After I get an FSA ID, will I still be required to use my Federal Student Aid PIN?
No. Your FSA ID will replace your PIN as the way to confirm your identity when accessing your financial aid information through certain ED websites. When logging in to these websites, you will be required to enter only your FSA ID username and password.

I previously created a password when I started my FAFSA. Is that the same as the FSA ID password?
No. Prior to the implementation of the FSA ID, you may have created a password when starting a FAFSA. This FAFSA password was used to save a partially completed FAFSA or FAFSA correction and return to it later. It was also used to share a FAFSA between a parent and child who were not together geographically. If you created a password for a FAFSA or FAFSA correction, you should enter that password when you are asked for your Save Key. Your FAFSA ID password is not the same as the former FAFSA password or the Save Key.

Does my FSA ID expire?
Your username does not expire, but your FSA ID password will expire every 18 months.

What if I forget my FSA ID username or password?
If you have forgotten your username or password, don't worry. On our log-in pages, you will find links that give you the option of retrieving your username or password through your verified e-mail address or successfully answering your challenge questions. If you have forgotten your username but verified your e-mail address when creating your FSA ID, you can use your e-mail address in place of your username whenever you are logging in with your FSA ID.

What if my FSA ID was lost or stolen?
If your FSA ID is lost or stolen, you must update your username and password by selecting "Edit my FSA ID" from the log-in page. Contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) if you are concerned that your FSA ID has been misused.

Step 2 Completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

There is no fee to complete the FAFSA online. To complete the FAFSA, go to and select Start a New FAFSA in the second column. Follow the on-screen instructions. If you only partially complete the FAFSA, it is possible to save your information to be completed at a later time. Once you have completed the FAFSA, review your answers carefully, and correct them if necessary before you submit your application. Remember to add Schenectady County Community College code 006785.

Use one of two options to sign your FAFSA. You can sign electronically with your FSA ID and your parent (if dependent) can also sign electronically with his/her FSA ID. If you do not have one or both FSA IDs, you can print the signature page, sign it and mail it. If you choose to mail it, this will delay the processing of your application for a couple of weeks until the signature page is received and processed.

Submit your application by selecting the "Submit my FAFSA Now" button on the very last page of the form. Once you submit your application, you will be taken to a Confirmation Page that shows your confirmation number and estimated Expected Family Contribution (EFC). You should print a copy of the Confirmation Page for your records.

Step 3 After the FAFSA is Submitted

You will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) Information Acknowledgment in the mail about 2 weeks after submitting your on-line FAFSA. If you provided your e-mail address, you will receive an e-mail with a link to your SAR on the Web in 5 days or less. The colleges that you listed on the FAFSA will also receive your financial aid information at this time.

Step 4 New York State TAP Grant

A full time student who is a New York State resident may be eligible for the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) through the New York State Higher Education Services corporation (HESC). Students can now apply for both federal and state aid using a single on-line session. After submitting the FAFSA on the Web, a New York State resident is able to immediately link to the TAP on the Web form (from the FAFSA confirmation page) which is pre-filled with their FAFSA data. If the student does not complete the TAP on the Web at this time, he/she will be sent an email or postcard from HESC with instructions how to establish a HESC PIN and how to use the on-line TAP application. The SCCC TAP code is 2243.

The HESC website is and the phone number for student questions regarding their TAP grant eligibility is 1-888-697-4372.

Step 5 Notification to Student of Financial Aid Eligibility

When the Financial Aid Office receives the FAFSA data for a student (usually 3-4 business days after the FAFSA is filed), the student will be sent an email confirming receipt of the data.  The student will also be instructed to log in to the SCCC web site in order to view an estimate of his/her financial aid eligibility.   The student would log in using his/her SCCC ID number and a student selected PIN.  Once logged in, the student will have full access to all financial aid information including estimates of their eligibility for state and federal grants, student loans and other forms of financial aid.

Step 6 Extenuating Circumstances

The Financial Aid Office recognizes that some students and/or parents may have unusual or extenuating circumstances that may complicate the completion of their financial aid application. In the following cases, the student may need to talk to a financial aid advisor before submitting his/her FAFSA. For example:

1. The student is Dependent using financial aid criteria, but the student believes that he/she should be Independent due to special circumstances.

2. The FAFSA uses the prior year family income to determine financial aid eligibility. Some students and/or parents may experience unusual circumstances (i.e: significant decrease in family income, unemployment, death in family, separation/divorce, etc.) that would mean that income would not be a good indicator of the family’s financial status. It may be possible for the Financial Aid Office to make adjustments to the family income. Students who have extenuating circumstances should contact the Financial Aid Office before submitting the FAFSA.

Step 7 Admissions Office

Financial Aid regulations require that first time students must be accepted for admission into a degree or certificate program. Any questions about the Schenectady County Community College admissions criteria can be addressed to the Admissions Office at (518)-381-1366.

Step 8 Paper FAFSA as an alternative to the web application

The U.S. Dept. of Education strongly recommends that students and parents use the online Free Application for Federal Student Aid(FAFSA).  If it is not possible to complete the FAFSA on line, a paper application PDF file for FAFSA filing option is available at under "FAFSA filing options." You can complete the paper FAFSA on screen and print the completed application, or you can print the blank form and complete it manually.  The completed and signed application can be mailed to the Dept. of Education.  You should be aware that it will take 2-3 weeks for it to be processed as compared to 2-3 days if completed on the web.

Read All About It!

Interested in possibly applying to SCCC? See our Viewbook. Want to know more about academics and being a student? Try our Catalog. These publications and more are on our Publications Page.