How to Apply for Financial Aid

2020-2021 Financial Aid Process


Stop by the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office, and a financial aid professional will assist you. No appointment required. Please stop by at least one hour before the office closes to ensure you have enough time to complete your FAFSA®.

Applying for a Federal or State Grant

  1. Create a FSA I.D at studentaid.gov.
  2. Complete the FAFSA® by visiting studentaid.gov.
  3. You will receive a letter indicating what forms and/or documents you are required to complete and return to the Financial Aid & Scholarships office before you will be awarded any financial aid.

Follow these steps to determine if you've been awarded:

  1. Log on to accessECC Portal.
  2. Click on the Student tab.
  3. Click the Financial Aid tab in the self-service menu.
  4. Click the Financial Aid Award Letter.
  5. Enter the financial aid award year, academic year (e.g., 2020-2021), and click submit.
  6. If you have been awarded for the year, an award letter will display. If you have not been awarded, a message will display in red.

Please note: If you are not eligible for grants, you will receive a letter notifying you and how you can apply for a scholarship, student employment, and student loans.

Applying for a Federal Direct Stafford Student Loan

New Borrowers to ECC

Complete the following steps:

  1. Make an appointment with a financial aid advisor.
  2. Log on to studentaid.gov and complete the following:
    • Complete Entrance Counseling and
    • Complete a New Master Promissory Note
  3. Complete and bring the Loan Budget Worksheet* to your appointment.

Returning Borrowers to ECC

Complete the following steps:

  1. Make an appointment with a financial aid advisor.
  2. Complete and bring the Loan Budget Worksheet* to your appointment.

You will be given a Loan Budget Worksheet at the time you schedule your appointment.

Financial Aid Eligibility Requirements

You must meet the following criteria for financial aid eligibility:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen. Students who can't apply for FAFSA® may be eligible to apply for an Illinois specific grant. Learn more about the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid.
  • Have a high school diploma, high school equivalency certificate, meet the ability to benefit (ATB) requirements, or completed homeschooling at the secondary level.
  • Be enrolled in an eligible degree or certificate program at ECC.
  • Have a valid Social Security number.
  • Register with Selective Service, if required.
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress for financial aid.
  • Not be in default on a federal loan or owe an overpayment of a federal grant.

Financial Aid Enrollment Status

Some types of financial aid are related to maintaining specific levels of enrollment. The U.S. Department of Education sets federal definitions of enrollment statuses, which supersede school-imposed definitions related to an academic term. Federal aid follows these federal enrollment guidelines in all terms, including summer:

  • Full-time = 12 credit hours or more
  • Three-quarter-time = 9 to 11.5 credit hours
  • Half-time = 6 to 8.5 credit hours
  • Less than half-time = 1 to 5.5 credit hours

FAFSA Priority Filing Dates


Filing your FAFSA® and all ECC paperwork by these priority dates assures the start of the term will complete your financial aid package. You may still file after these dates, but your aid may not be in place before payment is due for the term.

Priority Dates

  • Summer term - April 1
  • Fall term - July 1
  • Spring term - November 1

Applying for Student Employment


Visit elgin.edu/studentjobs to view and apply for a student job. Stop by the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office in Building B, Room B156, for questions regarding student employment.

FAQ