How to Apply for Financial Aid

Complete Your Financial Aid Application in Five Easy Steps

  1. Create an FSA ID at
  2. Complete the FAFSA at
    Note: Paper FAFSAs are no longer available.
  3. Download and complete an ECC Institutional Aid Application.
  4. The Financial Aid and Scholarships Office may request additional information from you. Please submit the required documents as soon as possible.
  5. Check your access ECC account to verify whether you have been awarded Financial Aid. Award letters will no longer be mailed. If you are not eligible for any grants, and want information on student loans, stop by the Financial Aid & Scholarships office. If you do not qualify for any grants and you are not interested in a student loan, you must set up a payment plan or pay in full to guarantee that your classes will not be dropped. For more information on payment plans, contact the Student Accounts Office by emailing

Eligibility Requirements

  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen. Lawful permanent residents, transgender students, and others who can’t apply for FAFSA® may apply for an Illinois-specific aid program through MAP.
  • 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 financial aid satisfactory academic progress.
  • Not be in default on a federal loan or owe an overpayment of a federal grant.

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

2019-2020 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 an FSA I.D.
  2. Complete the FAFSA online.
  3. Download and complete the ECC Institutional Aid Application
  4. 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.
  5. Review your award letter online.

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.

Note: If you are not eligible for any grants, you will receive a letter notifying you and explaining your FAFSA ineligibility and how you can apply for a scholarship, student employment, and student loans.

Applying for a Federal Stafford Student Loan

New borrowers to ECC

Complete the following steps:

  1. Make an appointment with a financial aid advisor.
  2. Log on to and complete 'Entrance Counseling' and complete 'New MPN for Student Loans'.
  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.

Applying for Student Employment

All students interested in student employment programs should stop by the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office or email