How to Apply for Financial Aid

Step 1: Apply for Aid

Applying for federal student aid is quicker and easier than ever. You can complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

2017-2018 FAFSA Starts October 1st!

FAFSA Tips and Common Mistakes to Avoid PDF icon

Follow these easy steps to simplify the process of applying for federal student aid.

  1. Gather Documents Needed to Apply:
    • Income tax returns (yours and most likely your parents), W-2 forms, and other records of income
    • Identification documents (social security cards, drivers licenses)
    • Get complete list of documents
  2. Submit a FAFSA
    • Submit a FAFSA Online
    • The FAFSA is used to apply for federal financial aid (grants, work-study, and loans)
    • Many colleges, universities, and career schools use your FAFSA information to award state and college aid
    • The process is free! (never pay to apply for federal financial aid)
    • You need an FSA ID and password to electronically sign your online FAFSA, make corrections to the application, and more
      • Dependent students' parents will need a FSA ID and password also
      • Create an FSA ID now! or as you complete the FAFSA - it's up to you
    • Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to electronically transfer your IRS tax return amounts needed to complete or correct your FAFSA. Watch this tutorial to see how.
    • NOTE: Complete the FAFSA each year, starting on October 1
    • Be sure you meet application deadlines for OTAG (Oklahoma Tuition Aid Grant)
    • Get Free Information and Help From
      • your school counselor
      • the financial aid office at the college, university, or career school you plan to attend
      • the U.S. Department of Education (online chat available) or 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243)
    • Additional Help Completing the FAFSA:

    Step 2: What's Next?

    1. After You Submit the FAFSA
      • We process your FAFSA
      • The results are sent electronically to the schools you listed on your application
      • We send you a Student Aid Report (SAR).
    2. The Student Aid Report (SAR)
      • Your SAR summarizes all the information you provided on your FAFSA
      • It must be correct before you can receive federal aid
      • Read the information below to find out how and when you will receive your SAR and what to do with it once you receive it
    3. How and When You Will Receive Your SAR
      • Generally, it takes less time to process and send the SAR when you submit the FAFSA online and provide a valid e-mail address
        • If we have your valid e-mail address, you'll get your SAR e-mail in 3-5 days
        • This e-mail contains a secure link to your SAR online
        • If you don't provide a valid e-mail address, it takes about seven to 10 days before you receive your SAR by postal mail
      • If you submit a paper FAFSA, you'll receive your SAR by e-mail within 2 weeks, or 3 weeks if you do not provide an e-mail address
      • NOTE: If you have an FSA ID and your FAFSA has been processed, you can login at to view SAR information regardless of whether you filed the online or paper FAFSA or provided an e-mail address or not
    4. What To Do with Your SAR
      • When you get your SAR, review it for accuracy. A complete, correct SAR will contain your:
    5. Make Corrections to Your SAR

    Step 3: Follow Up on Your FAFSA

    • Your application will be processed and you will receive an email message with a link to your Student Aid Report (SAR).
    • If you did not provide an email address, you will receive your SAR by mail.
    • You should review your SAR for any necessary corrections or updates.
    • If you do not hear from us within three weeks go to www.fafsa.ed.gov and select "Check the Status of a Submitted FAFSA."

    Step 4: Submit Additional Information to the ECU Office of Financial Aid

    Once the ECU Office of Financial Aid has received your SAR, we will send you a letter requesting any additional information that may be required to complete your financial aid file. You can also check for required documents on your MyECU account. Some items we may request include:

    1. IRS tax transcript, Statement of Non Filing letter, and W-2’s (Wage and Income Transcript).
      1. Get a copy of your Tax Return Transcript mail:
        • Visit www.irs.gov
        • Under Tools, click on "Get a Tax Transcript by Mail"  
        • Select "Get Transcript by MAIL"
        • Complete the request and select "Tax Return Transcript" as the type of transcript.

         b. Get a copy of your Statement of Non Filing letter

    • Visit www.irs.gov
    • Under Tools, click on "Get a Tax Transcript by Mail"
    • Select "Get a Transcript by MAIL"
    • Complete the request and select "Verification of Non-filing Letter" as the type of transcipt.

          c. Get copy of your W-2 (Wage and Income Transcript)

    • Visit www.irs.gov
    • Under Tools, click on "Get a Tax Transcript by Mail"
    • Select "Get a Transcript by MAIL"
    • Complete the request and select "Wage and Income Transcript" as the type of transcript.

     2.  Order a Tax Return Transcript via telephone:

    • call 1-800-908-9946.

     3.  2016-2017 Verification Form (V1, V4, V5, V6)

     4.  2017-2018 Verification Form (V1, V4, V5)

    Step 5: Financial Aid Awards

    After you have provided all the necessary information to the ECU Office of Financial Aid, your file will be given to a financial aid counselor.

    • Your financial aid award will be based on the credit hours in which you are enrolled and your eligibility, as determined by the U.S. Department of Education (based on the information you provided on the FAFSA.)
    • When your file is complete and your awards have been determined, you will be sent an email directing you to your MyECU account, Financial  Aid portal.
    • Your financial aid portal awards may list several types of aid. You may accept or decline only Direct Loans.  Any other awards are based on eligibility, receipt of award notifications or estimates of prior year scholarships.
    • You must indicate your decision to accept or reject the awards before the awards can be posted to your student account or further processing.
    • If you are a returning student you will be notified via email to go on the MyECU to view and accept your awards.

    Step 6: Be Aware of Deadlines

    Students must adhere to the following deadlines to apply for financial aid at ECU:

    1. October 1: Complete your FAFSA as soon after this date as possible to be considered for all financial aid programs.
    2. February 1: Priority date for submitting a scholarship application.
    3. July 1: Any additional documents requested by the Financial Aid office must be submitted to be eligible for September disbursement of funds.

    2016-2017 Processing Deadlines for Verification and Direct Loans

    January 1, 2016 The FAFSA is available for completion.
    March 1, 2016 Priority date for submitting a scholarship application for state grant.
    July 1, 2016 Any additional documents requested by the Financial Aid Office must be submitted to be eligible for the September disbursement of funds.
    December 3, 2016 Last day to turn in verification documents for fall 2016 only loans.
    April 29, 2017 Last day to turn in verification documents for fall 2016/spring 2017 loans or spring 2017 loans only.
    July 18, 2017 Last day to turn in verification documents for fall 2016/spring 2017/summer 2017 loans or summer 2017 only loans.

    2017-2018 Processing Deadlines for Verificataion and Direct Loans

    October 1, 2016 The FAFSA is available for completion.
    As soon as possible after October 1, 2016 Priority date for submitting a scholarship application for state grant.  Awards made until funds depleted.
    June 1, 2017 Any additional documents requested by the Financial Aid Office must be submitted to be eligible for the September disbursement of funds.
    December 1, 2017 Last day to turn in verification documents for fall 2017 only loans.
    May 4, 2018 Last day to turn in verification documents for fall 2017/spring 2018 loans or spring 2018 only loans.
    July 20, 2018 Last day to turn in verification documents for fall 2017/spring 2018/summer 2018 loans or summer 2018 only loans.

    2016-2017 Processing Deadlines for PELL

      Fall Only Award Year 
    Spring Only
    Award Year 
    Summer Only
    Last day to receive valid FAFSA (not rejected).
    Federal deadline last day enrolled.
    1 day prior fall finals
    12-04-2016
    1 day prior spring finals
    5-01-2017
    1 day prior summer finals
    7-27-2017

    Last day for students to submit verification data.
    Federal deadline earlier of 120 days after last day enrolled or 9-28-2017

    15 weeks after end of fall
    *3-27-2017
    15 weeks after end of spring
    *8-28-2017
    6 weeks after end of summer
    *9-11-2017

    Last day to receive verified ISIR.
    Federal deadline earlier of 120 days after last day enrolled or 9-28-2017

    4-11-2017 9-12-2017 9-26-2017

    2017-2018 Processing Deadlines for PELL

      Fall Only

    Award Year
    Spring Only

    Award Year
    Summer Only

     
    Last day to receive valid FAFSA (not rejected).
    Federal deadline last day enrolled.

     
    1 day prior fall finals
    12-03-2017

     
    1 day prior spring finals
    05-06-2018

     
    1 day prior summer finals
    07-29-2018

     
    Last day for students to submit verification data.
    Federal deadline earlier of 120 days after last day enrolled or 9-15-2018

     

    15 weeks after end of fall
    *3-19-2018

    15 weeks after end of spring
    *8-27-2018

     
    6 weeks after end of summer
    *9-12-2018

     
    Last day to receive verified ISIR.
    Federal deadline earlier of 120 days after last day enrolled or 9/15/2018

     
    4/07/2018 9-08-2018 9/15/2018

    ~ An official Student Aid Report (SAR) with an EFC must already be processed in order to submit late verification documents.

    Summer Financial Aid

    A separate award package is created for those who have remaining financial aid eligibility and who are attending the summer session once the Financial Aid Office has received your Application for Summer Financial Aid. Some students may have received their annual maximum amounts from during the fall and spring semester and will not have any federal student aid remaining for the summer term.

    Have Special Circumstances?

    The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA) allows financial aid administrators to make professional judgment decisions for special or unusual family or student circumstances. Circumstances requiring professional judgment decisions must be analyzed on a case-by-case basis. The reason for the adjustment must relate to your special circumstances. Professional judgment decisions may be made to adjust eligibility for all institutional, Title IV, and campus-based aid. Special circumstances include things such as a changes in your family's income, homelessness, unusually high medical or child care expenses.

    Need Help Applying?

    Get assistance in completing the FAFSA or ask any questions.

    Toll-Free Help Line 
    between 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. 
    1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) or 1-800-730-8913 (TTY) for the hearing impaired

    ECU Office of Financial Aid 
    between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. 
    Monday through Friday 
    580-559-5243