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Financial Aid: The FAFSA

What is the FAFSA?

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
A form that must be filled out annually
by current and prospective college students and sometimes their parents in the United States to determine eligibility for federal student financial aid (including grants, loans, and work-study programs).

You must re-apply for aid each year -
available January 1st

Understanding FAFSA videos
Best viewed in Internet Explorer

Link to Financial Aid TV


What does the FAFSA do?


TCC uses the information from the FAFSA to award non-federal aid. The FAFSA consists of numerous questions regarding the student's finances, as well as those of his or her family; these are entered into a formula that determines the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The amount of the EFC can vary widely, depending on a number of factors; for example, one such factor is whether a student has siblings in college at the time.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is the form used to determine eligibility for all financial aid. In other words, you must submit a FAFSA to be considered for grants, work-study, scholarships, and student loans, including Federal Stafford and Federal Parent PLUS loans.

A Student Aid Report (SAR), which includes a summary of the students financial aidformation and the EFC, is forwarded to the schools listed by the student as well as to the student. These schools then use the SAR to determine what financial aid package (if any) to award the student.


How do I complete the FAFSA?

      Although you may submit a paper FAFSA, filing online has many advantages:
  • You will receive your results, called a Student Aid Report (SAR), faster.
  • The online application checks for incomplete or conflicting information.
  • You can save your application for transmission at a later time.

Before filing the FAFSA online, establish a username and password
You will use your username and password to sign your FAFSA electronically. 
If you are a dependent student, your parent will need one too.

      Establish your Username and Password at

Be sure to list TCC as your school choice
You will need our federal school code 003712
Read all directions before beginning the online application to be sure you are fully prepared.

      Complete the FAFSA online.
    When do I complete the FAFSA?

The FAFSA must be completed each academic year
The application is available online beginning January 1: 
You will complete the application for the period that you plan to attend.

  • If you will begin classes in fall of 2015, you should complete the 2015-16 FAFSA (available after January 1, 2015) in preparation for the coming year.
  • If you will begin in the middle of the year, you should complete the current application. 
    For example, if you are planning to attend during the spring or summer semester, 2015, you will complete the 2014-15 FAFSA. 


Off-site tutorial: 7 Easy Steps to FAFSA
Contact your campus financial aid office for further assistance.

FAFSA Tutorial on the Virginia Education Wizard websiteLink to VA Education Wizard



Financial assistance is provided for all qualified students through a variety of sources including grants, scholarships, student loans, and the work study program. Tidewater Community College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, political affiliation, veteran status, gender, age, sexual orientation, or disability in its programs or activities.