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How to Apply for Financial Aid

2024-2025 Financial Aid Process

Stop by the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office, and a financial aid professional will assist you. No appointment is 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 ID at
  2. Complete the FAFSA® by visiting
  3. Make sure you add the ECC school code: 001675.
  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 are 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, and academic year (e.g., 2024-2025), 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 the Federal Student Aid website 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.
  • 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 Financial Aid Office will complete your financial aid package by the start of the term. 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 Student Jobs on the ECC website 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.


If the grant aid posted to your student account exceeds your charges, you will receive a refund after the 60 percent point of the term. Checks will be mailed to the student’s address on file at ECC or will be deposited in your account if you have direct deposit. Check the list of important dates for more information.

Pell and Map grant requirements vary. You must enroll in a minimum of 6 credit hours to receive a loan. Please check with the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office for specific information.

To be eligible for aid, you must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen.
  • Have a high school diploma, a 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.
  • Have a valid Social Security number.
  • Maintain Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress.
  • Not be in default on a federal loan or owe an overpayment of a federal grant.

Dependent students must provide parental information on the FAFSA. According to the federal government, you are considered a dependent student unless you:

  • Are over 24 years of age.
  • Are married.
  • Have any children and/or dependents of your own and proof that you provide at least 51 percent of their total support.
  • Are an orphan and/or a ward of the court/state.
  • Are a veteran of the armed forces.

Note: Please see the FAFSA for a complete list of questions that will determine your status as an independent or dependent student.

If none of these conditions apply, you must include parental information and a parent’s signature on your FAFSA. Students can appeal for a Dependency Override if their personal situations involve unusual circumstances. However, per federal guidelines, a parent’s unwillingness to provide financial support (or information required to complete the FAFSA or verification paperwork) does not, in and of itself, qualify you for a Dependency Override.

Your Student Aid Report (S.A.R) is issued by the government based on the information you submitted on the FAFSA.

When you receive your S.A.R.:

  • Review it for errors.
  • Complete our Institutional Aid Application form (ECC’s in-house paperwork).
  • Submit other supporting documents as requested.

Make corrections electronically to your FAFSA online.

  • Log-In to your account and make changes.
  • Sign your corrections with your FSA ID.
  • Changes to parent information require the parent to sign with your FSA ID.

Need additional assistance?

Please bring in the Student Aid Report (S.A.R.) to Financial Aid (or provide the 4-digit DRN# from the S.A.R.) to make corrections electronically. Tell us what changes are needed, and bring any documentation necessary.

Add our school code (001675) to your FAFSA online.

Add or Delete a School Code' under section 3 or Bring in your Student Aid Report (S.A.R.) to the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office so we can add the school code electronically. You will then need to complete ECC’s in-house paperwork.

Verification is a federal process in which Financial Aid is required to confirm the information reported on your FAFSA. You must comply with all requests for documentation because your aid cannot be finalized until verification is complete.

Required documents may include:

  • Signed and completed verification worksheet (if dependent, your parent MUST also sign).
  • Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool link that is on the FAFSA® website. 
  • If you are unable to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, you must request a copy of your IRS Tax Transcripts by calling 800-908-9946 or go online to Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
    • If you are unable to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool or request a Tax Transcript, bring in the required tax return to the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office.
  • You may be required to bring in additional documents as requested by the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office.

For further instructions or assistance, stop by the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office.

If any of the following financial situations have changed significantly, scheduling a meeting with a financial aid advisor might benefit you.

Financial situations include:

  • Dependent care expenses including child day-care or elder care.
  • Employment loss or change in employment status (reduced hours/salary).
  • Divorce/separation from, or death of, a parent or spouse.
  • Unusual medical or dental expenses are not covered by insurance.
  • Other unusual family circumstances not otherwise specified (documentation will be needed).

Yes, it certainly can. Depending on when you drop or add the class, you could end up owing money not only to ECC, but to the federal or state government. Pell and MAP grants are related to the number of credit hours you are taking. Reducing your hours may reduce the amount of grant funding you can retain. Student loans require you maintain enrollment in at least six (6) credit hours. Dropping below six hours could result in the loss of loan eligibility. If an instructor informs the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office that you never attended a class, your aid may be adjusted.

We recommend you check with the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office to discuss the potential effect on your financial aid before you make any class changes.

Financial aid is available for students who qualify and maintain the eligibility criteria specified.

  • If you have failed to maintain Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress, changed to an ineligible degree or certificate program, are in default on a federal loan, or owe repayment of a federal grant over-award, you cannot receive aid.
  • Additionally, aid may be removed from your award if you do not complete documents required for processing.
  • Some programs require certain GPA or enrollment levels. If you fall below the required GPA or hours, funds may have to be canceled or reduced.

You may appeal your Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) suspension or maximum time frame status and; if approved, continue to receive financial aid for that semester. Complete the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal Reinstatement Form - PDF to appeal.

Follow the Financial Aid Process on the 'how to apply for financial aid page.

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Financial Aid 101


Financial Aid & Scholarships

Building B, Room B156
Fax: 847-608-5460

Contact Us

Monday through Thursday: 8 am to 7 pm
Friday: Closed

*Closed Tuesday: 1 pm to 2:30 pm


Student Accounts

Building B, Room B151
Fax: 847-214-7445

Monday through Thursday: 8 am to 7 pm
Friday: Closed

**Closed Wednesdays 2 pm to 3 pm