How to Apply for Financial Aid

2023-2024 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., 2023-2024), 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.