Step 1: Eligibility Requirements
To receive and retain student financial aid, including all types of Federal Direct Loans, students must meet the following eligibility requirements:
- Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) annually
- Comply with Union County College’s Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy
- Remain in good standing on prior educational loans and grants via the National Student Loan Database System (NSLDS)
- Remain enrolled for at least (6) credits (to receive Federal Direct Loans), with the exception of the Federal PELL Grant, which has no credit minimum
- Be enrolled and matriculated in an eligible degree or certificate program
- Be a citizen or eligible non-citizen with a valid Social Security Number
- Be registered for the Selective Service (males between the age of 18-25)
- Have a high school diploma and/or GED
- Comply with any and all additional requests for information
*Go to our Citizenship and Selective Service webpage for more information about these criteria(s).
Federal regulations require that your total student financial aid, including loans does not exceed your cost of attendance. For most students, financial aid only meets part of their financial need. The eligibility criteria when determining all eligible applicants for awards is based on a valid FAFSA received by Union County College. Once the valid FAFSA is received, the eligibility criteria for determining the amount of a student’s award is based on the expected family contribution number (EFC) provided upon submission of the FAFSA.
Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is calculated through a formula established by federal law. The EFC formula takes into account many variables including you (and your parents’ if you are a dependent student):
- Income and assets
- Number of people living in your household
- Number of people in your household attending college
- State of residence (HESAA: New Jersey Grants)
Your EFC, which appears as a dollar amount, does not vary from school to school regardless of the actual cost of the institution you are attending. However, your financial need will vary according to each school’s cost of attendance.
Once your EFC is determined, then your cost of attendance minus your EFC equals your financial need.
Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the only application used in determining the types of aid for which you are eligible.
Step 2: Complete your FAFSA
Your first step in applying for financial aid is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at www.fafsa.gov. If you have already completed your FAFSA for this year, simply add our school code (002643) to your FAFSA so that we will receive it.
If you are not eligible to complete the FAFSA, you may still be eligible for scholarships. You can find more information on how scholarships work and how to apply for one on our Scholarships webpage.
Step 3: Submit any requested documents to the Financial Aid Office
When you check to see that your FAFSA was received, you may also notice that some other documents are in a Missing or Incomplete status. The completed documents can be faxed the Financial Aid Office at to 908-709-7018 or you can scan the completed form and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that any citizenship documentation or a social security card must be presented in person.
The Financial Aid Office does not make tentative awards. You will not be awarded any federal or state financial aid (including grants and loans) until all of the required documents have been reviewed.
If you receive any requests via email or through the mail from the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA), please comply with those requests. You must submit all documents that they request in order to be eligible for any state aid including Tuition Aid Grant (TAG), Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF), and NJ STARS.
Step 4: Check the status of your submitted documents
Once your documents are received by our office, they will be in a status of Pending Review. All documents are reviewed within a week to 10 days, however, many are processed much sooner. Please check the status of your documents often. If additional information is needed after the documents have been reviewed, you will see those documents in the Communication section. Once all documents have been updated to a Reviewed status, you can see your financial aid award.
Step 5: Review your financial aid award
Once all of your documents have been reviewed, you will see your financial aid award in the Financial Aid section of Owl’s Nest. You can view your financial aid award amounts for the entire academic year or just for a single term.
If all of your documents have been reviewed and you do not see a financial aid award, this is because you are not eligible for grants. You are still, however, eligible for student loans and scholarships. Union County College does not automatically award students a loan, however, if you would like to borrow a loan, you can request one. Information about how student loans work and how to request one can be found on our Loans page. Information about how scholarships work and how to request one can be found on our Scholarships page.
Step 6: Remember to Apply each year:
You must apply for financial aid each year. You should complete your FAFSA each spring for the following fall and spring semesters. If you have a loan, you will need to complete a Loan Request Form each year. If you are receiving a scholarship, you will need to submit a scholarship application for the next year.
*Study Abroad: Students that choose to participate in a study abroad program may be eligible to receive Financial Aid funding. Please contact the Financial Aid Office for further details.