Completing the FAFSA

The best way to complete the application is online at This will reduce processing time of the application by the Department of Education from weeks to days. Student and/or parents may receive assistance in completing the FAFSA® online by attending a free FAFSA® workshop at COCC. The workshop dates and times are located on the Financial Aid homepage and will have a Financial Aid professional available to help you with any questions. These short videos provided by the Department of Education is a great resource for tips and general knowledge of the FAFSA® process.

Gathering Financial Information and Dependency Status

Beside gathering your personal information such as Social Security cards, you will need to gather information about your family's income and savings such as: tax returns, money earned, W2s, bank and other financial account statements. If you are dependent by definition of the Department of Education, you will need to provide parental information along with your information. If you are independent by definition of the Department of Education, you will only need information regarding your finances including your spouses if you are married. To help you determine whether you are independent or dependent see our FAQs or watch the quick video. If you have special circumstances regarding your dependency status, contact a financial aid representative at

Completing the FAFSA

Now that you have your PIN and the necessary financial information to complete FAFSA®, you may begin online at It is important to complete the FAFSA® application early. The best time to apply is early January to maximize your eligibility for funding. FAFSA® applications received later will be considered for funding from available aid programs such as Federal Pell Grant and Federal Direct Loan Programs. If you are beginning school in the middle of the year, complete the FAFSA® as soon as possible. To receive aid for each year, you will need to reapply each year you attend school.

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