Financial Aid

How & When to Apply for Financial Aid


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  • Early FAFSA APPLICATION & RENEWAL FOR 2020-2021 beginning OCTOBER 1, 2019!

How to Apply for Financial Aid?

  • To apply for federal student aid and New Jersey (HESAA) state aid, you need to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and HESAA (Higher Education Student Assistance Authority) application.
  • Completing and submitting the applications are free and quick, and it gives you access to the largest source of financial aid to pay for college.
  • If you don’t fill out the FAFSA, you could be missing out on a lot of financial aid. The FAFSA becomes available October 1st each year.
  • The following steps will provide you with information on how to apply for federal and New Jersey State financial aid.


STEP 1 – Create an FSA ID.

Students and Parents should apply for a federal student aid FSA ID which is comprised of a user-selected username and password.
With your FSA ID, you can “sign” your FAFSA electronically and complete the federal student aid process completely online.
Also you can make corrections to your application once it is filed and access your information online.
If you are under 24 years old, it is likely you and one of your parents will each need an FSA ID.
You can apply for an FSA ID at
You will use the same FSA ID to reapply and to access your student aid records each year.

FSA ID – Frequently Asked Questions


What Is An FSA ID And What Is It Used For?

An FSA ID is a username and password that you must use to log in to certain U.S. Department of Education websites. Your FSA ID identifies you as someone who has the right to access you own personal Information on ED websites such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at

Your FSA ID is used to sign legally binding documents electronically. It has the same legal status as a written signature.

When Should I Get An FSA ID?

You, and your parent if you’re a dependent student, can apply for an FSA ID any time. If you don’t have one by the time you fill out your FAFSA, you will be prompted to apply for one. However, if you think the Social Security Administration might have the wrong name or date of birth for you in its records, go to to find out how to correct any errors. Your information must be correct with SSA before you can get an FSA ID and your FAFSA can be processed.

How Do I Get An FSA ID?

You can create an FSA ID when logging into certain ED websites, including this one. Create an FSA ID now.

The FSA ID process consists of three main steps:

  1. Enter your log-in information.
  • Provide your e-mail address, a unique username and password and verify that you are at least 13 years old.
  1. Enter your personal information.
  • Provide your Social Security number, name and date of birth.
  • Include your mailing address, e-mail address, telephone number and language preference.
  • For security purposes, provide answers to five challenge questions.
  1. Submit your FSA ID information.
  • Agree to the terms and conditions.
  • Verify your e-mail address. (Note: By verifying your e-mail address, you can use your e-mail address as your username when logging into certain ED websites. This verification also allows you to retrieve your username or reset your password without answering challenge questions.)

What If I Forgot My FSA ID Username Or Password?

If you have forgotten your username or password, you’ll find links that give you the option of retrieving your username or password through your verified e-mail address or by successfully answering your challenge questions. If you have forgotten your username but verified your e-mail address when creating your FSA ID, you can use your e-mail address in place of your username whenever you are logging in with your FSA ID.

STEP 2 – Complete the FAFSA.

The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the application for federal student assistance. You can apply before you have been admitted to CUNY starting October 1st prior to the academic year you plan to attend.  Apply online by going to


The IRS Data Retrieval Tool allows you and your parents to access the IRS tax return information needed to complete the FAFSA. Students and parents may transfer the data directly into their FAFSA. It’s available 1-2 weeks after you file your income tax return electronically. If you are eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, it is highly recommended that you use the tool for several reasons:

  • It’s the easiest way to provide your tax data
  • It’s the best way of ensuring that your FAFSA has accurate tax information
  • You won’t need to provide a copy of your or your parents’ tax returns to your college if requested

Note: To fill out and submit your FAFSA is FREE. There are websites and services not associated with the federal government that will charge you to fill out your FAFSA. You don’t have to pay anyone for assistance and there are many free resources for help, such as the Federal Student Aid Information Center by calling (800) 433-3243 and the college you plan on attending.

FAFSA – Frequently Asked Questions


When Should I Apply?

You can apply for financial aid even before you’ve been accepted to a college.

For the 2019-2020 year, you will be able to apply between Oct.1, 2018. However, there are a few federal student aid programs that have limited funds, so be sure to apply as soon as you can once the FAFSA is available for the year you’ll be attending school.

Do I Have To Reapply For Financial Aid Every Year?

Yes. You need to apply for financial aid every year. If your financial circumstances change, you may get more or less aid. After your first year when you apply, some information from the previous year’s FAFSA will be filled in. Note that your eligibility for financial aid may change, especially if you have a different number of family members in college.

Should I Pay For Help To Fill Out My FAFSA?

No, you don’t need to. If you apply using FAFSA on the Web at, you can get online instructions for each question, and you can chat live online with a customer service representative. Another source for free help can be found at

Whether you apply online or use the paper FAFSA, You can call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) with questions about the FAFSA on the Web, the paper application process or about general federal student financial aid. You may also attend a FAFSA workshop hosted by the Financial Aid Office at Bergen Community College.

Is This The Only Financial Aid Application Needed?

No. If you are a New York State resident then you should apply for New York State aid by filling out a TAP application at

Do I Need To Be Admitted Before I Can Apply For Financial Aid At Bergen?

No. You can apply for financial aid any time after October 1, prior to the academic year you plan to attend.  To actually receive funds, however, you must be admitted and enrolled at Bergen.

STEP 3 – Complete the State Aid Application.

The HESAA application is for New Jersey State residents to apply for NJ State financial aid. Once you complete your FAFSA online, you will be taken to a Confirmation Page. Click on the link to apply for New Jersey State-based financial aid and you will be directed to the Higher Education Services Assistance Authority (HESAA) website in order to fill out your state grant application. If you miss the link you will receive an email from HESAA after your FAFSA is processed with information on how to complete your state grant application.

STATE AID APPLICATION – Frequently Asked Questions


I Don’t Think That I Will Be Eligible For A HESAA Grant. Why Should I Bother To Complete The Form?

You’ll never know if you are eligible for state aid until you apply. By applying, HESAA will determine whether you are eligible for a state grant. The application is free and you just might qualify. Many students who are not eligible for Pell Grants still qualify for state grants.

I Missed The Link for HESAA On The Web Site When I Completed My FAFSA Online. Can I Get To It Any Other Way?

Yes. You can visit  ,  3-5  days after applying for the FAFSA.

STEP 4 – Receive the Award Notification.

Once your FAFSA is complete and you demonstrate financial need, Bergen will send you an award notice indicating the financial aid programs for which you qualify.
Please ensure you check your Bergen E-Mail regularly.

FAFSA Tutorial

If you cannot attend one of our workshops, or simply prefer to complete your FAFSA at home, watch this FAFSA tutorial to help guide you through the process 7 Easy Steps to the FAFSA .

Tutorial – First Time FAFSA Filers Tutorial – Renewal FAFSA Filers

How to Pay my Tuition and Fees?

Financial awards will be posted on the Self-Service portal.
You can compare your aid with tuition and fees cost.

Credit Cards and Other Methods of Payment

For more information on using credit cards and other methods of payment visit the Bursar’s Office.