How to Apply for Financial Aid

Start with the FAFSA

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form helps students see what kind of Financial Aid they could get. The FAFSA comes directly from the US Department of Education, is free to complete, and has to be filled out every year you go to school. The form is usually available on October 1st, with a deadline of June 30th of the current school year (e.g. For 2023-2024 FAFSA, became available on October 1st, 2022 with the deadline of June 30th, 2024.)

Updates for 2024/2025 FAFSA

Filing out the FAFSA is easier than ever! The FAFSA form is changing, making it simpler for you to get the financial assistance you need. Some of the benefits of FAFSA Simplification are:

  • Fewer questions and the form will be streamlined
  • A more user-friendly experience
  • Expanded eligibility for federal student aid
  • Reduced barriers for certain student populations (including homeless and unaccompanied youth, incarcerated students, English language learners, and students from low-income backgrounds)
What’s Changed for the 2024–25 FAFSA® Form?

The release of the 2024-2025 FAFSA has been postponed. It is anticipated to be accessible by December 31, 2023.

Still have questions? Learn more.

Gather These Documents

Click on the plus signs below for more information about the listed required documents.

  • Your Driver’s License number, Citizenship Verification, or USCIS or Alien Registration number (the A# is not the same as your "Arrival" number).

  • Your parents' IRS Tax Returns (if you need a copy, request a transcript through the IRS website) from the required tax year, and yours if you filed taxes.
  • The online FAFSA also offers an IRS Data Retrieval Tool, to pull in your and/or your parent's tax return data. Watch the IRS Data Retrieval Tool Tutorial (YouTube Video).
  • If you or your parents earned income outside of the U.S., please note that income must also be reported at the current exchange rate.

  • W-2 Forms and other records of money earned during the required tax year
  • Current bank statements

FAFSA Filing Dates & Information

The sooner you fill out your FAFSA, the better your chances are to get different kinds of Financial Aid. After all, the government budgets a limited amount of funds for Federal Student Aid, so don’t wait! FAFSA application periods are open from Oct. 1 of the previous school year through June 30 of the current school year.

Use the information below to determine which FAFSA(s) you should fill out with GCC’s Federal School Code (001076):

  • FAFSA Year 2023/2024: Covers Fall 2023, Spring 2024 & Summer 2024. Requires Tax information from the 2021 year.
  • FAFSA Year 2024/2025: Covers Fall 2024, Spring 2025 & Summer 2025. Requires Tax information from the 2022 year.

Need help? Check out the online tutorial video we have on this page. We also have informative Financial Aid sessions and workshops on our calendar for upcoming sessions that are free to sign up for. Visit the Federal Student Aid website from the Department of Education for more information and resources.

Avoid Scams! One thing FAFSA will never ask you for is money to pay; so if a website asks you to pay to either fill it out or submit it, you’re not working on the official FAFSA site. Be aware of other Financial Aid scams by reviewing the Department of Education’s Tips on Avoiding Scams.

Once you submit your FAFSA Application, it will take up to 5 business days for us to receive it from the Department of Education. You will also receive an email with your Student Aid Report; which will show your potential award, NOT your actual award. You will want to follow-up with the Financial Aid Office regarding your eligibility. In the meantime, you can work on getting admitted, meet with your Academic Advisor, and apply for Scholarships.