Skip to main contentSkip to main navigationSkip to footer content

Complete your FAFSA

The FAFSA is the foundation for putting together your financial aid package, and this quick guide will give you a jump start.

Need help? Contact our Financial Aid team!


The FAFSA Simplification Act passed on 12/27/2020 represents significant changes to federal student aid, including the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, eligibility calculations, and many policies and procedures for schools that participate in Title IV programs.

Historically, the FAFSA has been available beginning October 1st each year. However, because of significant changes to the application and the rebuild of the FAFSA processing system, the 2024-25 FAFSA did not open until December 2023.

UPDATE: The Department of Education just announced that ISIRs (a.k.a. FAFSA results) will not be delivered to schools until mid-March.

The FAFSA will be shorter and more user-friendly

The FAFSA will reduce the maximum number of questions from 108 to 46. Also, because the FAFSA is on the Web, some students won't even be presented with all 46 questions. This streamlined formation will simplify the application process and make it less daunting for students and their families.

Contributor - a new term being introduced on the 2024-25 FAFSA—refers to anyone who is required to provide information on a student's form (such as a parent/stepparent or spouse).

Contributors will receive an email informing them that they've been identified as such and will need to log in using their own FSA ID (if they don't already have one) to provide the required information on the student's FAFSA.

Being a contributor does not mean they are financially responsible for the student's education costs, but it does mean the contributor must provide information on the FAFSA or the application will be incomplete, and the student will not be eligible for federal student aid.

Dependent students must invite their parent(s) to contribute to their form if parent information is required.

Independent students and a dependent student's parent must invite their spouse to contribute to the student's form if spouse information is required.

Consent - each contributor will now need to provide their consent to their Federal Tax Information (FTI) being included in the FAFSA, even if they did not file a U.S. tax return.

FTI - Federal Tax Information (FTI) transferred directly from the IRS.

DDX - IRS Direct Data Exchange. Previously, students, a student's spouse (when married), and parent(s) (when students are dependent) entered their tax information or used the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) to transfer tax data from the IRS to the FAFSA. Beginning with 2024-25, all persons listing tax information on the FAFSA will be required to use the IRS Direct Data Exchange (DDX) to share tax information or confirm non-filing status.

SAI - Student Aid Index (SAI) is replacing the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). This name more accurately describes the number used to determine aid eligibility and, unlike the EFC, the SAI may be a negative number down to -1500.

Previously, the FAFSA calculated the number of household members attending college into the EFC, dividing it proportionately to determine federal aid eligibility. Beginning with the 2024-25 FAFSA, the application will still ask how many household members are in college, but the answer will not be calculated into the SAI. As such, SCC students with siblings in college may see a change in their federal aid eligibility.

For dependent students financial information was previously needed from the parent(s) the student had lived with the most in the last 12 months. With the new FAFSA, financial information will be required from the parent(s) who provided the most financial support to the student.

When required, families must now report the value of their small business or family farm. If the family farm includes the principal place of residence, applicants should determine the total net value of all farm assets and subtract the net value of their principal residence to determine the final value of their farm assets.

  • Maximum Pell Grant Eligibility: ability of a student to receive a maximum Pell Grant (amount determined annually by Congress) which depends on annually published federal poverty guidelines; the U.S. tax return adjusted gross income (or the equivalent for foreign tax filers); state of legal residence; family size; and tax filing status.


  • Minimum Pell Grant Eligibility: ability of a student to receive a minimum Pell Grant depending on annual published federal poverty guidelines, Adjusted Gross Income (or the equivalent for foreign tax filers), state of legal residence, and family size.

Applying for financial aid

  1. Pull together the documents and information you'll need to complete the application -here's the list on the FAFSA site
  2. Get your Federal Student Aid ID (it will be your legal signature on the FAFSA).
  3. You'll need SCC's Title IV School Code, too: 017027
  4. Complete the FAFSA at

What's Next?

It takes about two weeks to process your FAFSA application. After that, you can check the status on the FAFSA site. It's a good idea to print copies of all pages (or save them as PDFs) for your own records, too.

Once your application's been processed, you can review and print your Student Aid Report (SAR).

FAFSA Verification Info

Please review our full FAFSA verification policy in the Verification Policy PDF.

Files completed for verification by the July 1 priority deadline will be given first consideration for processing in order to allow earliest possible disbursement of student aid refunds. After July 1, files are processed based upon receipt date and completion of financial aid file.

It is strongly recommended that you attempt to use the IRS Data Retrieval tool. If not eligible to use the tool, you will need to request your Tax Return Transcript directly from the IRS via Web or phone (1-800-908-9946).

  • Verification Packet/Worksheets (These will be requested and made available in your MySCC Portal)
  • Tax Return Transcript
  • W-2s

When a student files the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the U.S. Department of Education will send results of the FAFSA (the Student Aid Report) to the student via U.S. mail or by email. This report will indicate if the student has been selected for the verification process. Not all students are selected by the U.S. Department of Education for verification. The Financial Aid Office will also receive notification from the U.S. Department of Education and will contact the student as well. It is imperative that the student check their MySCC Portal for this reason.

The verification process requires the college to collect additional documents from the student and his/her family in order to verify information provided on the FAFSA. Along with verification worksheets, the student will need to provide the Financial Aid Office with all required documents and information indicated on the verification worksheets. Depending on individual situations, additional documents may be requested as needed. It is the student's responsibility to make sure the Financial Aid Office receives the items requested in a timely manner.

  • Use the IRS Data Retrieval tool when completing your FAFSA.
  • Complete your verification packet as soon as possible.
  • Request your IRS tax return transcript directly via Web or phone, 1-800-908-9946.
  • Provide all W-2s for each person whose income is reported on your FAFSA.
  • Amounts reported on the Verification Packet are to be annual/per year figures, not monthly, unless otherwise indicated.
  • Complete all items (do not leave blank).
  • All applicable parties must sign the verification packet.
  • If you or your parents marked separated or divorced as the marital status on the FAFSA, but filed a joint return, you will need to provide a copy of all W-2s.
  • If there are further discrepancies on the packet regarding other income information reported, additional documents could be requested at a later date.

A Professional Judgement a.k.a. 'Special Circumstance' appeal allows for a financial aid adjustment due to extenuating circumstances that may have significantly reduced current or prior year income compared to the tax data reported on the FAFSA. Please review our full Special Circumstance/Professional Judgement policy in the Special Circumstance/Professional Judgement PDF.

Qualifying special circumstances include:

  • Recent unemployment of a direct family member (mother or father) of dependent student
  • Recent unemployment of an independent student or their spouse
  • Forced reduction in income
  • Marital status change resulting in loss of income
  • Death of a dependent student's parent
  • Death of an independent student's spouse
  • Unusually high medical expenses not covered by insurance
  • Primary/Secondary education tuition costs
  • Circumstances related to Covid-19
    • Involuntary loss of income due to reduced hours or shutdowns as a result of Covid-19 during 2020 or 2021
    • Loss of income effective 2020 or 2021 due to disability
    • Significant medical expenses not covered by insurance during 2020 or 2021 as a result of Covid-19

Reasons not considered special circumstances:

  • Voluntary loss/decrease in income
  • Student or spouse reducing hours or quitting job to go to school
  • Excessive consumer debts
  • Thinking you should qualify for a Federal PELL Grant
  • FAFSA EFC is already '0' (You may find the EFC on your Student Aid Report)

How do I submit a Special Circumstances Appeal?

  1. Complete the FAFSA Verification process (see the section above for required items)
  2. Complete the Special Circumstances Appeal in Eforms. Select the appropriate form based on the academic year you are applying for.

Please view our full Unsusual Circumstance/Dependency Override policy in the Unsusual Circumstance/Dependency Override PDF.

As outlined on the FAFSA, federal regulations define the criteria you must meet to be considered an independent student. If you do not meet any of those criteria, you may ask your school's financial aid office to re-evaluate your status. The law governing the Federal Student Aid programs is based on the premise that the family is the first source of the student's support, and the law provides several criteria that decide if the student is considered independent of their parents for aid eligibility. Note that a student reaching the age of 18 or 21 or living apart from their parents does not affect their dependency status.

The Dependency Appeal is the process that SCC uses to review your situation and determine if you are eligible to be considered an independent student. Note: this review is on a case-by-case basis.

Conditions, singly or in combination, which do not qualify for a dependency override include:

  • Parents refuse to contribute to the student's education.
  • Parents are unwilling to provide information on the FAFSA or for FAFSA verification.
  • Parents do not claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes.
  • Student demonstrates total self-sufficiency.

If a student would like to request consideration of dependency appeal, please submit a Dependency Appeal form via Eforms in the portal.

SCC does not provide Direct Unsubsidized Loans for dependent students without parent support being included on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).


FAFSA Deadlines

These deadlines affect eligibility for financial aid programs. For other important deadlines, please view the term-specific PDF on the Academic Calendar page.


Which FAFSA?

FAFSA priority deadline

FA Checklist priority deadline

Fall 2023

2023-2024 Jun 1, 2023 Jul 1, 2023

Spring 2024


Nov 1, 2023

Dec 1, 2023

Summer 2024


Apr 1, 2024

May 1, 2024

Fall 2024


Jun 1, 2024

Jul 1, 2024