Application Process
Steps in the Financial Aid Process
  • Fill out the FAFSA: This can be found online at This should be filled out at soon as possible after October 1st. List up to six schools that will receive your data. If you are applying to more than six schools, first list any that require only the FAFSA (not the profile), then add schools with the earliest deadlines. Your remaining schools may be added as a correction to the Student Aid Report.
  • Send the FAFSA in to be processed or complete and file the form at
  • Student Aid Report: Approximately four weeks after you submit your FAFSA you will receive a list of all of the information you entered on the FAFSA. If you find any errors you need to correct and return them.
  • Expected Family Contribution: Approximately four weeks after you submit your FAFSA you will receive you EFC.
Some colleges also require families to fill out the College Scholarship Service (CSS)Financial Aid Profile
This form is used to apply for institutional aid, and should be completed only for schools that require it.
You can register for the Profile online at

 Glossary of Financial Aid Terms

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
The amount the federal government expects a student and his/her family to pay toward college costs.
Financial Aid
Money that is given, lent, or paid to you so you can pay for college.
Free Application for Federal Student Aid, used to apply for U.S. government grants and loans, federal work-study, many state grants, and institutional financial aid. Every financial aid applicant must complete this form.
The practice of meeting less than a student’s full aid eligibility.
Merit-Based Aid
Scholarships, grants, or other aid awarded based on academic strength, artistic ability, leadership, or other special talent.
Need-Based Aid
Financial aid that is awarded based on demonstrated financial need.
An admissions policy that does not use financial need as a factor in selecting applicants.
Admission Need-Conscious
An admissions policy that takes into account students’ financial need before making admissions decisions.

CSS Profile

The application required by many schools to apply for institutional aid. Complete this form only if the school to which you are applying requires it.


The Student Aid Report, generated when the FAFSA is processed, includes all of the data entered on the FAFSA and indicates the amount of the EFC.

A federally subsidized or college program in which students hold part-time campus jobs in areas such as the library, academic departments, food services, administrative offices, etc, as part of their financial aid packages.

Commonly used websites

New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority – This site offers information about New Jersey’s grants, scholarships, and loan programs. Information is also available on how to apply for student aid.

Outstanding Scholars Recruitment Program (OSRP) – This site provides information about New Jersey’s Oustanding Scholars Recruitment Program (OSRP), a partnership between the NJHESAA and 15 New Jersey colleges and universities.*&type=Scholarship

NJ STARS Program – This site provides information regarding the New Jersey Student Assistance Reward Scholarship (NJ STARS)*&type=Scholarship

NJ BEST – Web site of New Jersey’s 529 college savings plan.

College Board–Paying for College – Many useful features regarding financial aid including: 529 plans, student loans, comparing financial aid awards, and a scholarship search.

CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE - Online version of the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE. PROFILE is a financial aid application service of the College Scholarship Service (CSS), the financial aid division of the College Board. Many colleges, universities, graduate and professional schools, and scholarship programs use the information collected on PROFILE to help them award nonfederal student aid funds.

Fastweb – A financial aid search through the World Wide Web.

Federal Student Aid (FSA) – A one-stop web site for learning all about the financial aid process, from pre-college to repayment.

FinAid! – A very comprehensive and objective guide to student financial aid. Includes the EFC Estimation Form.

FTC Guide Regarding Scholarship Scams – The Federal Trade Commission’s guide to protecting yourself from scholarship fraud.

Looking For Student Aid – Information and links regarding federal, state, and other sources of financial aid information. Also information regarding scholarship/financial aid fraud.

National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) – This site offers information regarding student financial aid, including an informative slide show and hand-outs for students and parents.

Office of Postsecondary Education–Information for Students – This Web site provides links to on-line publications that explain major federal student aid programs, maximum awards, and eligibility. – This site offers a free college scholarship search and financial aid resources.

Scholarship Resource Network Express – Scholarship Resource Network Express contains a database of over 8,000 programs with a distribution level of over 150,000 awards for undergraduate and postgraduate students worth a total of more than $35 million! This database also includes student loan forgiveness programs for those who have graduated from college and need alternatives for repayment. This site also offers a free college scholarship search.