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Tacoma Community College » Costs & Aid » Apply for Aid

Apply for Aid

Photo of a female student looking at a paper and a laptop computer. Applying for and receiving your financial aid could be the most important step to reaching your goals at TCC. That's why we make it easier for you with the following steps. Keep reading to learn how to apply.

Important Dates

Which Quarter
Will You Start?
File Completion DeadlineQuarter Begins
Fall 2016May 19, 2016 final deadlineSeptember 19, 2016
Winter 2017October 6, 2016January 3, 2017
Spring 2017January 26, 2017April 3, 2017
Summer 2017April 6, 2017June 26, 2017

*Some types of funding are limited and awarded to eligible priority (early) applicants only.

The 2016-17 school year will begin fall quarter 2016 and summer quarter 2017.

Students must apply for aid every year.

Steps to Pay for College

STEP 1. Apply for TCC Admission
You'll receive access to the TCC student portal and your student email, where you will receive important information regarding your financial aid application. Note: If you are a returning student who has been away for a quarter or more, you must notify Enrollment Services online or in person of your plan to return. Apply now!

STEP 2. Request a FSA ID
If you do not already have one, request a FSA ID. This allows you to electronically sign your FAFSA and access personal information on Federal Student Aid web sites.

STEP 3. Complete the Online FAFSA
Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at for the correct school year. Our school code is 003796

We highly encourage students (and parents) to use the IRS data retrieval tool. This allows students (and parents)  to access their IRS tax return information and transfer it directly into the FAFSA. Even if you have already completed your FAFSA, you can and should log back into your FAFSA and use this tool. The tool is available two weeks after you file your taxes electronically. If you file by paper, you will need to wait 6 weeks.

STEP 4. Complete the TCC Institutional Form
Complete the TCC Institutional Form. Log into your MyTCC portal, select 'money/jobs', 'financial aid' and then see 'financial aid forms'. You must complete this form each school year.

STEP 5. Receive & Respond to Student Aid Report (SAR)
Within two weeks of submitting your FAFSA, you should receive a Student Aid Report (SAR). Read it carefully and respond to any items that must be resolved; be sure the information on the SAR is accurate.

If you do not receive your SAR, call the Department of Education at 1.800.4FEDAID to check your status.

STEP 6. Verification Documents (if applicable)
If your SAR says "Your FAFSA has been selected for a review process called verification," this means you are required to:

For 2015-16:

  • Complete the correct 2015-16 verification worksheet (available through your student portal or from our office)
  • Submit your/spouses 2014 tax return transcript (and spouse's, if applicable)
  • Submit your parents 2014 tax return transcript (if parental information was required on your FAFSA)
  • Other documentation may be required

For 2016-17:

  • Complete the correct 2016-17 verification worksheet (available soon)
  • Submit your/spouses 2015 tax return transcript (and spouse's, if applicable)
  • Submit your parents 2015 tax return transcript (if parental information was required on your FAFSA)
  • Other documentation may be required

We can no longer accept copies of personal tax returns.Tax return transcripts must be requested from the IRS. The fastest way is to request it directly from the IRS website. You can also use the IRS Data Retreival Tool on the FAFSA to directly import your tax information. This step can sometimes be faster.

We will then compare the information from this documentation with your FAFSA and make any required corrections.

STEP 7. ctcLink Gateway Student Center & Follow Up

  • Check the Student Center on your ctcLink Gateway to see if you have any missing documentation.
  • Get registered for your classes. We are not able to award students until they are registered, so check with advising to make sure you get registered as soon as you are able.

Remember, your file is not considered complete until we have received all required documents and all discrepancies have been resolved.

Final Checklist

You have completed your financial aid application at TCC when...

  • You have applied for admission to TCC
  • Your FAFSA information has been received by our office and it contains accurate information and all comments and requests for additional information have been resolved
  • We have received your completed TCC institutional form

What Happens Next?

  • When your file is complete, we will review your application materials. We will contact you via your TCC email if we need additional information or if we find discrepancies that must be resolved.
  • Please check your TCC email regularly and respond to us promptly.
  • You will receive an emailed award notification listing your financial aid awards.

Read Me! Important Information

  • If you miss the file completion date for the quarter you want to start school, you can still attend, but you should be prepared to pay for your own tuition and books, as any financial aid you may be eligible to receive would not be ready until sometime after the start of the quarter.
  • Students must apply for aid each year, not every quarter.
  • Classes fill up quickly. Do not wait to register!
  • Given the volume of applications, completed applications of students enrolled in classes will be reviewed first.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid

  • Waiting too long to begin the process!
    You should start the application process well before the deadline date for the quarter you want to start.
  • Not reviewing your Student Aid Report (SAR)
    You are responsible for ensuring the information on it is complete and accurate. Respond promptly to any comments.
  • Not using the the IRS data retrieval tool on the FAFSA.
    Most students and parents can use this tool. We highly encourage you as it could save time later on.
  • Not reading and following directions carefully.
    Take the time to do this - it will save you time in the long run.
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