How to Apply for Financial Aid

Getting Started - Your PIN Number

The beginning point for all federal aid is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and the first step in filing a FAFSA is applying for a federal PIN number. Students and at least one parent (if the student is a dependent) can apply on-line through the Department of Education website. PIN numbers serve as an “electronic signature” for completing the FAFSA, student loan applications and other on-line documents and processes. If you previously had a PIN number for student aid and do not remember it, you can retrieve or reset your PIN through the site as well.

The FAFSA Application

Once you have your PIN number, the next step is completing and electronically signing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. This process can be done quickly and easily on the Department of Education website. The on-line process includes a download of income and tax information directly from the IRS website (for both student and parent income). Be sure to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool download process to prevent processing delays. If you do not choose or qualify for this option, you will most likely be chosen for a process called “verification” (see below). The information that you provide will help the school determine your eligibility for student financial aid. When completing the FAFSA form, make sure you list Western Technical College as your school choice (federal school code #014535) as this will ensure we receive your information in a timely manner. Deadline: It’s best to have your FAFSA completed at least 14 days prior to the start of classes since we cannot process any aid until your data is received from the federal processor. The absolute deadline to file your FAFSA is a few days before you finish school, as we must receive your information while you are still enrolled in order to process your aid.


Some FAFSA applications will be chosen by the U.S. Department of Education for a review process known as “verification”. If your application is selected, you (and your parent if you are a dependent student) will be asked to provide copies of prior year tax transcripts from the IRS, along with other income information. We will let you know if you were selected for verification and give you a list of necessary documentation.

Unfortunately, we cannot process any financial aid until all of the required documentation is submitted and reviewed. At times, this process will require us to make changes to your FAFSA data, which can add time to the processing. Therefore, it is important that you submit any requested documentation as soon as possible. All documents must be received and reviewed within 30 days of the end of the school year (or the student’s last day of attendance for the year, whichever comes first), or any eligibility will be forfeited.

Special Circumstances

Occasionally the information reported on the FAFSA does not accurately represent the family’s current financial situation. This can occur because of a significant change in income, marital status, or assets; or other special or unusual circumstances affecting a family’s ability to contribute to the student’s educational costs. The Financial Aid Office can often create a financial aid package to help offset these financial difficulties, including making modifications to the student’s application data. If you feel that you have such special circumstances, call or visit the Financial Aid Office to set an appointment to discuss your situation. Our financial aid staff will be glad to help you explore your options.

What Happens After Filing the FAFSA?

After filing your FAFSA you will receive an electronic Student Aid Report (SAR). This report is a summary of the information provided on your application. Please review it to ensure the data is accurate. You can make corrections or provide additional information, if needed, through the FAFSA website.

Your SAR will also list your expected family contribution or EFC. This is the amount, based on the federal formula, that you and your family (if applicable) may be expected to contribute towards the Cost of Attendance (COA). Your specific COA will be listed on your financial aid award letter (see below).

Upon completion of the application and verification (if required) processes, the Financial Aid Office will prepare a financial aid package for you based on your eligibility and financial need as determined by your FAFSA form. Your financial aid eligibility and Cost of Attendance (COA) will be provided to you in an award letter.

You can also discuss timing of your financial aid payments, billing procedures and alternative financing options with the Financial Aid Office. The financial aid office staff is here to assist you with the application process. If you need help in completing the necessary forms, please call our office and schedule an appointment.

Step-By-Step Summary

To apply for federal financial aid, please follow the steps below:

  1. Apply for a PIN (Personal Identification Number) at This is required for both the student and at least one parent (if you are a dependent student).
  2. Go to to apply for federal financial aid by completing the on-line FAFSA. Be sure to use the IRS data download option to avoid processing delays.
  3. Go to our Scholarship and Awards Page, and Veterans Assistance Programs Page to learn about additional financial assistance, scholarship, and award programs.

Call or visit the Financial Aid Office to discuss options and receive assistance with your forms and paperwork. We are here to help! Contact Us.  

Related Links:

Federal Student Aid – Student Eligibility Rules

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

To request a tax transcript from the IRS

Tax Benefits for Education

Federal PIN Number Site

FAFSA On-line Application

Financial Aid Glossary


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