Apply for Financial Aid

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)


COTC uses the FAFSA form to determine how much financial aid you’re eligible to receive, which could include grants, scholarships, work-study and loans. We encourage all students to complete the FAFSA. In most cases, you are eligible for some type of federal financial aid regardless of income. You must complete a FAFSA each academic you plan to enroll in classes.

submit the FAFSA online download a paper FAFSA form

COTC’s priority deadline to file the 2024-25 FAFSA is March 15, 2024. Students may still be eligible for financial aid even if they miss the priority date, but they may not be awarded the maximum amount of aid possible.

Keep a copy of the results of the FAFSA (Student Aid Report) for your records. If any information is incorrect, you may make corrections online or by providing the information to your Student Financial Services specialist.

Who Completes the FAFSA?

All students should complete the FAFSA, regardless of income. What type of student you are — independent or dependent — determines if your parent must also fill out the FAFSA. The FAFSA will either be completed by an independent student or a dependent student and their parent/guardian. Learn more about dependency status at Federal Student Aid.

Independent Student

According to Federal Student Aid, an independent student is one of the following:

  • At least 24 years old
  • Married
  • A graduate or professional student
  • A veteran or member of the armed forces
  • An orphan or a ward of the court
  • Someone with legal dependents other than a spouse
  • An emancipated minor
  • Is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless

Dependent Student

According to Federal Student Aid, a dependent student is one who does not meet any of the criteria for an independent student.

Dependent students are generally relying on a parent or guardian financially. Dependent students completing the FAFSA will need parent information and both student and parent will need an FSA ID to file a FAFSA.

When to Submit the FAFSA

Each year, the FAFSA is available in December. Applicants should submit the FAFSA as early as possible to maximize their financial aid offer. Campus-based aid, such as Federal Work Study, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) and institutional scholarships are limited. Awards are offered to eligible applicants in dated order until funds are exhausted.

Even if the FAFSA and verification are not completed by the given priority dates, students may still apply for financial aid. However, the aid may not be available to assist in the paying of tuition and fees by the stated fee payment deadlines. In those cases, COTC offers a tuition payment plan that can help students maintain enrollment until financial aid processing is complete.

Semester FAFSA Priority Date Verification Priority Date
Summer Semester April 1 April 15
Autumn Semester July 15 Aug. 1
Spring Semester Dec. 1 Dec. 15

Before You Begin: Create a FSA ID

Whether you are a student or parent, you will need to create a Federal Student Aid (FSA) account username (FSA ID) and password. Watch this brief video to walk through the process and learn how to set up two-step verification to better protect your identity and account information.

Complete the FAFSA

The FAFSA typically takes less than half an hour to complete, but we encourage students to take the time they need to complete the application because it’s important to ensure the information being provided is accurate.

COTC’s school code number is: 011046

submit the FAFSA online download a paper FAFSA form

Watch the video to learn how to fill out the FAFSA, including what information and documentation you may need.