Students gathering in front of the North Entrance of the Cascade Building

Are the deadlines earlier to apply for aid for the upcoming school year?

No, the FAFSA/WASFA applications are available October 1 of each year. It is important to complete a FAFSA/WASFA early. This allows time for all required materials to be processed so that funds are available prior to the start of the quarter.

Do I have to apply for admission to Pierce before I am awarded?

If you are new to Pierce College, you must be formally admitted to Pierce College before you can be awarded.

How quickly do I need to return requested documents?

We encourage students to submit any requested documents as soon as possible. This allows our office more time to follow-up with you if additional information is needed, and reduces the chance for a delay in processing your award. Forms are available on the Financial Aid forms page. For information about your next steps to apply for financial aid, contact the Financial Aid Office.

What is Pierce College's school code?

The school code is used when submitting your FAFSA or WASFA application. The school code is 005000.

How do I check my financial aid status?

Log in to ctclink to view your financial aid status. There you can identify any missing documents needed to complete your financial aid award.

Do I have to apply for financial aid every year?

YES! You must reapply for financial aid each year by completing the renewal FAFSA or WASFA online. Applications are available after October 1 each year.

What is the general processing time for financial aid documents?

Our typical turnaround for verification forms, appeals, and other forms is up to 4 weeks.

How do I know when I have been awarded?

You will receive an Award Letter via email and you will be able to view your awards through ctcLink.

What is the IRS Data Retrieval Tool and how do I use it?

A quick and easy way to complete your FAFSA, the IRS Data Retrieval tool will allow students, and parents of dependent students, who have already filed tax returns and who complete their FAFSA on the Web, to securely transfer their income and tax data from the IRS to their FAFSA.

As you complete your FAFSA online, you will be asked a series of questions regarding your tax filing status. If you are eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool you will enter your PIN and click Link to IRS. Your FAFSA information will be saved and you'll be linked to the IRS website. On the IRS website simply enter the required information to validate your identity. Your tax return information will be displayed and you will be given the option to transfer your tax information into your FAFSA. Once the transfer has been completed you will be taken back to FAFSA on the web to finalize your FAFSA.

What makes me an independent student?

Being considered an independent student is not merely a matter of being responsible for your own educational expenses. You must be able to answer YES to at least one of the following questions to be declared an independent student for the purposes of the FAFSA:

  • Will you be 24 years of age or older by December 31 of the award year?
  • Are you married as of the date you fill out the FAFSA?
  • Will you be working on a master's or doctorate program (MA, MBA, DVM, PhD, EdD, etc) during the award year?
  • Are you currently serving on active duty in the US Armed Forces for purposes other than training?
  • Are you a veteran of the US Armed Forces?
  • Do you have children who will receive more than half of their support from you during the award year?
  • Do you have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and who receive more than half of their support from you, now and through the award year?
  • At any time since you turned age 13, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care, or were you a dependent or ward of the court?
  • Are you or were you an emancipated minor as determined by a court in your state of legal residence?
  • Are you or were you in legal guardianship as determined by a court in your state of legal residence?
  • At any time on or after July 1, 2020, did your high school or school district homeless liaison determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless?
  • At any time on or after July 1, 2020, did the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless?
  • At any time on or after July 1, 2020, did the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?

How do I apply for a Federal Pell Grant?

When you complete a FAFSA, you are automatically considered for a Pell Grant. If you meet eligibility guidelines as established by the federal government, a Pell Grant will be included as part of your total need-based aid package.

When do I start repaying my loans?

You are responsible for repaying the principal balance of your student loans after you have completed your degree or cease to be enrolled on at least a half-time basis (half-time enrollment for most undergraduates is defined as 6 credit hours per semester). Most federal loans allow you a six-month grace period after you cease enrollment on at least a half-time basis before you have to begin repayment. Your lender will notify you when repayment is scheduled to begin. Be sure to keep your lender informed of any change in your permanent address so you will not miss this important communication.