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FAFSA - Major Financial Aid Changes for 2021-2022

FAFSA - Major Financial Aid Changes for 2021-2022

The Department of Education made some changes to the FAFSA and how it will be processed.

Federal Student Aid (FSA) no longer prints or mails aid-related publications, though they are available online for users to download and print. For more information on electronic versions of publications, fact sheets, online tools, and other resources, please go to Finan­ and/or

The application processing cycle lasts 21 months. For the 2021-2022 award year, applications are accepted beginning October 1, 2020, and will be accepted through June 30, 2022.

The first step in applying for financial aid is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.

Students can get advice on completing the FAFSA online here.

Changes on the 2021-22 FAFSA Form

The 2021-22 FAFSA changes include the following:

  • The website has been replaced with
  • The income threshold for an automatic-zero Expected Family Contribution (EFC) has increased from $26,000 to $27,000 for the 2021-22 award year.
  • Please use the IRS Data Retrieval Process when completing the 2021-22 FAFSA, otherwise you must submit a Tax Transcript and W-2's from the IRS to your Campus Financial Aid Office when requested.
  • The DRT will now automatically answer the question about whether or not a tax filer filed a Schedule 1. The answer will be based on all current exceptions for filing a Schedule 1 and the transferred data for the Schedule 1 fields will be handled the same as other data transferred using the IRS DRT.
  • Using the IRS DRT protects actual values of the imported tax data by not permitting those values to be viewable by students and parents (though they still appear on the ISIR). This is to enhance security and privacy and to prevent the misuse of sensitive data.
  • As a result of IRS data being masked, students and parents will not be able to change it on the FAFSA; the financial aid office will need to make corrections.

Learn more about the redesigned, mobile-friendly website and the myStudentAid app

IRS Data Retrieval Process

There's an easier, faster way to provide tax information for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). When completing the FAFSA you will be prompted to enter your FSA ID and link to the IRS web site. The retrieval process will display your tax information and allow you to transfer it to your FAFSA.

Our Financial Aid office encourages everyone to utilize the IRS Data Retrieval Process if you and your parent(s) have filed your 2015 tax return(s). Families who do not use the IRS Data Retrieval process will be required to submit an IRS tax transcript and W2s directly from the IRS to complete the federal verification process. Our recommendation is for you and your parent(s), if applicable, to file federal income taxes electronically prior to filing the FAFSA. We strongly suggest in participating in the IRS retrieval process. If you file your federal tax return electronically, the data will be available to import into the FAFSA application within approximately 2 weeks of the IRS accepting your return (or your parent(s) if applicable). If you or your parent(s) file taxes by paper, it will take eight weeks before your information will be available for the IRS data retrieval process.

Please note that you may still be required to supply other income information as part of the general verification process. Additional items will be requested by your campus FA Office.

The Community College of Allegheny County Title IV school code for ALL campuses and centers: 003231

The FAFSA is a requirement of the US Department of Education (DOE) and will establish the student's eligibility for the various types of aid listed in this document. Students can complete the FAFSA online at You must have an FSA ID. A Student Aid Report (SAR) will be generated to students along with the results of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The Student Aid Report (SAR) is the form that will list the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and is a major determinant in a student's eligibility for Federal Financial Aid. The FAFSA must be completed each academic year (time period covering July 1-June 30). See PHEAA information below for important deadlines.

If additional documentation is needed prior to the offer of a financial aid award, CCAC will send the student a letter requesting the additional information. Failure to provide the requested documents will postpone the awarding of the student's financial aid. The student can view any missing documents and the financial aid award online at You must have a NET ID and password in order to log in. Once logged in, navigate to CCAC Central e-services, financial aid then financial aid self service.
If the student's financial aid award is not finalized prior to the tuition due date, they will need to either pay for classes from their own resources or take advantage of the CCAC tuition payment plan.


PELL Grant (Federal Grant)

  • Complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) by entering the information online at, processing will take about 2 weeks.
  • The FAFSA can be signed by using an FSA ID number, if the student doesn't have an FSA ID number, one can be requested at before completing the FAFSA.
  • The FAFSA can also be signed by completing the FAFSA online, then printing out the signature page upon completion and mailing it to the address provided.
  • Use the CCAC school code:
  • 003231
  • The student will need their FSA ID number to access the FAFSA information from the FAFSA website.
  • The student will receive an email informing him or her that their SAR is available for viewing at
  • Upon receipt of the SAR, the student should review the information listed on it for accuracy. If corrections need to be made on the SAR the student can do so by correcting it online at

PHEAA State Grant (Pennsylvania State Grant)

  • Complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  • Students who submit their FAFSA by May 1 will be eligible for consideration for a PHEAA grant. FAFSAs submitted after May 1 may be determined as ineligible for the Grant.
  • PHEAA may send the student a State Grant Form asking for additional information. If a student email address was provided on the FAFSA then the student will receive an email directing them to Account Access to complete the State Grant Form at the PHEAA website. For dependent students whose parent provides an email address, the parent will be emailed as well. If no email address was provided then a letter will be mailed prompting them to visit Account Access.
  • PHEAA will send the student a notice of eligibility. However, the award amount is not a guarantee since CCAC must also verify certain criteria. CCAC is required to verify that the student is:
    • Enrolled in a 2 year program
    • Enrolled for at least 6 credits a term (note-developmental and online courses may cause a reduction or termination of the grant)
    • A Pennsylvania resident
    • In good academic standing according to PHEAA guidelines

If you are applying for or receiving a grant from the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) please note that at least half of your class schedule must be for classes that are fully offered on a campus/center. In addition, your program of study also needs to have at least half of its courses offered fully on a campus/center. If you are uncertain how this PHEAA policy relates to your class schedule, please contact the Director of Financial Aid at the campus of your choice.

Note: students with medical disabilities as defined by the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) of July 1990 (PL 101-336) may request an accommodation to the 50% in-classroom instruction enrollment requirement of the Pennsylvania state grant program. The ADA Accommodation Request Form may be found online.

PHEAA (PA Higher Education Assistance Agency)

Student Loan Process

(Detailed directions are available at the Financial Aid office)

  • Complete and submit the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form
  • Submit a Student Loan request form via Financial Aid Self Service. A NET ID and password are required. Students can access FA Self Service at
  • After submitting the student, financial aid will certify the student's eligibility and loan amount.
  • First time Federal Direct Stafford Loan borrowers must complete the Entrance Counseling session before aid is awarded.
  • Sign the Master Promissory Note (MPN)