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Need $$$$ for college? Avoid these pitfalls when applying for financial aid

apply for financial aid

Stressed about paying for college? If you’re planning on college, don’t overlook the important step of applying for financial aid. You might qualify for grants and scholarships – money you don’t have to pay back – work-study jobs – paid part-time work that’s generally on campus – or loans – funds you can repay after graduation.

If you’re attending Tidewater Community College this summer or have plans to be a student in the fall, here are some important tips to remember when applying for financial aid.

  • Yes, you can still apply for financial aid for summer even if you’re already enrolled in a summer class. Jen Perkinson, enrollment team manager at TCC, stresses she has seen students receive aid as late as their final week of classes. Yes, TCC’s priority deadline to file the FAFSA is April 1, but it is not too late. So if you haven’t filled out your FAFSA, what are you waiting for?
  • When you fill out your FAFSA, be sure to send the results to TCC by using the code 003712. The form will list that as being “TCC Norfolk,” but it applies to all of TCC’s campuses.
  • You don’t pay a cent to apply for financial aid or scholarships – FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Complete the form online at or download paper forms there. Do not go to any other URL to fill out the FAFSA.
  • The deadline to apply for TCC scholarships is June 1. For more information, visit
  • If you or your family has filed a tax return in the last two years, the FAFSA has actually gotten easier to complete. Thanks to the IRS data retrieval tool, you can import information directly from the IRS website. This transfers data from a federal income tax return directly to the FAFSA. To see if you are eligible to use this time-saving tool, after you log in to your FAFSA, go to the “Student Financial Information” tab or, if relevant, the “Parent Financial Information” tab and follow the prompts.
  • Want help with your FAFSA? Consult your high school’s ACCESS counselor, who can walk you through the process. If you are not in school, call the Educational Opportunity Center (EOC) at 757-683-2312 to make an appointment for free assistance. You can also email the EOC at
  • Be aware that in addition to tuition, financial aid can pay for child care, meal plans and HRT transportation.
  • If you are offered loans, make sure you need them as you will have to pay those back. If you are offered a subsidized loan, interest does not accrue until you graduate.
  • If two weeks have passed and you haven’t heard about your financial aid, reach out to TCC at 757-822-1111. We are always here to help.