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Tips for Filing the FAFSA

The priority filing date at TCNJ is March 15. If the federal processor receives your FAFSA by this date, your application becomes a priority application. This means you have a better chance of receiving funds awarded on a first-come, first-served basis (although there are no guarantees).

Students are not required to have been admitted to TCNJ to submit the FAFSA. The Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA), however, will not process applications for aid unless the student has been admitted.

Fill out the FAFSA carefully. Errors and omissions delay the processing of your application. If you are unsure how to answer a question, refer to the “Help?” icon on the FAFSA homepage. If you are still unsure, contact the OSFA at or 609-771-2211.

Students and parent(s) will need an FSA ID to sign the FAFSA electronically. An FSA ID gives you access to Federal Student Aid’s online systems and can serve as your legal signature. Only create an FSA ID using your personal information and for your exclusive use. Visit to create an FSA ID. You can also visit FSA YouTube Channel for more helpful videos about financial aid.

Use the correct name (no nicknames) and Social Security number on your application. This will prevent delays later in the process.

Complete the expected enrollment status section as accurately as possible. The OSFA will use this information in determining your eligibility for aid programs.

Your answers to the Student Status questions determine whether you are a dependent or independent student for financial aid.

You are a dependent student if you answer “no” to all six questions in the Student Status section. Dependent students must provide parental information and obtain parent signatures.

You are considered independent if you correctly answer “yes” to any question. Independent students are not required to provide parental information. Refer to the definitions given for each question.

To complete the Income, Earnings, and Benefits section, consider using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT). The IRS DRT allows students and parents to access the IRS tax return information needed to complete the FAFSA and transfer the data directly into their FAFSA from the IRS Web site. Parents whose marital status is not married and are filing jointly cannot use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool and must manually enter their federal tax income information.

You must complete all form sections, including the Asset Information section. TCNJ requires that you fill out this section.

The Releases and Signatures section lists The College of New Jersey as a school to receive your application data. The TCNJ Title IV School Code is 002642. Also, make certain that you designate the appropriate housing code. On the “Sign and Submit” page, use your (and your parent(s) if applicable) FSA ID to sign the FAFSA electronically.

Steps to filling out the FAFSA

Special Circumstances

In some instances, the OSFA can consider highly unusual circumstances that are not reflected by the FAFSA information. Examples of special circumstances include, but are not limited to, the death of a parent or spouse after the FAFSA is filed; the separation of parents or a student and spouse after the FAFSA is filed; job loss; or similar situations.

See more detailed information regarding special circumstances.

If you wish to pursue a special circumstance, contact the OSFA for the appropriate forms. Extensive supporting documentation will be required before your situation is reviewed. Do not send any information regarding special circumstances to the federal processor. They will not respond to personal letters or forward the information to TCNJ. Files requesting special circumstance consideration will not be reviewed until all required documents have been submitted.


Office of Financial Aid
Green Hall, Room 101
The College of New Jersey
P.O. Box 7718
2000 Pennington Rd.
Ewing, NJ 08628
Tel. 609.771.2211
Fax. 609.637.5154

Office Hours: 8:30 A.M. – 4:30 P.M.
Monday through Friday

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