Understanding Financial Aid for College
Three good sources of information for financial aid for college include 1). United Stated Department of Education, 2). The New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC), and 3). The Official Web-Site for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Below, please find these links:
www.studentaid.ed.gov This federal student aid site is government-run and has detailed college planning timelines, access to the online version of the FAFSA, and tips for borrowing money (and paying it back).
www.hesc.ny.gov The New York State web-site which provides the latest information on college financial aid and for step-by-step assistance in completing the FAFSA (Federal Aid) and TAP (NY State Aid) applications.
www.fafsa.ed.gov This is the official web-site to apply for federal financial aid....beware of SCAMS.
FAFSA.....What is this and how do I apply?
Financial aid for college begins with completing and electronically filing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Many students receive financial aid for college based on their parents income. Completion of the FAFSA beginning October 1st of the student's senior year is essential in this process.
ALL parents/guardians of college bound children should complete the FAFSA as it is THE form used to determine eligibility for federal and state grants (like TAP in New York State), work-study programs, and lower interest educational loans. College financial aid offices may also want this information for decision-making purposes and for the awarding of their own in-house college specific scholarships. Before you can apply for collge financial aid via the FAFSA after October 1....both the student and parent will need a FSA ID. You should request these Federal Student Aid Identification numbers in August or at least several days in advance of wanting to complete the FAFSA. Simply go to:
Some parents would like to know how much college might cost them before completing the FAFSA. Go to www.fafsa.ed.gov and complete the online FAFSA4caster to see an estimate of your federal aid eligibilty.
What will I need to complete the FAFSA?
- W-2 forms, or end-of-year pay stubs for documentation of money earned for student and parents;
- Federal and state income tax returns for student and parents;
- Records of last year's untaxed income, such as child support and untaxed income from such agencies as: Social Services, Social Security, and the Veteran's Administration;
- Bank account balances; lists of stocks, bonds and other assets; and both the estimated value and mortgage balance of other real estate (not including your home);
- PIN number for student and one parent (web-site is listed above);
- Social Security Numbers;
- Student's driver's license;