PAYING FOR COLLEGE
The cost of a college education varies from student to student. There are many opportunities for financial aid available online. Please review the following resources and consider attending the financial aid presentations held by the counseling department.
FAFSA - Free Application for Federal Student Aid
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the form you need to fill out to get any financial aid from the federal government to help pay for college. Colleges use your FAFSA data to determine your federal aid eligibility. Many states and colleges also use FAFSA data to award their own aid.
- Submitting the FAFSA is the most important thing you can do if you want financial aid.
- The FAFSA is free—you don’t need to pay anyone to prepare it for you.
- You need to submit a new FAFSA before each academic year in which you want to get aid. If you plan to apply for aid throughout college, you’ll need to fill out the FAFSA each year.
Who Should Fill Out the FAFSA?
Anyone planning on going to college in the next academic year should fill out the FAFSA.
- Each year, millions—sometimes billions—of dollars in federal aid is left on the table by students who didn’t file a FAFSA. If you don’t file, you won’t qualify for most financial aid.
- Your family doesn’t have to have a low income to qualify for assistance. Even if your family makes $200,000 a year, you could be eligible for aid.
- You automatically qualify for a low-interest federal loan when you submit a FAFSA. These loans are less expensive to pay back than many private student loans.
- Many work-study programs require the FAFSA.
- Some merit-based scholarships require the FAFSA to help them determine scholarship amounts.
Each year, over 13 million students who file the FAFSA get more than $120 billion in grants, work-study, and low-interest loans from the U.S. Department of Education.
Understanding FAFSA is an important first step in the financial aid process.
How Financial Aid Works (Resources from FAFSA)
How to Fill Out the FAFSA Form (Step-by-Step Guide)
How to Complete the FAFSA Form (YouTube)
FINANCIAL AID AND SCHOLARSHIP RESOURCES ON THE INTERNET
The internet offers many opportunities for financial aid. You can search for financial aid information and look for scholarships that may be available to you based on factors such as special talent, community service, religion/ethnic/racial background, etc. Also, be sure to check each college’s financial aid website for a financial aid calculator specific to that college, as well as school-specific scholarship opportunities.
- College Board Click on College Planning, then Pay for College for a financial aid calculator. This is also where you’ll find the CSS Profile On-line
- The Go-to Guide for College Financial Aid
- NYS Higher Education Corporation Services
- Scholarship Opportunities (search by specific criteria)
Whether you search for scholarships and/or financial aid on the internet or receive information by mail, avoid offers that:
- Ask you to pay a fee to receive information.
- Ask for your social security number and other identifying data before describing their selection criteria. (One important exception: On the fafsa.gov site you must enter your social security number to receive your FSAID—your Federal Student Aid ID.)
There is a great amount of legitimate aid available, and an equal amount of false promises or “scams” in this area. Be careful and consult your counselor if you are in doubt!
NYS Excelsior Scholarship
Tuition-Free college? Learn about a unique scholarship opportunity specifically for SUNY and CUNY colleges.
New York State Financial Aid Administrators Association
This video library is tailored specifically for students and offers useful information on the financial aid process.