Information on preparing for and funding education beyond high school
By filling out one form through CollegeBoard.com, you can apply online for nonfederal financial aid from almost 400 colleges and scholarship programs.
The PROFILE is an online application that collects information used by certain colleges and scholarship programs to award institutional aid funds. (All federal funds are awarded based on the FAFSA, available after October 1 at www.fafsa.ed.gov.) Some colleges may require additional information, such as tax returns or an institutional application. If your parents are divorced, some colleges will also require your noncustodial parent to complete the Noncustodial PROFILE.
Please pay special attention to the DEADLINES. For more information about the PROFILE, such as participating institutions and programs, CLICK HERE.
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There are many forms of Financial Aid that families should be aware of: They include (but are not limited to):
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- COLLEGE SAVINGS PROGRAM
- GRANTS / SCHOLARSHIPS / AWARDS
- FEDERAL LOANS & WORK STUDY
- LOAN FORGIVENESS
- TAX CREDITS/DEDUCTIONS
- SMART BORROWING
- STUDENT LOAN LENDERS
Begin with the FAFSA and TAP Applications....
Free Application For Student Aid (FAFSA)
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the form used by virtually all two and four-year colleges, universities and career schools for the awarding of federal student aid and most state and college aid. To assist in completing the FAFSA, see Completing the FAFSA.
Tell your friends! The official FAFSA is at www.fafsa.ed.gov – not at a .com Web site. If you go to a .com site, you will probably be asked to pay to submit the FAFSA. Remember, the first F in "FAFSA" stands for "free" – so use the official government site to submit your application.
New York State’s TAP (Tuition Assistance Program)
The Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), New York's largest grant program, helps eligible New York residents pay tuition at approved schools in New York State. Depending on the academic year in which you begin study, an annual TAP award can be up to $5165. Because TAP is a grant, it does not have to be paid back.
Effective for the 2007-08 academic year and thereafter, TAP is available for students attending SUNY, CUNY and not-for-profit independent degree-granting colleges on a part-time basis. To be eligible for Part-Time TAP you must have been a first-time freshman in the 2006-07 academic year or thereafter, have earned 12 credits or more in each of two consecutive semesters, and maintain a “C” average.
Start the TAP application process by completing the FAFSA at www.fafsa.ed.gov. New York State will use your FAFSA information as part of your application for TAP; you can link to the online TAP application directly from the FAFSA on the Web confirmation page.
TAP Award Requirements and Estimator
* To apply for federal and New York State financial aid electronically, you and your parents must get a Federal Student Aid Personal Identification Number (PIN) at www.pin.ed.gov. The U.S. Department of Education will mail or e-mail the secure PIN to you in about one week. You can use the PIN to "sign" your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) electronically.
Don’t Let the FAFSA Drive You Crazy,
First the good news: Starting in January, the notorious FAFSA – that’s short for free Application for Federal Student Aid (fafsa.ed.gov) – should be easier to file than ever before. Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Education announced it was streamlining the form to have fewer questions and less bureaucratic language.
Now the not-so-good news: Completing the FAFSA is still going to be a total pain in the neck.
But if you need help paying for college, you’ll need to file this application to qualify for federal, state, and even some private grants, scholarships, and loans. The FAFSA asks detailed questions about income, savings, assets, and expenses. It generates (acronym alert!) a Student Aid Report (SAR), which calculates your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), the amount the government thinks you should be able to pay for education.
Completing the FAFSA is about as enjoyable as hanging around the DMV to renew your license and registration – which is to say no fun at all. But these pointers will make the process less painful:
The application will be available on October 1st. You may be tempted to put off filing until you have all those W-2’s and bank statements that you get at tax time. Since the FAFSA asks for much of the same info as the IRS, why not just wait until you’ve got everything in hand? Here’s why: Since many colleges and grant programs award aid on a first-come, first-served basis, the earlier you file, the better your chances. So even though you have until June 30, you should aim to complete the FAFSA as soon as possible after October 1st. Don’t worry if you don’t have the precise numbers for income and earnings. You’re allowed to use estimates and change them later on if necessary.
Hunt and Gather.
Your first step should be to get some folders and to carefully organize all the data you’ll need when the time comes to fill out the form. This includes the student’s social security and driver’s license numbers; end-of-year pay stubs for the students and parents; records or estimates of other household income; and current bank, investment, and mortgage statements. You’ll also need the appropriate college codes: The SAR is automatically sent to as many as 10 schools of your choice.
Write it Down.
Ultimately, it’s best to submit the FAFSA online. But it can be helpful to prepare a paper version in advance so you can just key in the numbers when it it’s time to file electronically. (FAFSA worksheets are available at fafsa.ed.gov) Remember to read the instructions carefully, to write legibly, and to triple check your numbers. (Any kind of error can delay your application.) If you’re confused by a question, go to the help section of the FAFSA website or call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED AID.
Get it Done.
Now that you’ve got all your ducks in a row, you can painlessly fill out the online FAFSA in less than a half hour. The electronic application is great: It alerts you if you’ve left something blank and lets you review your form before sending, making it easy to catch mistakes. It also allows you to track your application through the process and change information if necessary, like when those W-2’s finally arrive. Best of all, your FAFSA will be processed more quickly if you file online than if you do it by mail.
One thing to keep in mind before you hit the “submit” key: Be sure all the information is accurate and can be documented. About 30 percent of all applications are selected for “verification” by the government – and colleges also may want to see your records.
Finally the best news of all: Once you’ve finished your FAFSA, the worst is behind you. You’ll need to file every year if you want financial aid, but from now on you can use the “Renewal FAFSA” form. And that’s a lot less of a pain in the neck.
Wait, there’s more!
Many private colleges also require financial aid applicants to fill out the College Scholarship Service (CSS) PROFILE. This form is used to determine a student’s need for non-governmental grants, loans, and other forms of assistance. Administered by the College Board, the PROFILE requires much of the same information as the FAFSA, but also delves a little more deeply into family finances and can be filed at any time. For more information, go to profileonline.collegeboard.com
Check out these resources presented by CUNY but good EVERYWHERE!!
Download CUNY’s Guide to Financial Aid
*** General and Frequently Asked Questions (and Answers) about Financial Aid
*** Information for Immigrant and Undocumented Students
Includes Frequently Asked Questions and other resources.
Financial Aid Tools and Resources
Completing the FAFSA
A thorough guide for students and families, provides instructions on how to complete the online or paper version of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Available in English and Spanish
Audio and Video Programs About Federal Student Aid
What types of aid are available? How do you get a PIN? What's the difference between an Academic Competitiveness Grant and a National SMART Grant? Learn more about federal student aid by watching or listening to these informational programs.
Federal Student Aid Forms
The Federal Student Aid Forms section has information on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) filing options, deadlines for applying, PDF FAFSA, FAFSA on the Web Worksheet, and student loan deferment and forbearance forms.
Financial Aid Publications
The Publications section provides access to a wealth of free publications and application tools to assist you as you pursue education beyond high school. You will find guides, brochures and fact sheets such as College Preparation Checklist, Funding Education Beyond High School: The Guide to Federal Student Aid, Completing the FAFSA, Federal School Code List, Choosing a Career and Don't Get Scammed on Your Way to College.
Provides you with an early estimate of your eligibility for federal student aid.
CollegeBoard's Expected Family Contribution (EFC) Calculator
Estimate how much your family will be expected to contribute to the cost of college.
Other Financial Aid Tools and Resources....
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