How to Apply for Financial Aid?
WHAT IS STUDENT FINANCIAL AID?
Financial aid covers school expenses, including tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and transportation. The various categories of student financial aid are grants, work-study, loans and scholarships.
HOW AND WHEN DO I GET A PIN?
Go to www.pin.ed.gov at any time, you don't have to wait until you apply for federal student aid. You can request your PIN before you complete your FAFSA on the Web application. If you're a dependent student your parents should request a PIN also, so you and your parent can electronically sign your FAFSA on the Web before it's submitted.
HOW DO I APPLY FOR FINANCIAL AID?
You can complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) electronically from your computer or by paper. The FAFSA is the application form required for all federal and state aid.
The FAFSA form can be found on the Web at www.fafsa.gov. If you don't have a computer, you can use one at your library or Student Financial Service’s computer lab. This is an interactive Web page. You'll be able to fill out the application on-line and submit it over the Internet. Be assured that your answers will be kept confidential.
HOW DO I APPLY FOR TAP?
The TAP (Tuition Assistance Program) application is for New York State residents to apply for NY State financial aid. Once you complete your FAFSA online, you will get to the 'Confirmation Page'. Click on the link to apply for New York State-based financial aid and you will be directed to the Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) website in order to fill out your TAP application. If you miss the link you will get an email within a week from HESC with information on how to complete your TAP application. If you do not supply an email address on your FAFSA, you will be notified by a postcard on how to complete your TAP application.
I DON'T THINK THAT I WILL BE ELIGIBLE FOR A TAP GRANT. WHY SHOULD I BOTHER TO COMEPLETE THE APPLICATION?
You'll never know if you are eligible for TAP until you apply. By applying, New York State will determine whether you are eligible for a TAP grant. The application is free and you just might qualify. Many students who are not eligible for Pell Grants still qualify for TAP.
I MISSED THE LINK TO THE TAP ON THE WEB SITE WHEN I COMPLETED MY FAFSA ONLINE. CAN I GET IT DONE ANY OTHER WAY?
Yes. You could wait until you receive either an email or a postcard with the web address of TAP on the Web or you can visit www.tapweb.org. You can then set up a PIN number which will allow you to access the TAP on the Web site and you can complete your TAP application and have it submitted to HESC.
You can also call 1-800-433-3243 for help with filling out your FAFSA.
You can also call 1-888-697-4372 for help with filling out your TAP.
WHEN SHOULD I APPLY?
You can apply for financial aid even before you've been accepted to a college or soon after you file your taxes. Most applicants follow this guideline:
For Summer and Fall, we recommend that you apply immediately after January 1, but not before this date. Any application that is received before January 1 for the fall semester of the following year will not be processed and you'll have to reapply.
For Spring, we recommend that you apply before November so that your financial aid application is processed before you begin classes.
WHY CAN'T I SUBMIT MY FINANCIAL AID APPLICATION BEFORE JANUARY 1?
The need analysis process for financial aid uses the family's income and tax information from the most recent tax year (2012) to judge your eligibility for need-based financial aid during the upcoming academic year (2013-2014). Since the base year ends December 31, you cannot submit a financial aid application until January 1.
HOW SOON AFTER JANUARY 1 SHOULD THE FAFSA FORM BE SENT IN? IS IT BETTER TO WAIT UNTIL THE INCOME TAX FORMS HAVE BEEN COMPLETED?
Send in the form as soon as possible after January 1. Do not wait until your taxes are done. Although it is better to do your taxes early, it is ok to use estimates of your income, so long as they aren't very far off from the actual values. You will have an opportunity to correct any errors later. If you wait too long, you might miss the deadline for scholarships and/or campus based aid such as work-study.
DO I HAVE TO REAPPLY FOR FINANCIAL AID EVERY YEAR?
Yes. You must apply for financial aid every year. If your financial circumstances change, you may get more or less aid. Note that your eligibility for financial aid may change significantly, especially if you have a different number of family members in college. Renewal of your financial aid package also depends on making Satisfactory Academic Progress toward a degree, such as earning a minimum number of credits and achieving a minimum GPA.
I PROBABLY DON'T QUALIFY FOR AID. SHOULD I APPLY FOR AID ANYWAY?
Yes. Many families mistakenly think they don't qualify for aid and prevent themselves from receiving financial aid by failing to apply for it. In addition, there are a few sources of aid such as unsubsidized Direct and PLUS loans that are available regardless of need. The FAFSA form is free. There is no good excuse for not applying.
DO I NEED TO BE ADMITTED BEFORE I CAN APPLY FOR FINANCIAL AID AT A PARTICULAR UNIVERSITY?
No. You can apply for financial aid any time after January 1. To actually receive funds, however, you must be admitted and enrolled at the college.
WHO GETS FINANCIAL AID?
The financial aid administrator at your college can help determine what you're eligible for. There are, however some basic guidelines for all applicants. They must:
- Demonstrate financial need; this means that your cost of education is greater than your family contribution
- Be working toward a degree
- Be enrolled in an eligible program
- Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen, be a New York state resident for NY state aid (TAP)
- Have a valid Social Security number
- Be registered with the Selective Service (if required)
- Maintain academic progress once in college
- Have a high school diploma or General Education Development (GED) certificate
- Not be convicted of selling or possessing illegal drugs while receiving aid
- Not be in default of federal student loans or state student loans for NY state financial aid (TAP)
HOW MUCH AID CAN I GET?
Aid from most programs is awarded based on financial need (except for unsubsidized and PLUS loans).
An Expected Family Contribution (EFC) number is used to determine need. The EFC is a measure of your family's financial strength and is calculated from the information you report on the FAFSA.
To be eligible for a Federal Pell Grant, your EFC must be below a certain number, which can vary from year to year. The EFC (expected family contribution) formula must be applied to each family's financial information, so we can't tell you here whether you'll be eligible for federal student aid or estimate how much aid you might get although, full time grant amounts for the 2013-2014 award year ranged from $605-$5,645.
You will need to apply to find out exactly how much you will be eligible for. If you want to see exactly how the EFC formula works, you can get detailed worksheets from the Web site www.studentaid.ed.gov/pubs. Click on the year under 'The EFC formula."
WHAT IS A FEDERAL PELL GRANT?
Pell Grants are the foundation of federal student aid, to which aid from other federal and nonfederal sources might be added. Pell Grants are for undergraduate students.
HOW DO I APPLY FOR A PELL GRANT AND OTHER TYPES OF NEED-BASED AID?
You should file a FAFSA at www.fafsa.ed.gov and indicate your interest in student employment and student loans by checking the appropriate boxes on the FAFSA. Checking these boxes does not commit you to accepting these types of aid. You will have the opportunity to accept or decline each part of your aid package later. Leaving these boxes unchecked will not increase the amount of grants you receive.
WHAT IS A FEDERAL SUPPLEMENTAL EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY GRANT (FSEOG)?
FSEOGs are awarded to undergraduate students with exceptional financial need (those with the lowest Expected Family Contribution (EFC) numbers. Federal Pell Grant recipients receive priority for FSEOG awards.
CAN I GET PELL FOR REPEATING A COURSE?
Sometimes if a higher minimum grade in a major course is required, you can receive federal aid again for that course. You should remember that repeating a course may limit your ability to meet the Satisfactory Academic Performance requirements for receipt of federal student aid.
I GOT AN OUTSIDE SCHOLARSHIP. SHOULD I REPORT IT TO THE FINANCIAL AID OFFICE?
Yes. If you are receiving any kind of financial aid from outside (MCNY) sources, you must report the scholarship to the Financial Aid Office. We may adjust your financial aid package to compensate. Nevertheless, the outside scholarship will have some beneficial effects. For instance, outside scholarships may be used to replace loans.
WHAT OTHER SOURCES OF FINANCIAL AID SHOULD I CHECK OUT?
If you or your parents are employed ask your company or labor union if it has a tuition reimbursement program.
Check to see if the church or community organization you or your parents belong to has an educational grant or scholarship program.
If you are a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces or the child of a veteran, you may be eligible for veterans' educational benefits. Learn about your eligibility for these benefits at the Veterans Administration GI bill website.
Vocational and Educational Services for individuals with Disabilities (VESID) is a NYS government office that provides a variety of educationally related services and some financial assistance for eligible students.
You may be eligible for a Hope or Lifetime Learning education credit, both of which you claim when you file your taxes.
The New York State Department of Education, in conjunction with the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC), makes a number of academic merit and service awards each year. For more information about more than a dozen NYS sponsored academic award programs, please visit HESC's Grants, Scholarships and Special Awards page.
In response to the terrorist attacks of September 11 in New York City, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania, the World Trade Center Memorial Scholarship was established for the victims and families of victims of the attacks. Visit the WTC Memorial Scholarship Information Page to learn more about this and other scholarship resources available to victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
For those who wish to conduct your own scholarship searches, you may want to try the following free scholarship searches:
Note: The use of any scholarship search that charges a fee is not recommended.
To find out more information on federal student aid and for help in completing the FAFSA, visit www.studentaid.ed.gov.
For general information about federal student financial assistance programs or help in completing the FAFSA, or to obtain federal student aid publications, call 1-800-433-3243.
Additional Resources include:
www.studentloans.gov - for information on student loans
www.hesc.com - General information on your TAP grant
If you cannot find the information you are looking for, send us an email at
and we will get back to you within 2 business days.