Financial Aid - Basics

  • What is it, exactly?

    -Any scholarship, grant, loan or work study employment offered to help a student meet college expenses such as tuition, room & board, books, personal expenses.

    What happens when I fill out my FASFA?

    -FAFSA information is shared with the colleges and/or career schools you list on the application. The financial aid office at a school uses your information to figure out how much federal student aid you may receive at that school. If the school has its own funds to use for financial aid, it might use your FAFSA information to determine your eligibility for that aid as well. (The school might also have other forms it wants you to fill out to get school aid, so check with the financial aid office to be sure). Your FAFSA helps you apply for federal, state, (NYS TAP if you applied to a state school) and school financial aid. Not bad for a form that takes students an average of less than 25 minutes to complete!

    -The amount of your Pell Grant is calculated by the information you provide on your FAFSA.

    *Unless you send in your renewal, you won’t be eligible for federal student aid (and, possibly state aid as well) for the particular year.

    Helpful websites regarding the financial aid process:

    http://www.fafsa.ed.gov: Application for Federal Student Aid; this site provides information on federal student aid. The form, which is required for all colleges, may be downloaded here.

    http://www.nycolleges.org/financialAid.php: Site provides a review of the financial aid process.

    http://www.hesc.com: This site provides financial aid information for NYS residents, a family needs calculator and has many links to other financial aid sites.

    http://www.salliemae.com: A national leader in student loan financing and services. Includes financial aid calculator for families to estimate their contributions and student need.

    Students are encouraged to gather financial aid and scholarship information that is applicable for their own circumstances and college application process. Students should not necessarily let the price of a particular college dissuade them from applying for admission. Many financial aid programs exist to help you meet all college costs: tuition, fees, books, room and board, personal expenses, and transportation. The expected family contribution will remain fairly constant regardless of the cost of a particular college or university. The difference between family contribution and total cost will be made up in financial aid (i.e. grants, loans, work-study).

    Each college presents to applicants a "financial aid package" determined by financial need calculated from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Some colleges also require the CSS Profile, in addition to the FAFSA. If you apply for aid, you will receive packages from all the colleges you apply to in the spring of senior year. Students and their parents should compare amounts and types of aid to determine which is most beneficial.

    The FAFSA is available online. While the application becomes available in December, it cannot be filed until after January 1. The CSS Profile is available in September and should be filed as soon as the student identifies the schools to which he/she will apply.

    The most valuable financial aid resources are the financial aid professionals at local colleges and universities. Many welcome inquiries during the application process. It is the student’s responsibility to contact financial aid offices, complete and file financial aid and scholarship applications, meet all deadlines, and supply the necessary information.

    For a powerpoint presentation on the financial aid process, please click: Financial Aid Powerpoint