- What is Financial Aid?
- How do I apply?
- Forms to Submit
- What Information do I need?
- What Financial Aid Programs am I applying for?
- The Financial Aid Process at a Glance
- Website Resources
- Student Information Phone Numbers
- Other Resources
- Planning Calendar
Financial Aid is any grant, scholarship, loan, or paid employment offered to help a student meet college expenses. Financial aid is usually provided by various sources such as federal and state agencies, colleges, high schools, foundations, and corporations. The amount of financial aid a student receives is determined by federal, state and institutional guidelines. Grants are funds that are not repaid; loans must be repaid. Interest rates and repayment terms vary by program. Employment is aid based on an hourly rate for work performed.
To determine eligibility for Financial Aid, you must apply each year. The application process may vary somewhat from college to college, so you are encouraged to contact each campus for applications and deadline information.
We strongly recommend that all applicants for admission begin the Financial Aid process before a final decision concerning their enrollment is made. We strongly encourage parents of all Financial Aid applicants complete their federal tax returns early enough to meet college deadlines. It is important to note that the tax returns are from the year immediately prior to the start of the academic year. For example, if you are applying for Financial Aid for the 2009-2010 academic year, you will be using 2008 tax returns.
The following list describes forms you should submit each year:
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This application produces a Student Aid Report (SAR). The SAR indicates your eligibility for grants, loans, Work-Study, and private loans. It may also be used to determine your eligibility for institutional scholarships. Check with colleges on your list to get a complete listing of the various forms to complete. For website versions, visit FAFSA.
New York state residents who submit a FAFSA for attendance at a college in New York state will have the opportunity to complete a TAP application online. Should you not do it when you are completing your FAFSA you can go directly to the New York State Website at www.HESC.org and complete it there. You will then be e-mailed. a TAP Award Certificate.
Institutional Financial Aid application. Not all colleges have one, but many require them. Check with those colleges on your list to get a complete listing of the various Financial Aid materials to complete. (TC3 does not have an Institutional Financial Aid application).
Parent and student supplemental financial aid application. There are a number of supplemental applications that further assess family's ability to pay for college and determine your eligibility for institutional scholarships. Check with those colleges on your list to get the correct form to complete.
Income Information. You may be required to supply a tax transcript for income earned in the previous year. If this is required the financial aid office will send you directions on how and what to provide them. Any untaxed income (social services, social security, contributions to voluntary retirement plans, etc.) must also be reported (see FAFSA instructions for specific details). Some colleges only require this information if the applicant is selected for Verification. Check with those colleges on your list to ensure that you provide them with correct information.
To complete the application process, you will need the following documents:
- Student's Social Security card
- W2 forms and other records of income earned
- Your (& spouse's, if married) Federal and NYS Tax (for TAP) Returns for the previous year
- Your Parent's Federal and NYS Tax (for TAP) returns for the previous year.
- Records of other untaxed income such as social security benefits, welfare benefits, veteran's benefits, military or clergy allowances, etc.
- Current bank statements and records of stocks, bonds, and other investments
- Business or farm records, if applicable
- Alien registration card (if you are not a U.S. citizen)
- Federal Pell Grants
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
- Federal Work Study (FWS)
- Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans
- Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans
- NYS TAP (Tuition Assistance Program) with the Express TAP Application (ETA)
- Other New York State Grants & Scholarships
For information on Federal programs, see The Student Guide, which is a comprehensive reference to all of the Federal Student Financial Aid Programs. The Student Guide is available in college financial aid offices, high school guidance offices, upon request from the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 800.4.FED.Aid (800.433.3143), or as a download from the Department of Education Website.
For more information on the NYS programs, see the HESC publication Paying for College or visit the HESC.
You complete all required Financial Aid application materials and are sent an Award Letter. The Award Letter is usually accompanied by a "package" of information.
Some colleges require you to sign and return the Award Letter within a couple of weeks; others do not. If required, your signed Award Letter tells the Financial Aid Office that you want the funds offered and that you understand the terms and conditions of the various awards. Be certain to meet the various deadlines for each college.
You complete Federal Stafford or Direct loan applications and/or Promissory Notes for institutional loans. If you have been offered a Stafford Loan as part of your Financial Aid package, you will need to complete either a Promissory Note for the loan or a loan application. Be certain to meet the various deadlines for each college.
Funds are credited to your college account for the various sources of Financial Aid you have accepted. However, each college has unique methodologies, so we won't describe them here. Contact each college to ensure that you understand the process through which funds will be credited to your account.
Once your account is paid in full, you should receive excess Financial Aid within 14 days of the credit balance. Remember, if you owe the college any outstanding money (such as for tuition), your account will have to be settled before you receive any Financial Aid. Each college has a unique manner in which they handle excess funds to which you may be entitled. Contact each college to ensure that you understand the process.
- New York State Higher Education Services Corporation
- Mapping Your Future
- U.S. Department of Education
- National Association of Financial Aid Administrators Association
- FinAid – the smartstudent TM guide to financial aid
- The Bureau of Indian Affairs
Federal Student Aid Information Center for questions about the FAFSA Application
800.4FED.AID or 800.433.3243
(800) 730-8913 for TDD access
Federal Student Aid Processor
for questions about the status of applications or to request duplicate Student Aid Reports
NYS Higher Education Services Corp.
Tuition Assistance Program (TAP)
Bureau of Indian Affairs
College Scholarship Service
For questions about the PROFILE Application
Educational Opportunity Program (EOP/HEOP)
Immigration & Naturalization (INS)
Internal Revenue Service
Check your phone book for a local office
Social Security Administration
National Community Service Program (AmeriCorps)
800.94A.CORPS or 800.942.2677
800.635.6534 or 888.VETSNYS VESID
518.474.2714 State Office
Or check your phone book for a local office
518.474.2714 State Office
Or check your phone book for a local office
Please note: This is a recommended timeframe to complete the process and receive the information you may need for making final decisions. You can begin this process at any time prior to the academic year but please be aware of any consequences related to institutional deadlines and timeframes.
- Review your career plans. Take career and interest test. Do research on these career areas. Decide which type of school is right for you.
- Visit college campuses.
- Request catalogs, admission information, and financial aid forms from schools you intend to apply to.
- Contact your high school counselor for registration materials and test dates for the ACT and SAT.
- Start thinking about how you will be paying College expenses. Begin researching scholarships.
- Make sure you’re senior year courses meet your college’s admission requirements.
- Meet with Admissions Representatives who are visiting your school. Attend College Fairs.
- Make a list of test names, registration deadlines, test dates and fees, college application deadlines, financial aid applications and deadlines. Remember, you must take tests like the SAT and ACT at least six weeks before scores may be submitted to colleges.
- Begin asking teachers, school counselors, and employers for letters of recommendation for your admissions and/or scholarship applications.
- Work on application essays. Seek help from teachers and school counselors.
- Visit your top school choices. Interview some students, faculty and staff, if possible.
- Attend special programs such as senior visitation tours, college fairs, and financial aid nights.
- Find out which financial aid applications your college choices require and when the forms are due.
- Obtain financial aid applications from your Guidance Office or college choice. Read carefully to determine what information is required and when the applications are due.
- Make note if your College requires specific forms.
- Prepare your college applications.
- Check with the colleges to find out when materials must be postmarked.
- DO NOT SUBMIT FAFSA BEFORE JANUARY 1.
- Save your year-end payroll stub if it shows your earnings for the year. You may need it for financial aid eligibility reviews by schools.
- Submit your completed FAFSA to the processor as soon after January 1 as possible. You may file online at http://WWW.FAFSA.GOV
- KEEP COPIES OF ALL FORMS YOU SUBMIT IN ONE FILE.
- Get your income tax returns prepared early. Schools may request them to prove eligibility for financial aid.
- Check to see if your mid-year transcripts have been sent to the schools to which you have applied.
- Research taking Advanced Placement (AP) or College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams.
- Rank your finalized list of colleges.
- Look for your Student Aid Report which contains Federal Pell Grant Program information. Look it over carefully for errors or updates. If corrections need to be made, send the corrected form back to the Federal Processor.
- Respond to any TAP information or change requests.
- Financial Aid Award Notifications begin to be mailed to students.
- Receipt of an Award Notification varies by institution. Contact each school to make certain that your application is complete. Find out what else you need to do to establish and maintain your eligibility for financial aid.
- Respond in a timely manner to any requests for information. If you do not receive your Student Aid Report within four weeks of submitting your FAFSA, contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 319.337.5665.
- Watch the mail for college acceptance letters. Compare the financial aid awards you receive.
- Make your final decision and send in the deposit by the deadline.
- Check with your college of choice about the details of returning financial aid award letters.
- Notify the other schools that you will not be attending.
- Watch for important deadlines at your college of choice (housing, financial aid, etc.)
- Advanced Placement examinations are given in high schools nationwide.
- Finalize your summer school or summer job plans.
- Notify the Financial Aid Office of any scholarships you may have been awarded. This information is important for finalizing your award package.
Used with permission from NYSFAAA.
The New York State Financial Aid Administrators Association (NYSFAAA) is an educational and charitable organization represented by institutions of higher education and others who assist students in securing educational funding in New York State. Our logo is a symbol representing the financial aid process. The large concentric circle represents the federal, state, and institutional resources we use in the financial aid awarding process. The middle concentric circle represents the students we serve in the financial aid process. The small concentric circle represents the financial aid officers. The three circles converge at one point, at the key, and at that point the financial aid process is developed.
Copyright © 1997 NYSFAAA. All rights reserved.