Apply for Financial Aid at: www.fafsa.gov.
It is free to apply to Financial Aid. Make sure you are using the correct website.
Financial Aid is: Any Scholarship, Grant, Loan or Work Study Employment offered to help a student meet college expenses.
These expenses are defined by a set budget that consists of:
· -Tuition and Fees
· -Room & Board
· -Personal Expenses
Federal, State and College Aid is applied for on the FAFSA - Free Application for Federal Student Aid (Filed every year after January 1).
Apply for pin # for student and parent ahead of time at: http://pin.ed.gov/PINWebApp/pinindex.jsp
The FAFSA generates the NYS Tap form, which is sent to you if you list a NYS college on the FAFSA.
SAR: Student Aid Report is generated by the FAFSA. It will have instructions and will give you your information to verify. It also gives you your Effective Family Contribution (EFC). The information on the SAR is sent electronically to the colleges listed on the FAFSA.
Colleges make financial aid awards based on the college's budget, the Effective Family Contribution and other information on the Student Aid Report.
The college sends out a Financial Aid Award Letter* that lists the aid the student is eligible for and what else needs to be done in order to receive the aid. The award usually needs to be accepted by a deadline date.
Other Forms: Ask the colleges you are applying to what other forms are required to apply for aid. Some colleges require their own financial aid form and additional documentation.
- Profile Form: Federal form required by some colleges. A fee is required to file this form. It gathers more in-depth financial information from the family (business information, separated/divorced documentation)
*Financial Aid Award Letters
When you are accepted to a college, the college will send an admission acceptance letter and a financial aid “award” letter that outlines the details of your financial aid. The financial aid award letter from each college will usually include a combination of different types of aid – grants, scholarships, loans and work-study – to help fill your financial “need.” The difference between the Cost of Attendance (COA) and the Effective Family Contribution (EFC) is the student’s “need.”
$ Annual College Cost of Attendance (COA) -
$ Expected Family Contribution (EFC) =
$ Your Financial Need
Components of a Financial Aid Award Letter from the college to help meet need are: Grants, Scholarships, Work-Study Employment and Loans.
Since the cost of attendance (the sum of tuition, fees, room and board, books, transportation, personal expenses) at every college is different, every award package you receive will be different and will include different amounts of aid.
Non-need based aid, often called “merit” aid, may also be included and may be awarded based on academic merit, special talent or group affiliation.
Award Letter Comparison Tool: http://hesc.ny.gov/compareawardletters
When you receive your award letter(s), evaluate them carefully, assessing the direct and indirect costs associated with attending each college. If any non-need aid is in one financial aid letter and not another, account for that when comparing letters. Check to see if grants and scholarships are renewable for more than one year and make sure you know the criteria needed for renewal.
Once you choose the college you will attend, follow the directions to accept its offer by the stated deadline. If you don’t, you may lose your aid. Also, notify the colleges you are declining of your decision to free up that aid for another student.