Financial Aid FAQs
The Cost of Attendance (COA) is not the bill that you get; it is the total amount it will cost you to go to college each year. It includes direct and indirect expenses. Your COA is the estimate of:
- Direct Expenses: Tuition and fees, and the cost of room and board (including meal plan)
- Indirect Expenses: The cost of books, supplies, transportation, loan fees (if applicable), and miscellaneous expenses
- Direct vs Indirect Costs
What Are the Various Types of Financial Aid?
Financial Aid Application Timeline: Fin Aid App Timeline
- Note that you will need the tax documents from TWO years before your graduation date (so if I am class of 2022, I need to use 2020 documents. If I am class of 2023, I need to use 2021 documents, etc).
Financial Aid Applications
Financial aid includes all types of grants/scholarships, loans, and work-study programs offered to a student to help pay college tuition costs and living expenses.
There are 3 main financial aid applications *eligible students should complete when applying to college/technical schools:
- The Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA)
- NY State based aid application - Tuition Assistance Program (TAP)
- The College Scholarship Service (CSS Profile)
To complete these applications, you will need the following documents (for the graduating class of 2022):
- Federal Income Tax Return from 2020 (MUST be from 2 years prior to your graduation date)* - IRS Form 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ, foreign tax return, or tax return for Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia or Palau
- W-2 Forms and other records of money earned
- Untaxed income records* - Social Security, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, welfare, or veterans benefits records
- Records of savings, stocks, bonds, trusts, and other investments
- Current bank statements
- Current mortgage information
- Your most recent business and investment mortgage information, business and farm records, stock, bond, and other investment records
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the largest source of aid for qualifying students. Eligible students may receive the Pell Grant, and/or work study, and student loans.
To be eligible to apply for FAFSA, the student must:
- demonstrate financial need
- be a US Citizen or eligible non citizen
- have a valid social security number
- be registered with the selective service if you are a male (males *must register between the ages of 18 -25)
- be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a student in an eligible degree or certificate program
- be enrolled at least half time to be eligible for Direct Loan funds
- maintain satisfactory academic progress in college or career school
- Am I Eligible to Complete FAFSA?
- Eligibility Requirements
- Who qualifies for grants?: Pell Grant Eligibility and Requirements: What Parents Need to Know
- Expected Family Contribution (EFC): What is EFC and how does it impact my financial aid?
- Work Study: What is Work Study & Who Qualifies?
The FAFSA application goes live each school year, on October 1st. Every college/institution has a different deadline for when they want the FAFSA completed by. You would need to look up these deadlines once you make your college list.
Here you will find further information, along with detailed instructions on how to complete the FAFSA:
- How to complete FAFSA: https://studentaid.gov/articles/steps-to-fafsa-form/
- FAFSA Application Process: https://studentaid.gov/sites/default/files/fafsa-process.png
- Who is my parent/guardian for on the FAFSA?: https://studentaid.gov/sites/default/files/who-is-my-parent.png
- Applying for FAFSA: A How to Guide for Students and Families (available in multiple languages: http://www.understandingfafsa.org/
TAP - Tuition Assistance Program
*AFTER applying for FAFSA, eligible students should also apply for The Tuition Assistance Program (TAP). TAP helps eligible NY state residents pay tuition at approved schools in NY state, administered by the NYS Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC).
TAP offers grants to eligible students - which means it does not have to be paid back.
The TAP application goes live each school year, on October 1st. Every college/institution has a different deadline for when they want the TAP completed by. You would need to look up these deadlines once you make your college list.
Here you will find further information, along with detailed instructions on how to complete TAP:
- New York State's Tuition Assistance Program (TAP): www.tapweb.org
- Am I Eligible to Complete TAP/How to Apply: https://resources.finalsite.net/images/v1563192742/wfsdk12nyus/locffybciqwmcbzd12zn/TAP-Information-Sheet.pdf
The CSS Profile, short for the College Scholarship Service Profile, is an online application created and maintained by the United States-based College Board that allows college students to apply for non-federal financial aid.
Here you will find detailed instructions on how to complete The CSS Profile. Note that only some private schools require the CSS Profile.
- How to complete CSS Profile: https://cssprofile.collegeboard.org/pdf/css-profile-student-guide.pdf
- List of schools that require CSS Profile: https://profile.collegeboard.org/profile/ppi/participatingInstitutions.aspx