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Financial Aid 101

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Financial Aid 101

How do new or prospective students apply?

All students who wish to apply for federal and state-funded financial assistance must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

File Your FAFSA On the Web
Most students and families use FAFSA on the Web to apply for federal student aid. FAFSA on the Web guides you through the questions you need to answer and stops you if you miss a required item or enter an invalid answer. This helps insure that your application is completed properly. Filing electronically also helps you get your application results more quickly.

Get and Use Your FSA ID
You (and one of your parents, if required) should get an FSA ID. Your FSA ID is your electronic signature for your FAFSA. You can create your FSA ID when you log in to complete your FAFSA. The FSA ID has the same legal status as a written signature. Be sure not to share it with anyone. Save it, because you will need to use it every year.

Provide a Valid E-mail Address
If you provide a valid e-mail address when you file your application, you will receive an e-mail with a URL to access your application results in as little as 1 to 3 days.  Be sure to look at your application results when you receive this notification and download a copy of the results (called a Student Aid Report, or SAR) for your records.

Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool
You and your parents may be able to have your income information imported automatically from IRS records into your FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. This option will make it easier for you and your family to fill out the income sections of the FAFSA. 

If you or your parents are eligible to use this option, you will go through a quick authorization process and the required income information will be transferred immediately from IRS records directly to your FAFSA. You and your parents must have already submitted your prior year tax returns  before attempting to use the IRS Data Retrieval option. 

What Do I Do Next?
When you have finished entering your application data and have submitted your FAFSA, you will arrive at a Confirmation Page that will give you a confirmation # and and an estimate of your federal aid eligibility. You should print a copy of this page for your records along with a copy of your application information. You will also receive your Confirmation Page by email after you submit your FAFSA.

File Your New York State TAP On the Web Application
On the FAFSA Confirmation Page, look for "Optional Feature -- Start your state application" to go to "TAP on the Web". Here you will be able to apply for New York State tuition assistance programs for full-time and part-time students.

[Note: if you are not a New York State resident, this option will not be available.]

If you do not complete the TAP on the Web application when you file your FAFSA on the Web, you will be sent an email with a link to an electronic TAP on the Web application after your FAFSA is processed.

Can I get help filling out my application?

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