Student Financial Aid: What You Need to Know! Spring/Summer 2015 2 What is Financial Aid? – Financial aid helps pay the cost of attending college – Some financial aid is based on need – Some financial aid is awarded based on other criteria, such as grades or talent 3 Types of Financial Aid – Scholarships – free money – Grants – free money – Work Study – Loans 4 Sources of Financial Aid – Federal government – New York State – Colleges (Institutional Aid) – Private sources 5 Common Financial Aid Applications • FAFSA – for federal student aid, the most commonly filed aid application • New York State TAP application – for aid at colleges in New York State • CSS Profile – institutional aid application required by some colleges • Scholarship Applications – private, institutional or state programs 6 What is the FAFSA? • Free Application for Federal Student Aid • Used to determine need-based aid eligibility • Calculates the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) • Apply starting January 1st of senior year • Check with each college for due dates • Available online at FAFSA.GOV • Be careful of scam websites! 7 FAFSA.GOV 8 FAFSA4caster @ FAFSA.gov 9 FAFSA: Student Sections • Student Information & Eligibility – Basic info: address, email, name of high school, citizenship status • College Information – Up to 10 colleges may be listed; can be updated by correction • Dependency Determination – Questions that will determine student’s dependency status 10 FAFSA: Parent, Income, & Signature Sections • Parent Information & Income – Marital status, name, date of birth, SSN, state of residence – Household size, Number in college – Income from most recent tax return, untaxed income, asset information • Student Income • Signature Section – Sign using the student and parent’s FSA ID 11 Common Questions: FAFSA • If we don’t think we qualify for need-based financial aid, do we still file the FAFSA? – Many families mistakenly believe they do not qualify – Consult with colleges, FAFSA may be needed for merit-based aid 12 Common Questions: Assets • Do you report your home value or retirement accounts on the FAFSA as an asset? – No, your primary residence and tax deferred retirement accounts are excluded from FAFSA • How are 529 college savings plans treated? – The value of 529 Plans, for all children, need to be reported as a parent investment on the FAFSA 13 Tips for Maximizing FAFSA Eligibility • Students applying to the FAFSA should have zero income and assets, if possible – Avoid UGMA/UTMA custodial accounts or trust funds • Tax-deferred retirement accounts (IRAs, 401Ks, etc.) are the best place to shift assets • Lower savings account value by paying down debts or prepaying mortgages • Don’t be afraid of 529 accounts! 14 Expected Family Contribution (EFC) • Amount family can reasonably be expected to contribute toward student’s college expenses • Used to determine eligibility for federal grants, need-based aid at college • Based on your responses to the FAFSA questions • Stays the same across colleges 15 Determining Need-based Aid Eligibility Cost of Attendance (COA) – Expected Family Contribution (EFC) = Financial Need 16 Cost of Attendance (COA) – Tuition & Fees – Room & Board – Books, Supplies – Transportation – Miscellaneous Personal Expenses 17 Examples of Financial Need COA - EFC = Financial Need College A $ 11,000 College B $30,000 College C $60,000 5,000 5,000 5,000 $ 25,000 $55,000 $ 6,000 18 Financial Aid Programs 19 Federal Student Aid Programs • Pell Grant • Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) • Work-Study • Perkins Loan • Direct Stafford Loan • Direct PLUS Loan 20 Studentaid.ed.gov 21 NYS Student Aid Programs • Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) – Need-based, up to $5,165/year – For New York State residents only – Full or part-time study at approved school in New York State – Based on NYS Income Tax information 22 Apply for New York State Aid 23 Other NYS Student Aid Programs • NYS Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Incentive Program • NYS Scholarships for Academic Excellence • NYS Achievement and Investment in Merit Scholarship (NYS-AIMS) • NYS Masters in Education Teacher Incentive Scholarship Program • NYS Math & Science Teaching Incentive Program 24 Visit hesc.ny.gov for more info 25 Applying for Institutional Aid • Depends on funding and eligibility criteria at each college – Is the college need-blind or need-sensitive in admissions? – Does the college meet full need for low-income applicants? – Are there any merit-based opportunities for families that don’t qualify for need-based financial aid? • May require more applications than the FAFSA – Is the CSS Profile required? 26 The CSS Profile • Private application used by some colleges for awarding institutional aid • Collects more income, asset, expense info than FAFSA – Non-custodial parent income, retirement account, home values, etc. • Application is not free, fee waivers are available • Apply starting October 1st of senior year online at collegeboard.org 27 CSS Profile @ collegeboard.org 28 Tip: Use Net Price Calculators 29 SUNY Net Price Calculator 30 Other Sources: Outside Aid • Private scholarship programs are widely available – sponsored by charity, business, religious, civic and minority organizations • Each have their own application process, eligibility criteria, and deadlines • Inquire with each college about impact on financial aid package • Be organized and start applying early! 31 Scholarship Searching • Online scholarship search websites – Fastweb.com – Collegeboard.org – Scholarships.com • Check your local library, employer or union • Avoid scholarship scams – Unnecessary fees, ID theft 32 Questions?