2018-19 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) Applications Now Available

The financial aid filing season opened on October 1, 2017 for students planning to attend college next fall.

New York State students can now file the FAFSA and New York State TAP applications to receive free and low-cost financial aid to help cover their college costs.

Students and parents can use the Internal Revenue Services' Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) to electronically transfer their 2016 tax return information when completing the FAFSA, making the application even easier to use.

Many colleges use the FAFSA information to calculate the amounts and types of financial aid that students may qualify for, and each college has its own schedule for awarding financial aid. Students are encouraged to complete the FAFSA as soon as possible to both meet college deadlines and maximize their financial aid.

Excelsior Scholarship Application Available for Spring 2018

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's landmark Excelsior Scholarship is now available for students entering college this spring.

This first-of-its-kind program provides free tuition to New York State students whose families earn up to $100,000 annually, to attend a SUNY or CUNY two-year or four-year college. Phased in over three years, the program will be available to families earning up to $110,000 for the 2018-19 academic year and reaching $125,000 per year for the 2019-20 academic year.

Spring 2018 semester applications are being accepted from October 30 throug2018-19h December 4, 2017.

Get Help Completing the FAFSA

HESC offers students and their families with assistance in completing the FAFSA. Simply register for one-on-one assistance at HESC's dedicated FAFSA website, StartHereGetThere.org. You can also refer families to HESC's online chat or to our dedicated toll free line, 800-808-1790, to speak with a HESC representative weekdays between 9am-4pm.

School officials looking for hands on assistance with FAFSA completion events at their schools or for financial aid presentations can contact HESC at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Reminders about the FSA ID

Students and families who plan to submit the FAFSA online should create an FSA ID at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa/filling-out/fsaid (simplify link to StudentAid.gov/fsaid).

The FSA ID is needed by students and their parents or guardians to electronically sign and submit the FAFSA. Students taking federal student loans will also need their FSA ID to sign for their loans (the Master Promissory Note).

Remember that:

  1. Students and parents can get an FSA ID while filling out the FAFSA; however, getting it ahead of time will make the entire process smoother.

  2. An FSA ID may only be created using your own personal information and is for the exclusive use of the student or parent. An FSA ID cannot be created by any individual on behalf of someone else, including a family member.

  3. An FSA ID must not be shared with anyone. Students should not share them with anyone, even if they are receiving help in filling out their FAFSAs.

  4. If they've forgotten their FSA ID, they can retrieve it by going to StudentAid.gov/login, verifying their email address and answering the challenge questions established when the FSA ID was first created.

  5. The information on record with the Social Security Administration must be correct or corrected before getting an FSA ID. Students and parents can contact the Social Security Administration at www.ssa.gov to learn how to correct any errors.

2018 STEM Incentive Program Applications Now Available

Do you have high-achieving seniors who plan to pursue a STEM degree at a SUNY or CUNY college next fall?

Students in the top 10 percent of their graduating class may be eligible for a NYS Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Incentive Program.

The STEM application for the class of 2018 is now available at hesc.ny.gov/STEM.

New York State’s FAFSA Completion Initiative

Stay up-to-date on the financial aid filing status of your college-bound seniors by participating in New York State's FAFSA Completion Initiative.

As a participant in this initiative, you will:

  • Know which students have not filed for financial aid so that you can target your resources to assisting those students and families in completing the FAFSA.
  • Maximize all your high school students' access to free and low cost financial aid to support their college costs.

There is no registration deadline; however, we encourage you to register now so that you can access information on your 2018 graduating class.

For more information, go to: https://www.hesc.ny.gov/partner-access/high-school-counselors/fafsa-completion-initiative.html

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