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:

Join New York State's College Signing Day 2017

New York State's College Signing Day is May 1, 2017.

College Signing Day recognizes students who have decided to go to college, and is celebrated on or around the date most colleges set for students to commit to a college.

College Signing Day helps your high school students to see college as an expectation rather than an exception by showing support for high school seniors as they start a new life journey and inspiring younger high school students – especially those at risk of not attending– that college can be in their future.

To participate, your school carries out three activities: (1) have faculty wear college gear from their alma mater/set up College Gear Displays; (2) organize a College Signing Assembly/Pep Rally; and (3) share your College Signing Day activities on social media with #ISignedNY.

Visit to register and learn more.

2017 STEM Incentive Scholarship Application is Now Available

Tell your high-achieving seniors who plan to pursue a STEM degree at a SUNY or CUNY college next fall about the NYS Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Incentive Scholarship.

Students in the top 10 percent of their graduating class may be eligible for a STEM award, which provides a full tuition scholarship for pursuit of a STEM degree at a SUNY or CUNY college or university. Award recipients must agree to live in NYS and work in a STEM field in NYS for five years after graduation.

Applications for the class of 2017 can be completed now. For more information, visit

IRS Data Retrieval Tool Unavailable for FAFSA Completion

To protect sensitive taxpayer data, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the U.S. Department of Education have announced that the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DTR) on will be unavailable for students and families completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) until additional security protections can be added.

The IRS DRT was turned off following concerns that data from the tool could be used by identity thieves to file fraudulent tax returns. Enhancements are now being made to encrypt or mask the sensitive data and the IRS DRT will be reactivated for the 2018-19 FAFSA.

Order HESC Publications

Are you having a financial aid event at your school? Are you in need of updated financial aid related materials for students and parents in your office? Order HESC publications online for distribution at your events or for availability in your guidance office! You can preview a publication by clicking on the image.

To order copies of HESC publications,

Please note, space is available on the back of each publication that can be used to insert your institution's custom information.

Contact HESC

Do you have questions about student financial aid?

Contact HESC’s Customer Communications Center at: 1-888-NYSHESC (1-888-697-4372 between 8:00am and 4:45pm ET Monday through Friday.

Need help now? HESC’s “Chat Now” feature is available weekdays at

Early FAFSA Changes Begin on October 1, 2016

What’s changing?

High school students planning to attend college in fall 2017 can begin applying for financial aid on October 1.

In addition, families will now use tax data from two years prior to complete the FAFSA. For the 2017-18 FAFSA, students will use their families’ 2015 income and tax information.

How will this benefit your high school seniors?

Because the FAFSA is available earlier, students and their families can have more time to explore and understand their financial aid options before selecting a college.

Also, because the FAFSA will ask for older income and tax information, families will already have filed their taxes and won’t need to estimate their tax information or go back into the FAFSA later to update it. In addition, more families will be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to automatically import their tax information into their FAFSA.

Please encourage your seniors to complete the FAFSA as soon as possible after October 1.

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