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.

Students and Families Can Get Help Completing the FAFSA

Students and parents/guardians can register for FAFSA completion assistance by going to HESC’s website dedicated to encouraging completion of the FAFSA – StarttHereGetThere.org.

  • Sign up for a hands-on FAFSA workshop on the statewide calendar of FAFSA completion events.
  • Chat online or speak with a HESC representative weekdays between 9am-4pm at 800-808-1790.
  • Get information on the financial aid application process.

For assistance with FAFSA completion events and financial aid presentations, schools can contact HESC at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Reminders about the FSA ID

An FSA ID gives students and their families access to federal student financial aid systems, and can also serve as their legal signature.

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 you’ve forgotten your FSA ID, you can retrieve it by going to StudentAid.gov/login, verifying your email address and answering the challenge questions you established when first creating your FSA ID.
  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.

College Application Week: October 17-21

College Application Week is a national initiative established to ensure that every graduating high school senior has the opportunity to successfully apply to at least one postsecondary educational institution. Special focus is placed on assisting students who would be the first in their families to attend college, low-income students, and students who may not have otherwise seriously considered applying for college.

More than 300 New York State high schools have already registered for this year’s College Application Week initiative.

Participating high schools will host programs and activities during the school day that assist students in completing college applications, and engage the school and local communities, families and others in creating a college-going culture within the school.

Help us match or exceed last year’s success, which saw:

  • 420 participating high schools and community groups;
  • 16,490 participating students; and
  • more than 26,500 college applications submitted.

For more information or to register for this year, go to: http://gocollegeny.org/apply/.

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 2017 graduating class.

For more information, go to: FAFSA Completion Initiative.

NY-AIMS Applications Accepted Through June 30

The NYS Achievement and Investment in Merit Scholarship (NY-AIMS) provides an annual $500 merit-based scholarship to NYS high school graduates who achieved academic excellence as high school students and will be attending college in New York State.

NY-AIMS applications will be accepted through June 30.

Learn more at hesc.ny.gov NY-AIMS.

STEM Incentive Program Applications Accepted Through August 15

Do you have a top high school senior who plans to pursue a STEM degree at a SUNY or CUNY college this fall?

Graduating seniors in the top 10 percent of their 2016 graduating class may be eligible for a NYS Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Incentive Program.

Applications from graduating high seniors from the class of 2016 are accepted through August 15.

Please share this financial aid opportunity with seniors in your high school’s 2016 graduating class.

For more information, visit hesc.ny.gov/STEM.

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