FAFSA Changes Coming this Fall

This fall’s entering high school seniors will be the first to benefit from two new changes to the FAFSA:

First, seniors can begin filing the FAFSA as early as October 1—aligning the financial aid application process with the college application process!

Second, students and their families will report tax information from an earlier tax year on their FAFSA—reducing the need to estimate, and later revise, their income information. The earlier tax information can be automatically accessed and retrieved from the FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.

See more reasons why it’s important to complete the FAFSA early.

Give your students more time to explore their financial aid options. Contact HESC at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to schedule a FAFSA Completion event at your high school this fall.

Encourage Your Soon-to-be-Seniors to Get Their FSA IDs

An FSA ID is required for students and parents to sign the FAFSA and have it processed. The student and at one parent must have an FSA ID to successfully complete the FAFSA.

Now is a great time for next fall’s entering seniors to create their FSA IDs, ahead of the earlier FAFSA filing start date, Investing 10 minutes now will ease the FAFSA process this fall.

Encourage your students and their parents to visit Federal Student Aid to create their FSA IDs now!

Join College Application Week 2016!

This fall, you can help your high school seniors navigate the complex college admissions process and ensure that they apply to at least one college through your participation in New York State's College Application Week (CAW) 2016.

This national effort occurs during the school day, with a focus on students who might not otherwise apply to college.

Register for CAW 2016 now!

Join this state and national initiative. Get a head start on providing your high school seniors with an opportunity to apply to college this fall by completing the College Application Week Registration Form now!

For more information about CAW program, visit www.gocollegeny.org/apply.

Celebrate National College Signing Day

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.

This year, National College Signing Day will be held on April 26, 2016. Whether you choose to celebrate on this day or another date, your school can participate in College Signing Day by organizing a College Signing Pep Rally, posting students’ acceptance letters, or sponsoring a college gear and attire day. It’s a great opportunity to create a college-going culture among all students in your school.

Visit New York’s College Signing Day for more information and suggested activities. 

Comparing Financial Aid Award Letters

Before your high school seniors make their college choices, they should understand what is being offered in the financial aid package provided by the colleges to which they’ve been accepted, including how much of that aid must be repaid and the requirements for maintaining their aid.

HESC’s Financial Aid Award Package Comparison Tool helps students determine the financial bottom line by highlighting:

  • Which school is offering the most “free money,” or grants and scholarships that don’t have to be repaid
  • What aid is recurring and the requirements that must be met to retain that aid.
  • How much is comprised of federal student loans.
  • How much they will still need to pay, commonly referred to as their unmet need.

Inform your students about HESC’s Financial Aid Award Package Comparison Tool so that they can make a more informed college choice.

Now Accepting…STEM Incentive Program Applications

Top high school seniors who will be attending a SUNY or CUNY college in the fall may now apply for the NYS Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Incentive Program application. Please share this financial aid opportunity with seniors ranking in the top 10 percent of your 2016 graduating class.

More information, including complete eligibility requirements, approved STEM programs of study, the STEM application and STEM information flyer, is available at hesc.ny.gov/stem.

NY-AIMS Application Available in May

The NYS Achievement and Investment in Merit Scholarship (NY-AIMS) provides merit-based scholarships to NYS high school graduates who achieved academic excellence as a high school student.

Beginning in May, your top high school seniors who will be attending college in New York State may apply to receive a $500 NY-AIMS award to offset their college costs.

Visit hesc.ny.gov/nyaims to learn more.

More Articles...