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 through 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.

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

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 hesc.ny.gov/csd to register and learn more.

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 fafsa.gov 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, visit:hesc.ny.gov/OrderPubs.

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

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