What is Financial Aid?

Financial aid helps pay the cost of attending college, which includes:

  • Tuition and fees
  • Room and board
  • Books and supplies
  • Transportation
  • Miscellaneous personal expenses
  • Required loan fees
  • Study abroad costs
  • Dependent care expenses
  • Expenses related to a student's disability

Some financial aid is based on financial need.

Some financial aid is awarded based on other criteria, such as grades.

Financial aid includes grants and scholarships -- called "free money" because they don't have to be paid back. It also includes student loans.

Financial aid comes from a variety of sources:

  • Federal government
  • New York State
  • Colleges
  • Community organizations, associations and other groups

 Learn more about types of financial aid.

Avoid "Sticker Shock"

College-bound students and their families may experience "sticker shock" when comparing college tuitions and other related costs, and wonder if they can afford college.

Student financial aid can bring down the actual cost so that you will pay far less than the cost colleges are required to report, including tuition and fees, room and board, transportation and other costs.

Learn more about how colleges award financial aid.