Early in the New Year New York’s college-bound students may be missing out on tens of millions of dollars that can help them pay for college by overlooking an important key to college financial aid – the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. The FAFSA is the first step in obtaining federal and state grants and scholarships, federal work-study funding, and low-cost federal loans.
The New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) encourages all collegebound students and families to complete the FAFSA early in the new year, whether they think they qualify for college financial aid or not. “Start Here, Get There” is HESC’s state-wide campaign to educate students and families about college financial aid and offer assistance in completing the FAFSA.
“We regularly speak with students about the availability of financial aid, so it’s important that we also assist them in taking the first step to be able to receive that aid,” said Elsa Magee, acting president of HESC. “This statewide campaign allows us to both motivate students and families to complete the FAFSA early and offer them group or individualized guidance and support.”
At StartHereGetThere.org college-bound students can find information about federal, state, and college-based financial aid, including New York’s Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) grant and scholarships. The website lists FAFSA completion events, organized by geographic regions of the state, where students and families can receive one-on-one assistance with the completion of their FAFSA at workshops staffed by financial aid administrators from local colleges.
In addition, students and families seeking answers to their FAFSA questions can:
- Check out the website StartHereGetThere.org
- Call the toll-free FAFSA Hotline at 1-800-808-1790 Mondays through Thursdays from 9 am – 5 pm, or
- Send an email inquiry to FAFSAHelp@HESC.ny.gov To read the Governor’s Proclamation, find an event or for more information about financial aid and completing the FAFSA, visit StartHereGetThere.org.
About HESC: HESC is New York State’s student financial aid agency that helps people pay for college and a national leader in providing need based grant and scholarship award money to college-going students. At HESC’s core are programs like the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), numerous state scholarships, federal college access grants and a highly successful College Savings program. HESC puts college within the reach of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers each year through programs like these and through the guidance it provides to students, families and counselors. In 2013-14, HESC helped more than 388,000 students achieve their college dreams by providing more than $984 million in grants, scholarships and loan forgiveness benefits, including $935.5 million awarded through the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP).