There are many financial assistance options, such as scholarships, grants, and loans, that can help you afford college. Many students who qualified for free and reduced lunch in high school have their entire tuition covered!
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Completing the FAFSA- the Free Application for Federal Student Aid– is the first step to applying for financial aid and needs to be done every year you plan to attend college. The FAFSA helps a college determine if you are eligible for Federal Pell grants, work-study programs, and/or student loans. Undocumented students are not eligible for federal student financial aid and should not fill out FAFSA. Undocumented students should complete the NYS DREAM application then apply for TAP and Excelsior. The FAFSA helps a college determine if you are eligible for Federal Pell grants, work-study programs, and/or student loans. Learn more about FAFSA and understand how to apply with this guide available in multiple languages.
New York State Aid
Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) helps eligible New York students pay tuition at approved schools in New York State. An annual TAP award can be up to $5,165 and students need to apply each year. The easiest way to apply for TAP is through the FAFSA. New York State (NYS) residents attending NYS colleges can link directly to the TAP application from the FAFSA submission confirmation page- Apply for TAP here.
NYS Students with various immigrant statuses are now eligible to receive NYS financial aid through the NYS DREAM ACT. The DREAM Act gives undocumented and other status students access to New York State‐administered grants and scholarships that support their higher education costs. It is a two-part application that you complete your senior year and then have to do every year. It is a “gateway” application that gives you access to apply to TAP and Excelsior.
NYS Excelsior Scholarship provides tuition awards to eligible students attending New York State’s public colleges and universities (SUNY & CUNY). This scholarship, in combination with other student financial aid programs, allows students to attend college tuition-free. Scholarship recipients must be NYS residents with family incomes under $125,000, enroll in at least 12 credits per term and complete at least 30 credits each year (successively), have no break in their college enrollment except for certain reasons that can be documented, and agree to live and work in NYS after college graduation for the length of time that they received the award.
Other Aid & Scholarships
Talk to your counselor about additional aid and scholarship opportunities from individual colleges or other organizations.
Check if any of the colleges on your list require the CSS Profile, short for the College Scholarship Service Profile. For some families, completing the CSS Profile will result in institutional scholarships and a lower net price, which refers to what the student actually pays to go to a particular college. Click here for a video overview.